4 Performances You Can Watch From Your Couch This Month, Plus One Happening in Person

January 7, 2021

It’s a new year, and while things are far from business as usual, we’re still marking our calendars with all the great dance we’re eager to see—even if that means queuing it up on our laptops rather than sitting down in theaters. Here are four shows that caught our interest this month.

Animating Faye Driscoll

On a blue background, two figures etched in pink tumble together off a yellow block and into a prone embrace.

Animation from Emergent System

Joshua Frankel, Courtesy Blake Zidell & Associates

Dancemaker Faye Driscoll adds “making movement for an animated film” to her resumé this month with Emergent System, a collaboration with animator Joshua Frankel. The newly commissioned film is set to Missy Mazzoli’s “Three Fragile Systems” as played by Grand Band, a music group comprising six pianists who perform arranged in a circle. Its premiere will be part of the stream of Grand Band’s 2020 Peak Performances concert on Jan. 10, which will be available for free via PEAK HD, a partnership with ALL ARTS. peakperfs.org.

A Dream Deferred

Sasha De Sola, a white woman costumed in a pale yellow dress, tiara, pink tights, and pointe shoes, smiles radiantly at the audience as she balances in first arabesque en pointe, working arm overhead in fifth.

SFB’s Sasha De Sola in Balanchine’s A Mid­summer Night’s Dream

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

San Francisco Ballet presented one critically acclaimed performance of Balanchine’s A Mid­summer Night’s Dream last March before the War Memorial Opera House was shuttered due to COVID-19. Now, the company kicks off its 2021 all-digital season with an archival capture of the magical comedy of errors, streaming Jan. 21–Feb. 10. Available as part of digital season subscriptions, which include behind-the-scenes content, or for 24-hour on-demand rental. sfballet.org.

Bubbling With Creativity

A group of nine dancers in brightly colored street and workout clothes strut with arms flung overhead in front of the Lincoln Center Plaza fountain, the windows of the Metropolitan Opera House dark behind it.

Still of Les Ballet Afrik performing New York is Burning at Lincoln Center

Dancing Camera, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations

With live performance still largely on hold in New York City last fall, Works & Process at the Guggenheim produced a series of “bubble residencies” for dancers to isolate together and create new works in upstate New York. A docuseries following four groups of artists into their bubbles, Isolation to Creation, debuts in full (for free) on ALL ARTS beginning this month. It shows the likes of Anthony Vito Rodriguez, Chris Celiz, Leonardo Sandoval, Ephrat Asherie and Omari Wiles at work with their dancers and musicians on new commissions, which were filmed at site-specific locations around Lincoln Center for digital consumption last fall and will be presented as live stage performances once it’s safe to do so. But it also dives into the logistical considerations of creating within these bubbles, including explanations from internist (and former ballet dancer) Dr. Wendy Ziecheck on how they were able to safely bring dancers together during a global pandemic. Jan. 27. worksandprocess.org.

Working in Concert

Shauna Davis, a young Black woman with short cropped hair, dressed in a beige tank top and pleated skirt, looks over her shoulder as she leans into one hip, arms following the motion. Her shadow shows clearly on the white wall beside her.
Shauna Davis improvising during the first episode of LACO Close Quarters

Courtesy LACO

With its season gone entirely digital, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has taken the opportunity to explore multidisciplinary collaborations. For its Jan. 29 Close Quarters concert, Los Angeles–based choreographer Shauna Davis responds to Derrick Spiva, Jr.’s “Mother of Bravery,” a brand-new score commissioned this season by LACO that will also feature actors from Robey Theatre Company. The broadcast will be available for free on demand. laco.org.

An Underground Winter Wonderland

A dancer in a white leotard and matching top hat sits into one hip, the brim of the hat hiding her eyes.Wonderbound’s Morgan Sicklick Amanda Tipton, Courtesy Wonderbound

Described as “Alice in Wonderland meets Studio 54,” Winterland: A Discotheque Cabaret promises to be far from your average holiday fare. Wonderbound plans to premiere its wintery-yet-groovy theatrical revue, featuring choreography by artistic director Garrett Ammon and associate choreographer Sarah Tallman, at its studios, welcoming limited audiences with social-distancing and hygiene guidelines in place; originally slated for Dec., performances have now been rescheduled for Jan. 21–Feb. 7. wonderbound.com.