Pacific Northwest Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition

Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

4 Virtual Performances We've Got Our Eyes on This Month

Spring is here, and while we're not packing into theaters the way we have in previous years just yet, there's still a good amount of dance happening.


Ballet in Bloom

A female dancer in a flowy, colorful tunic assembl\u00e9s in an open fifth, arms stretched to her sides. Upstage, a cluster of nine dancers arranged in a neat square, the front row kneeling, watch with bright smiles.

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition

Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Pacific Northwest Ballet is skipping the April showers and blooming directly into a fresh mixed-repertory program. The fourth installment of the company's all-digital 2020–21 series will feature premieres by Spectrum Dance Theater artistic director Donald Byrd and PNB resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, the first of his tenure. The triple bill will also include a 2017 archival recording of Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The program will become available on April 1 and can be streamed for five days with a season subscription or single-ticket purchase. pnb.org. —Breanna Mitchell

Runaway Hit

Kyle Abraham stands at the center of a large, sunlit ballet studio, smiling at a male dancer whose back is to the camera. Both wear sweats, t-shirts, and socks.

Kyle Abraham rehearsing with New York City Ballet

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

The unlikely, unpredictable magic created when New York City Ballet teams up with Kyle Abraham will be put to the test for a third time with the company's 2021 digital season. A new work for eight dancers—including Taylor Stanley, for whom Abraham created an unforgettable leading role in The Runaway and the made-for-film solo "Ces noms que nous portons"—will debut online April 8 and be available for free streaming for two weeks. The company plans to shoot the work onstage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, after its creation in a bubble residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park; the film will be co-directed by Abraham and filmmaker Ryan Marie Helfant, who worked on Beyoncé's Black is King visual album and music videos for the likes of Alicia Keys and Lil Nas X. nycballet.com. —Courtney Escoyne

Tomorrow, Today

Two topless dancers, one Black male and one Asian female, pose against a white backdrop with their backs to the camera, arms intertwining.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy 92Y

What will the dancemaking of tomorrow look like? 92Y's Harkness Dance Center looks to provide some possibilities with a new series of virtual performances. The Future Dance Festival will showcase works by choreographers with no more than one professional commission to date, selected from submissions by Harkness Dance Center director Taryn Kaschock Russell and a panel that includes A.I.M's Kyle Abraham, RUBBERBAND's Victor Quijada, Martha Graham Dance Company's Janet Eilber, Ballet Hispánico's Eduardo Vilaro, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago associate artistic director Jessica Tong and Dance Magazine's own Jennifer Stahl. Programming will also include interviews with the panelists discussing the finalists and their work. April 9–11, 16–18, 23–25. 92y.org. —CE

Under the Surface

mayfield brooks lies on their back, completely covered by a mound of dying flowers. Only their face, eyes closed and expressionless, is exposed.

mayfield brooks' Whale Fall

Johanna K. Wilson, Courtesy The Cooperation

Whale Fall, a new work from mayfield brooks, derives its name from the process of a whale's decomposition after death, in which its body falls to the ocean floor and nourishes deep sea creatures. Drawing from Moby-Dick, the story of Jonah and the whale, and the mourning traditions of whales, as well as contemplating the loss of Black lives to the middle passage and COVID-19, brooks explores the processing and transformation of grief. Abrons Arts Center will present the debut, filmed at its amphitheater, digitally to ticket holders at 7:30 pm each night of the run; tickets are available on a sliding scale beginning at $5. April 15–17. abronsartscenter.org. —CE

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J. Alice Jackson, Courtesy CHRP

Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Rhythm World Finally Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

What happens when a dance festival is set to celebrate a landmark anniversary, but a global pandemic has other plans?

Chicago's Rhythm World, the oldest tap festival in the country, should have enjoyed its 30th iteration last summer. Disrupted by COVID-19, it was quickly reimagined for virtual spaces with a blend of recorded and livestreamed classes. So as not to let the pandemic rob the festival of its well-deserved fanfare, it was cleverly marketed as Rhythm World 29.5.

Fortunately, the festival returns in full force this year, officially marking three decades of rhythm-making with three weeks of events, July 26 to August 15. As usual, the festival will be filled with a variety of master classes, intensive courses and performances, as well as a teacher certification program and the Youth Tap Ensemble Conference. At the helm is Chicago native Jumaane Taylor, the newly appointed festival director, who has curated both the education and performance programs. Taylor, an accomplished choreographer, came to the festival first as a young student and later as part of its faculty.

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July 2021