Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Yannick Lebrun performs at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park's 2020 Summer Festival.

Quinn Wharton, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations

7 Shows Hitting Screens, Stages or Scenic Settings This Month

Spring is in the air, and performance calendars are (dare we say it?) almost as busy as they ever have been, if still largely housed on the internet. This mix of online screenings, outdoor events and indoor performances for limited audiences caught our eye this month.


Caged In

In a blue-lit space covered in plastic, two grimy figures in beat up clothing reach cautiously toward one another. A third figure reaches their hand down toward them, visible only from the waist down.

Stefanie Batten Bland's Kolonial

Maria Baranova, Courtesy BAC

ONLINE Inspired by the colonial exposition parks of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Kolonial examines how systems of oppression and exploitation are justified. The 20-minute dance film from Stefanie Batten Bland draws a line to the cages of the COVID-19 era, placing the dancers inside transparent bubbles created by installation artist Conrad Quesen. Filmed in December (with direction and cinematography by Jean Claude Dhien), the Baryshnikov Arts Center commission will be free to watch May 3–17. bacnyc.org. —Courtney Escoyne

Oldies But Goodies

Facing the side, Laurel Lynch swings into a long back attitude in pli\u00e9, torso nearly parallel to the ground. She wears a velvety black, long-sleeved jumpsuit, white spats and gloves.

Mark Morris Dance Group's Laurel Lynch in Three Preludes

Nan Melville, Courtesy MMDG

ONLINE As part of its 40th-anniversary season, Mark Morris Dance Group makes its first foray into livestreamed performance. Live from Brooklyn will feature lesser-seen works from the company's early years, including the solos Jealousy (1985) and Three Preludes (1992), and the "Fugue" movement from Fugue and Fantasy (1987), in a ticketed stream from Mark Morris Dance Center. Plus, the famously musical Morris will premiere Tempus Perfectum, a new work set to selections from Brahms' Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39. May 6–7. markmorrisdancegroup.org. —CE

At the End of the Tunnel

Eight dancers wearing muted colors look up as they raise curved arms and arch back slightly, legs planted wide with a bend in the knees. Behind them, a dark stage and start side lighting from the wings. Hofesh Shechter Company Agathe Poupeney, Courtesy Hofesh Shechter Company

COPENHAGEN Royal Danish Opera has enlisted Hofesh Shechter to choreograph its newest production. LIGHT: Bach dances features eight of Shechter's dancers onstage with 10 singers performing Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas, interwoven with the recorded accounts of real people facing the ends of their lives. The production, which won the FEDORA Van Cleef & Arpels Prize for Ballet last year, marks Shechter's second collaboration with director John Fulljames after they co-directed Orphée et Eurydice at London's Royal Opera House in 2015. The production is planned to debut May 8–15 after being postponed due to local COVID-19 restrictions; audience members will be required to present a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination, and to wear masks until reaching their seats. kglteater.dk. —CE

Legends on Tap

Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith, dressed in black and blue suits, and Dormeshia in a blue patterned dress, dance together in a sunlit corner, gold tap shoes shining.

Derick K. Grant, Dormeshia and Jason Samuels Smith

Jayme Thornton

ONLINE There's plenty to celebrate whenever Dormeshia, Jason Samuels Smith and Derick K. Grant share a stage. But now the three are combining their powers to tip their hats to the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson with the premiere of The Mayor of Harlem, just in time for National Tap Dance Day (and, not coincidentally, Robinson's birthday) on May 25. New York City's Joyce Theater plans to film this fourth annual Tap Family Reunion program on its stage and make it available for on-demand streaming May 21–June 3. joyce.org. —CE

Grief and Glory

In a concrete-walled, dark-floored dance studio, mirrored panels on wheels are scattered along with piles of clothing and wires. One dancer, topless, stands folded over her legs atop a folding chair; a second sits on the floor, head pillowed on her knees, palms flat on the floor.

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith

Maria Baranova, Courtesy The Cooperation

NEW YORK CITY Fueled by the intimacy and vulnerability of their 15-year partnership, the duets Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith collaboratively create and perform take the objectification of the female body and turn it on its head. Their latest, Gloria, explores resistance and survival in the context of a grieving world. Abrons Arts Center plans to present the work May 20–22 in its amphitheater to masked, socially distanced audiences. abronsartscenter.org. —CE

Whimsical Wonder

In an airy rehearsal studio, three dancers manipulate a long, thin length of green fabric that stretches from upstage to downstage. Two dancers stand just to one side of it, one grabbing the other by the shoulders as she stands neutrally, staring ahead.

Whim W'Him in rehearsal for Joseph Hernandez's 2016 SARO

La Vie Photography, Courtesy Whim W'Him

ONLINE Whim W'Him closes out its ambi­tious all-digital season with two final dance film debuts. WONDER BEYOND features creations by Joseph Hernandez and FLOCK (choreographic duo Alice Klock and Florian Lochner), filmed by Quinn Wharton. Both films debut on IN-With-WHIM on May 27 and will remain available through June 30. Monthly or annual memberships to the streaming service, as well as three-day access to individual programs, are available; a free behind-the-scenes Facebook Live event will precede the premiere on May 27 at 6 pm PST. whimwhim.org. —CE

Stargazing

Garen Scribner, in short sleeves, red legwarmers, and suspenders, falls serenely through the air, back nearly parallel to the ground, against a backdrop of a spooky forest.

American Lyric is the brainchild of Garen Scribner (pictured here) and Hunter Noack.

eszter + david, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations

TIVOLI, NY Following a successful Summer Festival in 2020, this month Kaatsbaan Cultural Park will once again put its 153 acres and two outdoor stages to use. Under the artistic direction of Stella Abrera, the Spring Festival will feature new works by Helen Pickett and James Whiteside, for American Ballet Theatre, and the premiere of a new duet choreographed and danced by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Yannick Lebrun. Classic works from the Mark Morris Dance Group and Martha Graham Dance Company are also on the lineup, as are performances by Dorrance Dance and New York City Ballet principals Maria Kowroski, Ask la Cour and Gonzalo Garcia during their final season with the company. Offstage, American Lyric, a site-specific Kaatsbaan commission, scatters Garen Scribner, Coral Dolphin, ShanDien "Sonwai" LaRance, Taylor Stanley, Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber around the rural campus; they'll dance in self-created performances to music (some original) played by Hunter Noack and James Edmund Greeley, transmitted through wireless headphones as audience members wander. Kaatsbaan plans to host limited audiences (masked and socially distanced) in person, as well as offer a ticketed livestream for remote viewing. May 20–23, 27–30. kaatsbaan.org. —Breanna Mitchell

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July 2021