As COVID-19 shut down schools and businesses across the world, just about every upcoming dance performance was canceled. Dancers who spent weeks (and sometimes months or years) rehearsing were suddenly unable share their work with live audiences.
But our field is nothing if not creative. Many have quickly adapted and found ways to put their work online instead. Some companies are offering one-time livestreams, while others are putting up videos created over Zoom or posting rehearsal clips that were captured before we all started social distancing.
It's an inspiring show of how resilient our field is—and it gives us an opportunity to experience the beauty of dance right when many of us need it most.
Dance Magazine asked dancers and companies to send us links to anything that's gone virtual due to canceled performances. We heard from people around the world, from major companies to independent makers, and collected the clips and livestreams here.
Stream: Lotus Music & Dance
On Saturday, June 20 at 4 pm EDT, Lotus Music and Dance will share its 18th Annual Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American and Multicultural Celebration at lotusmusicanddance.org. The program will feature the all-women trio "Soles of Duende"; a collaboration with flamenco, tap and Kathak dancers; this year's honoree, the first Native American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo; and a retrospective the past 17 years.
Watch: A&A Ballet
Three dancers from A&A Ballet in Chicago—Trinity Santoro, Grace Curry, and Megan Wefel—performed a love letter to their city on the streets just outside Grant Park, in this short film directed by Ken Goldstein.
Watch: Dance Theatre of Harlem
DTH on Demand launches June 3, offering pre-recorded shows, Q&As, online classes and more. The performance lineup includes DTH classics like Creole Giselle, reconceived by Arthur Mitchell and staged by Frederic Franklin, Robert Garland's Return and Geoffrey Holder's Dougla. While all the programming is free, donations are encouraged.
Stream: Fresh Meat Festival
kNOwSHADE Vogue Ensemble
Kegan Marling, Courtesy Fresh Meat Festival
The annual Fresh Meat Festival of transgender and queer performance is offering five programs online for free from June 18-27. The footage from earlier festivals will highlight 31 ensembles and artists.
On Saturday, June 6 at 7:30 pm ET, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will stream Silas Farley's Songs from the Spirit, which was originally performed throughout the museum in March 2019. The performance can be watched on The Met's YouTube and Facebook pages.
Nrityagram's Samhāra Revisited will stream on Saturday, July 18 at 7:30 pm ET. The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, in collaboration with The Chitrasena Dance Company, performed Samhāra Revisited at The Temple of Dendur in October 2018.
Stream: Miami City Ballet
Miami City Ballet is launching a Friday Night Spotlights series on its Facebook page. Starting May 29, catch a new ballet every other Friday night at 8 pm ET. The lineup includes:
- May 29: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins' Firebird
- June 12: Justin Peck's Heatscape
- June 26: Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs
- July 10: Alexei Ratmansky's Symphonic Dances
Watch: Whim W'Him
For its new all-digital membership program, IN-with-WHIM, Seattle's Whim W'Him is offering a season of original dance films, including:
- Choreographic Shindig VI (September 2020) - new dance creations choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Madison Olandt & Mike Tyus
- This Is Not The Little Prince (January 2021) - an original film version of artistic director Olivier Wevers' full-length work that premiered in June 2019 with original music by composer Brian Lawlor
- Wonder Beyond (May 2021) - new dance creations by Joseph Hernandez and Robyn Mineko Williams
- Whim W'Him is also reimagining its XALT program, originally planned for the last week of May and early June, and is currently creating new dance films with physically distant choreography by Penny Saunders and Olivier Wevers.
Stream: Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur
Each Sunday from July through September, Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur will present 10 original solos by 10 choreographers to the music of 10 Quebec composers. Dancemakers include Daina Ashbee, Marie Chouinard, Guillaume Cote and Anne Plamondon.
Stream: Argentine Tango
Andres Bravo and Sarita Apel, Argentine Tango USA Champions 2019, have started a monthly, donation-based online tango performance called "3 Esquinas Online Tango Show" on Zoom. The next edition takes place on June 13.
Watch: Royal Winnipeg Ballet
To show their appreciation for the incredible outpouring of community support, the dancers of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet recreated Mark Godden's Angels in the Architecture.
Watch: En Caja
En Caja is a dance film directed and edited by Enrique Villacreses & Kyla Thomas, both graduates from New World School of the Arts College Dance Division.
