5 Dance Film Projects We're Following Over the Next Month

January 21, 2021

From unexpected collaborators documenting their experiments on social media to ambitious dance film series, here are five projects that we’ll be dedicating screen time to during the next month. Xeno

Mondays in Motion

Four dancers writhe on a set of the narrow stairs wedged between two concrete walls. In the foreground, one has a foot planted on the wall as their head collides with the torso of the dancer next to them, whose head is flung back..
Still from Ian Robinson’s Films.Dance project, “DADU,” featuring Jesse Callaert, Mikaela Kelly, Kele Roberson and Annika Lisa Verplancke

Sam du Pon, Courtesy Jacob Jonas The Company

Jacob Jonas The Company is producing an ambitious new dance-film series. The 15 short films created for Films.Dance feature more than 150 artists from 25 countries and were shot across 10 dif-ferent cities, from Los Angeles to New York City, São Paolo to Shanghai. Perhaps most emblematic of the project’s breadth and star power is “Match,” which features choreography by Emily Kikta, Jamar Roberts, Oliver Starpov, Peter Walker and Xin Ying, performed by a roster of 44 dancers from leading companies around the world. One film will premiere every Monday beginning Jan. 25, available for free on Instagram and at films.dance.


Daniel Costa is photographed nude, save for a trio of white, flat rings around his neck, chest, and pelvis. His eyes close as his neck arches back; his arms are in a low fifth position which drooping elbows.
Daniel Costa is creating a new dance film for CHOP SHOP.

Mike Esperanza, Courtesy Chop Shop

Seattle’s CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work Contemporary Dance Festival is bringing its annual master classes and no-experience-necessary workshops, plus a new arts-journalism intensive for teens, online this year. But the centerpiece of the festival is the premiere of seven newly commissioned dance films, debuting every Thursday in February. Created by Lauren Horn//Subira vs. Movement, Nicole von Arx/NVA & Guests, Omar Román De Jesús/Boca Tuya, Daniel Costa, Eva Stone and Simone Elliott, Javier Padilla and The Movement Playground, and Mark Haim, the works will be available on a pay-what-you-can basis through March 31; live Q&As with the artists will take place the Sunday following their respective premieres. chopshopdance.org.

Process as Product

Vershawn Sanders-Ward wears a billowing white skirt with matching shoes and top, stark against a mural of plants behind her. One knee is hiked up toward her chest, the same arm gathering the folds of her skirt.
Vershawn Sanders-Ward

Raymond Jerome, Courtesy Carol Fox and Associates

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Chicago Dancemakers Forum are teaming up to make the most of an unconventional season. 10×10 | Crossbody Collaborations pairs 10 Hubbard Street dancers with 10 previous CDF awardees, each duo documenting the process on social media—but with no expectation of a final product or piece. The second cohort comes together beginning this month, pairing Craig Black with bharatanatyam choreographer Anjal Chande, Adam McGaw with tap dancer Jumaane Taylor, Elliot Hammans with burlesque artist Jenn Freeman (aka Po’Chop), Jacqueline Burnett with multimedia artist Catherine Sullivan, and Andrew Murdock with Red Clay Dance Company founder Vershawn Sanders-Ward. The duos’ experiments will be posted on Instagram at #10×10 and #CrossbodyCollaborations Feb. 8–March 19. hubbardstreetdance.com.

Everybody Dance Now

On a dark stage with a textured black backdrop, Alice Sheppard kneels, the wheels of her chair lifting off the floor. Her arms extend in front of her as she uses two canes to counterbalance. Her gaze is calm and downcast.
Alice Sheppard performing at Joe’s Pub

Yi-Chun Wu, Courtesy Janet Stapleton

Dance Now thrives on challenging artists to create within limitations—specifically, asking them to craft bite-size pieces that fit on the bite-size stage at Joe’s Pub in New York City. It’s not so surprising, then, that celebrating its 25th-anniversary season virtually has only fostered more creativity. This month’s chapter features newly commissioned works by Kate Ladenheim, Alice Sheppard, Subject: Matter and Maleek Washington alongside archival captures of pieces from Adam Barruch and Mark Gindick. Unlimited digital access to these works is available for $10 beginning Feb. 11, with an option to add on a ticket to a Zoom celebration on Feb. 25 honoring Claire Porter, hosted by the inimitable TruDee. dancenow.online.

Highlighting Heritage

Imani Williams, a Black male dancer, balances in an off kilter retiru00e9, arching towards his standing leg as his arms fly a piece of orange fabric past his head.
South Chicago Dance Theatre’s Imani Williams

Thomas Mohr, Courtesy SCDT

South Chicago Dance Theatre typically spends February touring a Black History Month–themed program to schools around the greater Chicago area. The up-and-coming company’s 2021 virtual edition, open to the broader public, comprises almost entirely new choreography by executive artistic director Kia Smith, beginning with a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. before taking viewers on a tour through the history of Black innovation in jazz music and dance. Streaming Feb. 20. southchicagodancetheatre.com.