The Dance Performances That Have Gone Online
As COVID-19 shuts down schools and businesses across the world, just about every upcoming dance performance has been canceled. That means dancers who’ve spent weeks (and sometimes months or years) rehearsing won’t be able share their work with live audiences anytime soon.
But dancers are nothing if not creative. Many have quickly adapted and found ways to put their work online instead. Some companies are offering one-time livestreams to ticket holders, while others are putting up videos on-demand. Many are posting rehearsal clips that were captured before we all started social distancing.
For some, it’s a way to recoup a little of the financial loss, but many simply want to put whatever they have of their creations out into the world. It’s an inspiring show of how resilient our field is—and it gives us an opportunity to experience the beauty of dance right when many of us need it most.
asked dancers and companies to send us links to anything that’s gone virtual due to canceled performances. We heard from people around the world, from major companies to independent makers, and collected the clips and livestreams here. If you have footage of a show that got canceled, email me at [email protected].
Watch & Stream: Teddy Tedholm’s 95 POEMS Summer and Fall
This is the last rehearsal of the second half of 95 POEMS Summer and Fall by Teddy Tedholm. In addition to sharing this clip, Tedholm is also putting together a livestream of artists performing in their bedrooms. It will air on Friday, March 20, at 8 pm Eastern. The lineup currently includes slowdanger, Erica Sobol, Emily Shock and more—with an option for viewers to donate.
Stream: The Met Opera Ballet in Verdi’s La Traviata
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming encore presentations of it’s Live in HD series for free for the duration of its closure. Tune in Thursday, March 19, at 7 pm Eastern to watch Verdi’s La Traviata—the Act II ballet was choreographed by Lorin Latarro. The opera had its current run cut short.
Watch: Bret Easterling’s BRECHT
Bret Easterling’s evening-length solo BRECHT was scheduled for March 13–15 at L.A. Dance Project. When the run was canceled on March 12, LADP decided to stream an excerpt live on Facebook and Periscope.
Watch: Carolina Ballet in Mariana Oliveira’s Blue Jay Eyes
Mariana Oliveira created Blue Jay Eyes for Carolina Ballet. It was part of the company’s celebration of female choreographers, but the run was cut short. Carolina Ballet will be uploading past works to its website every Tuesday and Friday.
Stream: ReelAbilities Film Festival
The ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York has shifted its entire programming online. The lineup includes multiple dance films, including Amy’s Victory Dance which documents Amy Jordan’s dramatic return to dance after being run over by a bus, and Revel in Your Body, a short film featuring Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson. The schedule will be announced on Friday.
Watch: Pennsylvania Ballet rehearsing Jacob Taylor’s debut for Shut Up And Dance
Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut Up & Dance benefit was scheduled for March 28. Choreographer Jacob Taylor shared two clips from an early rehearsal.
Watch: Hoyoung Im rehearsing his Waldeinsamkeit
Here is work-in-progress choreography of Waldeinsamkeit, which was supposed to be presented in Berlin on March 29. Music and choreography are both by artist Hoyoung Im.
Watch: State Street Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty
State Street Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty premiere was canceled, but they did an in-studio performance for donors and board members, friends and family, and shared a stream on Facebook.
On Demand: Bayerisches Staatsballett
Instead of performing Swan Lake, Germany’s Bayerisches Staatsballett will offer a recorded performance of George Balanchine’s Jewels as video-on-demand from Saturday, March 21, at 2:30 pm Eastern until Sunday, March 22, at 6:59 pm.
Watch: Polish National Ballet rehearsing Le Corsaire
Polish National Ballet was set to premiere Manuel Legris’ Le Corsaire on March 20. Dancer Mai Kageyama shared footage of herself rehearsing Act III’s Gulnara variation.
Watch: Diana Schuemann’s Inside Out
This film, choreographed by Diana Schuemann, with video and design by mixed media artist Jessica Moritz, was supposed to be screened at several film festivals this spring, starting with one in Rio de Janeiro this week.
Stream: Paris Opéra Ballet
Paris Opéra Ballet has canceled all programs through mid-April. Instead they will stream shows from its archives on its website. Here’s the dance schedule:
March 17 – 22: Manon (2020)
March 30 – April 5: Swan Lake (2019)
April 13 – 19: Tribute to Jerome Robbins (2018)
Watch: Francisco Graciano’s Two
Former Paul Taylor dancer Francisco Graciano, currently an MFA student at Florida State University, created Two on dancers Elizabeth Zuccaro and Jeremy Guyton. It was supposed to make its premiere on FSU’s Days of Dance Concert on April 24, but the school has been closed.