Watch: Birmingham Royal Ballet
After the success of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Alone | Together, released on International Dance Day, the same creative team collaborated on a second short film, Or Else We Are Lost. It features company dancers Céline Gittens and Max Maslen expressing the frustration of confinement and the need to dance.
Watch: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Paul Taylor Dance Company has made its first-ever digital dance work: 22 Rooms, choreographed and directed by Larry Keigwin. The first video in the series features dancers Heather McGinley and Devon Louis.
Watch: National Dance Institute
To kick off the National Dance Institute's virtual gala on May 12, more than 50 NDI students performed from their homes to recreate the classic NDI choreography to "When the Saints Go Marching In."
Stream: Mark DeGarmo Dance
Mark DeGarmo Dance will stream its Virtual Salon Performance Series on May 28 and June 11 at 7 pm Eastern on Zoom. Performances featuring Ilona Bito, Kameron Chatman and Ara Fitzgerald (May 28) and Callie Hatchett, Zjana Muraro and José María (June 11) will include an audience feedback session curated by Mark DeGarmo. Tickets, for $10, $15 or $20, are available here.
Watch: Qacung Yufrican and dancers across Alaska
Qacung Yufrican (aka Stephen Blanchett) recently sent out the song, "Tarvarnauramken (The Blessing)" to dancers across Alaska who recorded themselves dancing to it. Yufrican is the dancer in red.
Watch: University of California, Santa Barbara
Seven senior dance majors from the University of California, Santa Barbara improvised while social distancing, and professor Monique Meunier compiled their work together.
Watch: CandyBomber Commissions
Multidisciplinary artist Kate Duhamel, who directs CandyBomber in San Francisco, offered the artists she's worked with on her two latest projects $500 each to create new short works from home. They could use one of two prompts: "Inspired by the real CandyBomber story," or "My imagination flying the coop - #flythecoopthroughcreativity." The resulting 13 projects are being released one at a time every week.
Watch: Stephen Petronio Company
Stephen Petronio Company is presenting a free online season from May 13 to June 14. Here's the lineup:
- From May 15-22, The Joyce Theater will stream a 2019 recording of Petronio's American Landscapes.
- From May 18-June 14, the Merce Cunningham Trust will stream a 2019 recording of Stephen Petronio Company in Merce Cunningham's Tread.
- On May 29 at 6 pm Eastern, Stephen Petronio Company will present an evening called #LoveSpreadsFaster. It will include the premiere of #GimmeShelter, a new video work by Petronio created on Zoom. It will also feature a solo excerpt from Full Half Wrong, performed by Jaqlin Medlock. This program will be available until June 5.
- On May 30 at 6 pm Eastern, Stephen Petronio Company will present _AShadowPrince, a solo choreographed and performed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer. It's the first commissioned work that's part of Petronio's new Bloodlines(future) program.
Watch: Chevalier Ballet
New York's Chevalier Ballet was meant to perform in the UK in April, dancing to music of the Beatles performed live by tribute band Across the Pond and String Quartet Taconic Music. Although the company hopes to return next April, for now, it's shared footage on YouTube.
Watch: MICHIYAYA Dance
MICHIYAYA Dance, a femme-centric contemporary dance theater company in New York City, is offering its work /wē/ for streaming. Co-artistic director Mitsuko Verdery describes the work as "a collective study on gender identity through a femme lens that rids the binary, embraces the inner self and builds without walls."
Watch: Pivot Arts
Chicago's Pivot Arts is shifting online for this year's festival—subtitled "This is How We Pivot." Online presentations will premiere June 5–11 and remain available through the end of the month at pivotarts.org/festival.
Through its new initiative #RAWdanceGoesDigital, RAWdance is sharing short dances, wellness exercises, excerpts from past performances and fully-produced dance films.
Watch: Gibney Company
Gibney Company is currently sharing Micaela Taylor's 2019 EYESOW. Taylor was the inaugural recipient of the Gibney Company/Springboard EMERGE Choreographic Award, which aims to help young artists develop into creative leaders.
Watch: Cunningham Centennial
Throughout the summer, the Centennial Repertory Festival will be sharing select performances from last year's Merce Cunningham Centennial. Catch Lyon Opera Ballet, CCN-Ballet de Lorraine, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stephen Petronio Company, CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston, American Dance Festival, John Scott Dance and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in Cunningham's works. Each will be available for one month on the Merce Cunningham Trust website and Vimeo page, and one month on the respective dance organization's site. A new performance will be shared each Monday.
