8 Virtual Dance Performances to Watch in May

May 13, 2021

As we push into May, the ballet world presents another lineup of exciting digital performances. We’ve rounded up a few of the season finales, collaborations and special programs coming up this month. Check them out below!

National Ballet of Canada

Two white, male dancers in light purple pants and long-sleeved shirts perform an arabesque to the left with their arms pushing out to the side and their heads thrown back.

Harrison James and Ben Rudisin in Jera Wolfe’s Soul.

Courtesy NBoC

This month, National Ballet of Canada presents its New Voices digital program, featuring three commissioned world premieres by Canadian choreographers Jera Wolfe, Alysa Pires and Kevin A. Ormsby.

Wolfe’s Soul, to music by Max Richter, explores the theme of relationships. In it, NBoC principal Guillaume Côté and first soloist Tanya Howard dance one pas de deux and principal Harrison James and first soloist Ben Rudisin dance another; the two are then overlaid together on film. Pires’ in a state of vanishing, a solo danced by principal Piotr Stanczyk, focuses on self, loss and memory, and is set to the opening adagio of Bach’s Sonata for Violin No. 1 in G Minor, performed by NBoC concertmaster Aaron Schwebel. Ormsby’s work, Trase Pa, features music by the Haitian-born composer David Bontemps, and reflects on the ancestries and histories dancers bring to their work.

New Voices is available for free on NboC’s YouTube channel and will remain online permanently.

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet recently released Las Estrellas, a new piece featuring the company’s principal women and choreographed by principal dancer Kyle Davis. Angelica Generosa, Leta Biasucci, Laura Tisserand, Noelani Pantastico and Lesley Rausch star in a chain of solos tailored to each of their skill sets, set to Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. With costumes by principal dancer Elizabeth Murphy and lighting by Reed Nakayama, Las Estrellas showcases collaboration throughout the choreographic and production processes.

The film is now available online for free on PNB’s website and YouTube channel for the foreseeable future.

The Kennedy Center

This month, the Kennedy Center hosts an exciting collaborative program uniting choreographer Alonzo King, New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia, and celebrated jazz musicians Jason Moran and Gregory Porter. Live from Kennedy Center: An Evening of Jazz and Dance features two premieres by King alongside additional performances of live music. The first work, Swift Arrow, is a pas de deux starring Peck and Mejia, and set to Moran’s Refraction 9. The second piece is a solo work for Peck titled Child of Sky and Earth danced to Porter’s Water.

Audiences can view the performance via the Kennedy Center and Alonzo King LINES Ballet websites through August 1. Kennedy Center Digital Stage subscribers can access the program for free, while other viewers may purchase access for $15.

Boston Ballet

Three women in black street clothes do a sus-sous with their right leg in front, bending over their curved right arm while their left stretches high to the side. They dance in front of large windows in train station

Boston Ballet in John Lam’s moving pARTS

Bearwalk Productions, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet wraps up its digital season with Progress and Process, an hour-long collection of world-premiere dance films. The program opens with Lex Ishimoto’s What Happens If…, set to music by Kurtis Spring. Ishimoto, the “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 14 winner, uses contemporary choreography in his piece to explore and push the boundaries of classical ballet. Ken Ossola’s Zoom In was created remotely through Zoom, using Arvo Pärt’s haunting Fratres to explore intimacy and human emotion. Dutch choreographer Nanine Linning’s theatrical La Voix Humaine, to music by Poulenc, looks at themes of isolation and letting go. And Boston Ballet principal John Lam rounds out the program with moving pARTS, a dance film made for the city of Boston and shot in two of the city’s subway stations.

Progress and Process premiered May 13 and will be available through May 23. Tickets for a streaming link are available on Boston Ballet’s website.

Tulsa Ballet

Tulsa Ballet concludes its 2020–21 season with The Celebration, a program featuring repertoire favorites and its first-ever work fusing hip hop and ballet. In addition to in-person performances on May 13 and 16, the company will livestream a special performance on Friday, May 14. The evening includes excerpts from Onegin, Don Quixote, Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin, Nacho Duato’s Na Floresta, Edwaard Liang’s Age of Innocence, Ma Cong’s Blue Flame and more. The company will also premiere While You Were Gone, a hip-hop work by Olivier Award–nominated choreographer Jennifer Weber, which celebrates the legend of the theater ghost light.

Tickets to the May 14 livestream are available via the company website. The event will be broadcast at 7 pm CDT and will not be accessible afterwards.

The Joyce Theater

Isabella Boylston does a low arabesque to the left on pointe and reaches her left arm up while James Whiteside lunges to her right and holds on to her right hand  He wears white biker shorts and she wears a unitard.

James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston in Alexei Ratmansky’s Neo

loulex, Courtesy Joyce Theater

The Cindies
are back! This month, American Ballet Theatre principals Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside reunite onstage for a digital debut performance of Neo, Alexei Ratmansky’s newest premiere. Celebrating the joy of collaboration and friendship, Neo highlights the stars’ artistic strength and famed partnership. The piece was filmed by Nel Shelby Productions onstage at the Joyce Theater with live accompaniment by Japanese musician Sumie Kaneko.

Access to Neo is free and runs May 17 at 5 pm EDT through June 16 via The Joyce Theater’s website. Viewers can also tune in to “Dancing Dialogues,” a virtual discussion with Boylston and Whiteside moderated by Tony Award–winner Rob Ashford during the 30-day streaming period.

Richmond Ballet

Richmond Ballet wraps up the season with its May Studio Series, an in-studio performance available for both live and online audiences. Opening the program, in his company debut, is the world premiere of some kind of peace, by former Ailey II dancer Levi Marsman. Marsman draws inspiration from the past year’s social justice movements, focusing on themes of connectivity and hope moving into the future. The program also includes Carmen de Lavallade‘s Sweet Bitter Love, an emotional pas de deux featuring vocals by renowned singers Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, as well as George Balanchine’s Who Cares?

The May Studio Series streams online at 6:30 pm EDT on May 23 and will be available for one week. The deadline to purchase virtual tickets is 11:59 pm EDT on May 22.

Ballet Hispánico

A woman in a red leotard and long, ruffled train lunges forward while a group of four men in red pants stand behind her and pull her train.
Ballet Hispánico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Línea Recta

Paula Lobo, Courtesy Ballet Hispánico

Ballet Hispánico celebrates its 50th anniversary with a program of world premieres by Lauren Anderson, Ana “Rockafella Garcia and Belén Maya, as well as company repertoire by Nacho Duato, Geoffrey Holder, Graciela Daniele, Pedro Ruiz, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and the late Tony Award–winner Ann Reinking. After a private screening on May 27, the company will stream the performance for free on May 28. The program also includes exciting guest appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luis Miranda, Rosie Perez, Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, Darren Walker and Anderson.

You can catch BH’s 50th celebration via the company’s website, YouTube channel or Facebook page beginning at 6:30 pm EDT on May 28; the program will remain online for two weeks. Click here to register.