Watch & Stream: Arch Ballet
Arch Ballet was scheduled to dance a new rendition of choreographer Sheena Annalise’s Surreal in a sold-out shared program at New York Live Arts on Saturday, March 14, benefitting the American Suicide Prevention Foundation. It was canceled on Friday, March 13.
Instead, the company posted rehearsal footage, and will be sharing a virtual season on Instagram Live, streaming four ballets—including Surreal—over the course of three performances at 7 pm Eastern, March 18–20. Dancers can tune in at 1 pm each day to learn sections of the rep.
Watch: The Giving Tree
This is the first rehearsal for Nijawwon Matthews’ choreography for The Giving Tree series, danced by Jourdan Epstein and Terk Waters. One hundred percent of proceeds from the canceled run was supposed to go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Anyone who would like to donate to St. Jude’s can do so here.
Watch & Stream: Hamburg Ballet
This trailer shows clips of Saint Matthew Passion by John Neumeier. Performances were scheduled for April 9 and 10 at the Hamburg State Opera. Hamburg Ballet was also forced to cancel a program of two Balanchine ballets April 17–24, and the Beethoven Project by Neumeier on April 30.
The company is streaming a video from its Young Choreographers program on March 20 and 22, a compilation of bloopers from the same program on March 24, and insights into the creation process of The Glass Menagerie on March 26, 28 and 29. Streams are available on Hamburg Ballet’s website, Instagram TV and Facebook.
Watch: Mount Holyoke College’s Capstone Concert
The seniors in Mount Holyoke’s dance department scrambled to put their thesis projects onstage in 20 hours when they found out the school was closing on March 10.
Watch: Triple Threat Performing Arts Company
Students in the Triple Threat Performing Arts Company in Brooklyn had planned to perform co-director Kim Senisi’s The Giving Tree at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in April, before it got canceled. Fortunately, they’d had an earlier chance to dance the piece and shared footage on YouTube.
Watch: Kit Modus in Night Air
Atlanta’s Kit Modus pieced together clips of rehearsal for Instagram after its performance of Night Air was canceled.
Watch: PGK Dance
PGK Dance’s Holding Tight program has been rescheduled to the fall. In the meantime, they created a 30-minute video available on demand for anyone willing to donate $5, or any ticket holders who donated their tickets back to the company. The video features footage of the final rehearsal, interviews and fun commentary from the artists and a photo gallery. Anyone who donates will also receive a PGK sticker. And those who donate $25 or more also receive a PGK shirt.
Stream: Opine Dance Film Festival
The fifth annual Opine Dance Film Festival was set for this week at Bryn Mawr College outside of Philadelphia. Instead, the festival will stream the films on its Vimeo channel on March 20 and 21.
Watch: The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance
The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance had multiple shows canceled this spring. So they compiled a video of clips and photos from rehearsals and past performances.
Stream: Nunzia Picciallo’s No Time for Art
Nunzia Picciallo, and Italian artist living in Tel Aviv was preparing a solo performance called No Time For Art, to be performed at 1:1 Center for Art and Politics in Tel Aviv March 18-20, when her shows were canceled. On March 19, she will stream an episode of the show that she’s calling Make Yourself At Home at 2:30 Eastern on Facebook.
Watch: Sonia Plumb Dance Company in The Dance of da Vinci 2.0
Sonya Plumb Dance Company’s Dance of da Vinci 2.0 was scheduled for March 20-22. The 75-minute work by choreographer Sonya Plumb, with projections by Bryan Swormstedt and original music by Michael Wall (SoundFORMovement) will eventually be filmed in its entirety and shared on YouTube. For now, the company posted an excerpt called Vitruvian Man/Woman with dancers Myles Langston and Marlayna Locklear.
Watch: Boston Ballet
Last week, Boston Ballet’s Carmen program was canceled hours before the curtain was set to rise on opening night. The company has posted a playlist of extended clips of the ballets that they were supposed to perform: Helen Pickett’s Tsukiyo and Petal, Jorma Elo’s Carmen and George Balanchine’s Serenade. The performances have been rescheduled for August 20-30.