Watch: Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring dancers
Manhattan's newest dance venue, The Shed, invited Reggie 'Regg Roc' Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring dancers to record a virtual performance called Revelation of Proverbs. Inspired by the desire to rediscover self in this moment of isolation and confinement, the dancers filmed themselves in their homes performing their own styles of Flexn to a mix of original music.
Watch: Pacific Northwest Ballet
Until the dancers can perform for live audiences again, Pacific Northwest Ballet has released a series of previously recorded videos. Available for a limited time only, the videos will be released on PNB's Facebook and YouTube pages. The lineup includes:
- Twyla Tharp's Waiting at the Station: Friday, June 5, 7 pm PDT through Wednesday, June 10 (This video is available exclusively to donors, subscribers and Pite-Tharp-Liang ticket buyers)
- George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Wednesday, June 24, 7 pm PDT through Monday, June 29 (June 24 is the actual midsummer)
To donate to PNB's relief fund, visit PNB.org/Relief.
Although the rest of the semester has gone online, the Juilliard community is keeping busy. The school's president Damian Woetzel dreamed up "Bolero Juilliard," featuring dance, drama and music students and some high-profile alumni. The project was directed and choreographed by Larry Keigwin, with assistance from his longtime collaborator Nicole Wolcott.
Watch: New York Kathak Festival
The New York Kathak Festival had to cancel its flagship event in April. Instead, they brought together 12 artists from the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago and the United Kingdom for an online livestream.
Watch: San Francisco Ballet
As part of its SF Ballet @ Home programming while everyone's sheltering in place, San Francisco Ballet is sharing a different ballet from its archives each week.
Watch: National Dance Company Wales
National Dance Company Wales has launched an online program, KiN: Connected, which includes some of its most popular pre-recorded videos plus previously unshown works, as well as dance classes and commissioned projects.
Samuel Pott's Nimbus is launching an online Stagedoor Series. Every Saturday from 7 to 8 pm ET, the New Jersey company will stream interviews, exclusive footage and other behind the scenes content, offered on a pay what you wish basis.
Watch: Kansas City Ballet
As part of its KCBallet@Home programming, Kansas City Ballet is sharing select performances from past seasons for limited runs. The company will also be sharing performance excerpts as a video of the week on its social media channels every Monday.
BodyVox is offering a rotating lineup of performances online.
Denver-based contemporary ballet company Wonderbound has created two libraries of videos: Project Wonder, a series of short dance films, and Dance Along!, a collection of instructional dance lessons. Both are updated weekly, and the videos are also shared on Wonderbound's Vimeo page. Altogether, the company has uploaded 96 videos since they began socially isolating, and plans to continue adding more.
In addition to releasing weekly movement classes on Instagram and Facebook Live, Pilobolus is sharing select digital performances on its website.
Stream: Indian classical dance
Every other night on the Satkara - Unleashing the Spirit of Sattriya Facebook page you can watch a 30-40 minute performance of Indian classical dance as part of the group's "Live the Moment" initiative. Styles range from Bharatanatyam and Kathak to Odissi and, of course, Sattriya. The performances are streamed live from the dancers' living spaces.
Watch: Robert Moses' Kin
After its March performances were canceled, Robert Moses' Kin teamed up with the San Francisco Unified School District to help students and families in need. Anyone who donates to the company's For Our Students, For Our Schools initiative—which raises money to deploy the technology required for remote learning and to provide meals—receives a password to watch an original RMK dance film.
Watch: ACE Dance Concept
In light of the pandemic, ACE Dance Concept has launched a new digital platform called ACE Space. On offer are original short films, footage from immersive events and a host of extras.
Stream: Programming from The Joyce
JoyceStream offers a new full-length performance every week, culled from The Joyce Theater's past and current seasons. JoyceStream is just one channel of the New York dance venue's larger digital initiative, Bring Dance Home, a curated collection of performances and interviews from a variety of dance and arts organizations.
Stream: Dance Place
Washington, DC's Dance Place has launched a Virtual Presenting Series, streamed live on its website and Facebook. Companies that were meant to be presented by the venue during this time will screen pre-recorded footage and take part in live Q&As with Dance Place executive artistic director Christopher Morgan.
