Our Favorite Dance Moments of 2020

December 20, 2020

This year in dance has no comparison. But that doesn’t mean there was nothing to love. Here are the dance highlights that the Dance Magazine team is looking back fondly on as 2020 comes to an end.

Umbrella Academy’s Season Announcement

“I’m a not-so-secret science fiction and fantasy nerd, so I would have been hype for the second season of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ regardless. But the fact that the core cast did a shot-for-shot recreation of the very first episode’s dance sequence from their respective apartments for the announcement of the second season’s release date? It felt so organically of that period of quarantine, and was a super-cool nod to the character-revealing dances in the superhero show’s first season, coordinated by the inimitable Emma Portner (who just so happens to be married to Elliot Page, one of the show’s stars). I’d like to start a petition for all television and film announcements to come by way of cast dance videos, please and thank you.” —senior editor Courtney Escoyne

Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns and Ballet Zurich’s Nutcracker and Mouse King

“For sure, number one was watching Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns via Cinedans. And number two was Ballet Zurich’s Nutcracker and Mouse King online. Having the accessibility to see dance from overseas was one positive light in this year.” —director of marketing services Nicole Buggé

Oona Doherty’s Hope Hunt and the Ascension Into Lazarus

“Since March, I’ve spent lots of time daydreaming about the last live performances I saw. (And cringing at how unsafe some of those last ones were…did I really need to see Riverdance on March 10? No. No, I did not.) But if there’s one show I don’t regret, and will likely always remember, it was Northern Irish choreographer and performer Oona Doherty’s Hope Hunt and the Ascension Into Lazarus, an absolute roller-coaster of a 40-minute solo, at times shocking, heartbreaking and hilarious, and always impossibly virtuosic. After the show, when the post-performance dance party began, I stayed in my seat in a weird trance, mentally willing Doherty to keep dancing. She is a chameleon of a mover and a maker—one who I’m excited to see more from as soon as possible.” —senior consulting editor Lauren Wingenroth

Swan Lake Bath Ballet

“It was so innovative, and a concept that would likely not have been conceived if not for COVID-19.” —publisher/chief revenue officer Joanna Harp

Dancing at Dusk (Rite of Spring)

“I’ve spent far too much time this year dreaming of far-off locations, and found myself drawn in by so many dance films that were shot in lush outdoor settings in foreign countries. I became most obsessed with Ècole des Sables’ version of Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring, streamed on Sadler’s Wells’ digital stage. This piece is already such an overwhelmingly powerful work. But capturing these African dancers performing it on a Senegalese beach at dusk gave the iconic choreography a fresh impact, allowing us to enjoy something familiar in a brand-new way.” —editor in chief Jennifer Stahl

Girl From the North Country, SIX and West Side Story 

“Back in the Before Times, there was a magical five-day stretch in March during which I saw three new Broadway shows. Girl From the North Country, SIX and West Side Story couldn’t have been more different from each other, but that’s what made them so special: They celebrated the vast array of dance that we’re increasingly seeing on Broadway. Plus, getting swept up in the glitz of the Great White Way just days before New York City shut down didn’t hurt either. At least the memory of live performance stayed fresh in my mind for a while.” —senior managing editor Madeline Schrock

Britt Stewart on Dancing with the Stars

“Season 29 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ saw Britt Stewart, the show’s first Black female pro in its 15-year history, become one of its breakout talents. Despite only studying ballroom dance since 2016, her radiant stage presence and choreographic skills helped to showcase partner Johnny Weir’s vibrant personality and talent for movement. The trailblazing dancer, teacher and choreographer has also recently founded a nonprofit, Share The Movement, which aims to cultivate more diversity in the professional dance world. On a show that distinguishes between ‘pros’ and ‘stars,’ Stewart is both.” —associate editor Lydia Murray