Watch: Aaron Smith’s For the Sake of
Aaron Smith, a junior dance major at Florida State University, had choreographed his largest ensemble work to date for ACDA southeast and FSU’s annual Days of Dance. It will no longer be performed, but he recorded an earlier showing for professors.
Stream: New York Live Arts
New York Live Arts has canceled or postponed all events through mid-April. In the meantime, the organization is releasing three full-length productions from its video archives every week. First up:
performed by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in 1994 at the Next Wave Festival at BAM
The Worlds of Oliver Sacks Keynote
, featuring Oliver Sacks, Bill T. Jones & Lawrence Weschler from the 2013 Live Ideas Festival
Lock ‘Em Up
, by DANCENOISE at Live Feed World Premiere 2018
Videos will be available only until the next three are released. Those who are able can donate here.
Watch: Marisa Fernandez’s Unleash
Marisa Fernandez, a senior BFA candidate at Florida State University, was preparing to perform her solo Unleash at the ACDA southeast conference on March 18. Due to the event’s sudden cancellation, she did not get the chance to.
Watch: Sarasota Ballet
Sarasota Ballet had to cancel the rest of its season—they should have been performing Sir Frederick Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet next weekend, and a triple bill with Jerome Robbin’s In the Night, Ashton’s Dante Sonata and David Bintley’s The Spider’s Feast at the end of April. Thankfully, the dancers will still be paid their full salaries until the end of their contracts. The company shared this video of extended clips.
Watch: Oklahoma Ballet
Oklahoma Ballet’s Future Voices: A Choreographic Showcase was set to take place March 12-15. Only the opening night happened, but the company captured video to share. Here is Amanda Herd-Popejoy’s State of Being. The company also shared Sam Jones’These Three Remain (Excerpt) on Facebook.
Watch: Aigars Larionovs’ XY21
Aigars Larionovs was meant to perform his solo work XY21 at the A.I.R. Dance Conference in Miami. The piece features original musical by Logan Castro. Larionovs recorded the full work earlier this year at the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theater in Tallahassee, FL, and has shared it on YouTube.
Watch: Ballet Co.Laboratory
Ballet Co.Laboratory was forced to postpone two performances of its new rock ballet Freddie – Break Free, based on the life of Freddie Mercury. The company hosted a socially distanced rehearsal on Zoom of one number, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and shared the results on Vimeo.
Watch: Abron Arts Center performances
Abron Arts Center in New York City is temporarily closed. So they’ve made all their documented performances public on their Vimeo page. Watch full works from top experimental artists like NIC Kay, Juliana F. May and Jonathan Gonzalez.
Watch: Stuttgart Ballet
Almost the entire Stuttgart Ballet has been in quarantine since March 14, when, after a tour to the German city of Friedrichshafen, five dancers and a staff member came down with COVID-19. (Fortunately, everyone is on their way to recovery.) Until the dancers can perform again, Stuttgart Ballet has launched Stuttgart [email protected], a virtual video-on-demand program offering recordings of full ballets. First up is Marcia Haydée’s Sleeping Beauty, which will be available March 25 to March 31. You can watch on the company’s website or YouTube.
An Alternative Point of View: Maybe Don’t Rush to Put Everything Online
Choreographer Megan Williams offered her perspective:
“I just had a show canceled at Danspace Project/Community ACCESS in New York City. Self-producing in collaboration with composer Eve Beglarian with live music (five musicians and the Young People’s Chorus) and 11 dancers. The biggest thing I’ve ever done on my own. I was ready to go into tech week on the 22nd. This should have been the time I was reminding people to get tickets, to be thanking my Kickstarter donors, to be rehearsing with the musicians, to be pushing into high gear. We’ve been working for a year and a half. Now it’s being rescheduled for December.
“I’m wrapping up all the details of my show cancellation, talking to my team, creative collaborators, press agent. I’m good-faith sending checks to the artists, texting/calling them daily to make sure they are okay. I’m prepping for virtual teaching at Purchase College and Sarah Lawrence, and just heard officially that Marymount is closing down so the piece I was making on the BAs won’t be performed, nor will the solo I made on a senior at Conn College. They’ve all been sent home.
“So putting my newly-minted but not yet performed work into the video fray right now is a vulnerable idea. I’m pushing up against the rush for everyone to not only produce dance content around the clock but to share everything virtually that was meant to be seen live.
“We need to slow down.
“This crisis will be with us for a while, and we will need to spread out the wealth of content. Maybe I’ll be ready to share some rehearsal footage in a few weeks, maybe not.”