A scene from Hamilton. Joan Marcus, Courtesy Hamilton

Hamilfilm's Here. These Are the Dance Moments We've Been Thinking About Non-Stop

Broadway may be shut down until 2021, but there's one especially bright light amidst the coronavirus cancellations: the Hamilfilm.

Instead of its originally planned theatrical release in October 2021, the filmed version of Broadway's Hamilton got fast-tracked to a July 3 release on Disney+. Fans can now transform their living room into "the room where it happens" for the $6.99 monthly subscription fee—less than the price of a movie ticket.

Whether you saw the original cast in person or have memorized every single lyric from afar, Hamilton mania has hit again. Naturally, it's time to obsess over Andy Blankenbuehler's Tony-winning choreography. Dance is enmeshed in the entire show, but here are a few of our favorite elements to watch out for.

The entire ensemble

Some musicals' ensembles subtly step-touch in the background, while others' storm the stage with energy during unexpected dance breaks. Hamilton's ensemble, however, dances nearly non-stop throughout the show in a variety of styles, none of which ever feel dated or out of place.

"Picture a group of dancers who can do it all," wrote Suzannah Friscia in Dance Magazine's June 2016 cover story. "Place them in an unlikely musical about America's first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton—think city streets pulsing with revolution, battlefields and ballrooms, political intrigue and scandal—and watch them go. In one moment, their hands look almost Fosse-like; in another, they're soldiers in full battle regalia, all whirling physicality and sharp movements; in still another, they sweep across the floor in formal gowns, the style aptly reminiscent of an 18th-century courtship dance. This is the world of Hamilton."

The signature phrase we can't stop doing

Who doesn't love a memorable bit of syncopated unison choreography? Blankenbuehler mined the rhythmic intricacies of "My Shot" to create a movement theme for the show that's downright catchy.

Check out the tutorial below to learn the "I am not throwing away my shot" phrasework straight from the creator. There's no shame in dancing alongside the cast from home.

When "Satisfied" hits rewind

In "Helpless," Eliza Schuyler meets and falls in love with Hamilton. The following song, "Satisfied," is her sister Angelica Schuyler's retelling of that fateful night. Blankenbuehler's treatment is masterful—he literally rewinds portions of the choreography from "Helpless," creating a waterfall effect that's at once mesmerizing and disorienting.

The Battle of Yorktown

During the pivotal Revolutionary War battle scene, the cast seems to quadruple in size, thanks to Blankenbuehler's crisp movement and seamlessly shifting formations. The battle plays out entirely through movement—void of cheesy lighting effects or pyrotechnics—and it's incredibly powerful.

"The Room Where It Happens"

The dancing in this scene is delicious, ooey-gooey jazz, and another testament to Hamilton's choreographic variety.

The choreo that has its own hashtag

During Burr and Hamilton's duel, the bullet that kills Hamilton is represented through dance by the impeccable Ariana DeBose. As Hamilton recalls his life, she traverses across the stage toward him in slow motion.

"Not many dancers have a stage presence strong enough to earn its own Twitter hashtag," wrote Friscia. "But Ariana DeBose has reached that level....[it's] a moment she's become so well-known for that it's simply called #thebullet."

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The Single-Minded Drive of ABT Principal Skylar Brandt

American Ballet Theatre typically schedules a long layoff after its marathon season at the Metropolitan Opera House, a moment for its tired artists to breathe. But Skylar Brandt doesn't really do downtime.

After moving out of the Met's basement dressing rooms each July, she books sessions with her coaches, the former ABT stars Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky; finds a willing partner ("I usually go for the younger guys," Brandt says, "who don't mind lifting on repeat"); and heads back to the studio. It's time to rehearse the principal roles she might be considered for the following season.

February 2021