July 15, 2020

Live Dance is on Hold, But There is Plenty to Stream

DANCE FANS, DON’T DESPAIR: Theaters are closed, but virtual programming, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s production of “Juba,” is in full swing.

By Anne Levin

Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, fans of ballet and modern dance are missing out on the usual live performances that take place during the spring and summer months. But there are several online events to experience, from archival performances to podcasts, interviews, and inventive videos. Most can be viewed on youtube.com or through dance company websites.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has been streaming multiple videos since the pandemic began. Currently available is Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Juba, along with some bonus content. The program runs through July 16 at 6:30 p.m. Next, from July 16-23, is choreographer Camille A. Brown’s City of Rain. Visit alvinailey.org.

City Center, on New York’s 55th Street, is a major presenter of dance companies and was the original home of the New York City Ballet. The organization has recently launched two online programs that will continue through the fall.

First is “Ayodele Casel’s Diary of a Tap Dancer V.6: Us.” Casel and frequent collaborator Torya Beard have conceived and curated a series of seven different video performances of solos and duets, created and performed by a multigenerational and multicultural group of artists. The virtual events are Tuesdays at 12 p.m. through August 25.

The organization is providing up-close visits with ballet stars including Misty Copeland, Sara Mearns, and Tiler Peck, along with ballerinas of the past, in “Studio 5/Great Ballerinas,” five programs starting Thursday, July 16 and running through September. The host is Alastair Macaulay, former dance critic of The New York Times.

The July 16 program is at 3 p.m. and features Peck being coached by former New York City Ballet star Merrill Ashley in solos choreographed by George Balanchine. Mearns explores Swan Lake with famed Georgian ballerina Nina Ananiashvili July 30 at 12 p.m. Peck is back September 16 at 5 p.m. with former New York City Ballet principal dancer Stephanie Saland, working on the female solo in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, and Mearns returns September 23 at 5 p.m. to explore new solo material with choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The final program, September 30 at 5 p.m., features Copeland revisiting some of Juliet’s solo scenes in Romeo and Juliet with former American Ballet Theatre star Alessandra Ferri, a famed interpreter of the role. Visit nycitycenter.org.

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) has launched a weekly blog series, “Sidebarre,” giving a behind-the-scenes look at the company. Posts from ABT dancers, conductors, staff, and production crew are included.

“ABT SideBarre is a window to discover the extraordinary individuals who work behind the scenes at ABT, as well as to discover new dimensions of the performers we all admire on stage,” said Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett. “During the pandemic, with live performances on pause, we have asked ABT talent to reflect and share their stories. We invite you to enjoy these thoughtful essays and to revisit the SideBarre frequently.”

Visit www.abt.org/blog/sidebarre for details.

While New York City Ballet is on hiatus due to the pandemic, the company’s website and Instagram page offer a variety of interviews with dancers and choreographers, articles about different ballets, informative podcasts, and more. Visit www.nycballet.com.

Additional content is being streamed by such companies as Britain’s Royal Ballet, at ww.roh.org.uk. Archived performances by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company are available through newyorklivearts.org/programs/streaming/. Every Thursday at 5 p.m. starting July 16, New York’s Baryshnikov Art Center is streaming free performances by such artists as Trisha Brown, Aszure Barton, and Doug Elkins, among others. Visit bacnyc.org/explore.