Andrea Millers' BOAT

Stephen Gonsier, Courtesy Northrop

6 Editor-Approved Performances Happening Onstage and Online This Month

Dance artists are no strangers to making it work. From brand-new premieres to digital reimaginings, these six performances, slated to find stages and screens this month, prove just how true that is.


Imagining Indigenous Futures

A woman balances in a lunge between two rocks with her back to the camera, grass, trees, and cliffs stretching into the background.

Dancing Earth's Esmé Olivia

Anne Pesata, Courtesy Dancing Earth

ONLINE Contemporary Indigenous dance company Dancing Earth explodes antiquated stereotypes of natives as relics of the past in Between Underground & Skyworld Cyberspace. In partnership with the Global Change & Sustainability Center at the University of Utah, the virtual miniseries, adapted from the company's still-evolving site-immersive performance ritual of the same name, envisions a youth-led future of renewable energy powered by Indigenous ancestral wisdom. The work, directed by artistic director Rulan Tangen, journeys from colonialism and genocide to a hopeful, sustainable future of empathy, reciprocity and transformation. Four episodes begin streaming Nov. 5, culminating in a live virtual performance and an interactive "Reflection Pool" with the artists on Nov. 20. Online content, including behind-the-scenes videos for early ticket buyers, will be available through Nov. 30. utahpresents.org. —Kathryn Machi

Did It My Way

A male dancer wearing most of a suit holds a woman in a red dress in a fish pose, her bent knee tucked between his legs.

Ballet West in Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs

Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

SALT LAKE CITY Ballet West intends to open its 2020–21 season with socially distanced seating for a triple bill headlined by Twyla Tharp's sultry classic Nine Sinatra Songs. On tap to join it are new works by Jennifer Archibald—her first mainstage premiere for the company—and resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte. Nov. 6–14. balletwest.org. —Courtney Escoyne

Man or Monster?

In a shadowed, smoky, red-lit space, two shirtless male dancers lunge toward each other, mirroring one another as they hold the back of the other's head and stare into each other's eyes.

Finnish National Ballet's Michal Krčmář and Lucas Jerkander

Juha Mustonen, Courtesy Finnish National Ballet

HELSINKI The psychological and moral quandaries at the heart of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have found purchase in numerous adaptations and mediums since the story's 1886 debut. Val Caniparoli's Jekyll & Hyde, planned to be the first world premiere at Finnish National Ballet under artistic director Madeleine Onne's leadership, peers inside Stevenson's mind as he imagines a doctor whose self-experimentation transforms his inner darkness into a real monster. Nov. 6–28. oopperabaletti.fi. —CE

Live(ish) From Seattle

Elle Macy's pointe shoe clad foot stretches toward the camera as Dylan Wald lies with his head on her thigh. they both wearing rehearsal clothes and medical masks.

PNB soloists Elle Macy and Dylan Wald on their first day back in the studio

Dylan Wald, Courtesy PNB

ONLINE Pacific Northwest Ballet plans to put a program onstage this month—just without the live audience. The four-piece November slate will be filmed at the company's home theater ahead of its online debut on Nov. 12, with premieres by Penny Saunders and Jessica Lang alongside Susan Marshall's Kiss and an excerpt of Twyla Tharp's Waterbaby Bagatelles, all rehearsed and performed with safety precautions in place. Bonuses for digital season subscribers include access to Saunders' film Brown Eyes and the premiere of a new-site specific work by corps member Amanda Morgan, as well as a conversation between Tharp and artistic director Peter Boal. Single tickets for the program, with the option to add on bonus content, are also available. The program will be viewable for approximately five days after its release. pnb.org. —CE

The X Factor

Andrea Yorita balances in an off-kilter attitude front en pointe, white blouse and dark hair swaying with the motion. Her working arm extends delicately before her as she gazes back toward the camera.

BalletX's Andrea Yorita

Gabriel Bienczycki, Courtesy BalletX

ONLINE BalletX continues its all-digital 15th-anniversary season this month with the release of three new, short dance films. Commissions by Robbie Fairchild, Amy Hall Garner and Mariana Oliveira debut on BalletX Beyond, the company's newly launched digital subscription service, Nov. 18. Subscriptions (both monthly and annual) grant access to premiere events and behind-the-scenes materials, and allow viewers to watch the works on demand. balletx.org. —CE

Anchored and Adrift

A group of male dancers in multicolored trousers and button downs leap on a shadowy stage, knees bent and arms akimbo.

Gallim Dance in Andrea Miller's BOAT

Hayim Heron, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

ONLINE Andrea Miller's BOAT, created in 2016 for her Gallim Dance, is a visceral meditation on the search for home. Continuing its commitment to both dance and filmmaking, the University of Minnesota's Northrop commissioned a dance film adapted from the work, with the Arvo Pärt score specially recorded by local musicians. Miller and filmmaker Ben Stamper's new effort will stream during a ticketed event on Nov. 19, which will also feature conversations with the artists. northrop.umn.edu. —CE

Latest Posts


Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020