Watch: Dutch National Ballet
The Dutch National Ballet launched a new online platform that streams both classes and performances like Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote.
Watch: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater launched the Ailey All Access platform on March 30—the anniversary date of the company's first performance. There are full length works, dance classes and short videos made by the dancers.
Stream: Martha Graham Dance Company
The Martha Graham Dance Company is screening a selection from its digital archives every Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30 pm Eastern. Check out the company's YouTube channel to watch the rare footage—including some of Graham herself.
Stream: New York Live Arts
Watch: MN Dance Company
MN Dance Company from Slovenia put its latest work on YouTube since all upcoming performances in Ljubljana, the Netherlands and Hungary were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.
Watch: Sarasota Ballet
Sarasota Ballet had to cancel the rest of its season—they should have been performing Sir Frederick Ashton's Romeo & Juliet next weekend, and a triple bill with Jerome Robbin's In the Night, Ashton's Dante Sonata and David Bintley's The Spider's Feast at the end of April. Thankfully, the dancers will still be paid their full salaries until the end of their contracts. The company shared this video of extended clips.
Watch: Abron Arts Center performances
Abron Arts Center in New York City is temporarily closed. So they've made all their documented performances public on their Vimeo page. Watch full works from top experimental artists like NIC Kay, Juliana F. May and Jonathan Gonzalez.
Watch: Stuttgart Ballet
Almost the entire Stuttgart Ballet has been in quarantine since March 14, when, after a tour to the German city of Friedrichshafen, five dancers and a staff member came down with COVID-19. (Fortunately, everyone is on their way to recovery.) Until the dancers can perform again, Stuttgart Ballet has launched Stuttgart Ballet@Home, a virtual video-on-demand program offering recordings of full ballets. You can watch on the company's website or YouTube.
Watch: Hoyoung Im rehearsing his Waldeinsamkeit
Here is work-in-progress choreography of Waldeinsamkeit, which was supposed to be presented in Berlin on March 29. Music and choreography are both by artist Hoyoung Im.
Stream: Sadler's Wells
While its doors are closed, London venue Sadler's Wells is releasing a full-length dance performance on its Facebook page every week.
Watch: Bret Easterling's BRECHT
Bret Easterling's evening-length solo BRECHT was scheduled for March 13–15 at L.A. Dance Project. When the run was canceled on March 12, LADP decided to stream an excerpt live on Facebook and Periscope.
Watch: Carolina Ballet
Carolina Ballet will be uploading past works to its website every Tuesday and Friday.
Watch: State Street Ballet's Sleeping Beauty
State Street Ballet's Sleeping Beauty premiere was canceled, but they did an in-studio performance for donors and board members, friends and family, and shared a stream on Facebook.
Watch & Stream: Teddy Tedholm's 95 POEMS Summer and Fall
This is the last rehearsal of the second half of 95 POEMS Summer and Fall by Teddy Tedholm. In addition to sharing this clip, Tedholm has also put together livestreams of artists performing in their bedrooms.
Watch: Diana Schuemann's Inside Out
This film, choreographed by Diana Schuemann, with video and design by mixed media artist Jessica Moritz, was supposed to be screened at several film festivals this spring, starting with one in Rio de Janeiro.
Watch & Stream: Arch Ballet
Arch Ballet was scheduled to dance a new rendition of choreographer Sheena Annalise's Surreal in a sold-out shared program at New York Live Arts on Saturday, March 14, benefitting the American Suicide Prevention Foundation. It was canceled on Friday, March 13. Instead, the company posted rehearsal footage, and shared a virtual season on Instagram Live.
Watch: Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet's Carmen program was canceled hours before the curtain was set to rise on opening night. The company has posted a playlist of extended clips of the ballets that they were supposed to perform: Helen Pickett's Tsukiyo and Petal, Jorma Elo's Carmen and George Balanchine's Serenade. The performances have been rescheduled for August 20-30.
Watch: The Giving Tree
This is the first rehearsal for Nijawwon Matthews' choreography for The Giving Tree series, danced by Jourdan Epstein and Terk Waters. One hundred percent of proceeds from the canceled run was supposed to go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Anyone who would like to donate to St. Jude's can do so here.
Watch: Hamburg Ballet
This trailer shows clips of Saint Matthew Passion by John Neumeier. Performances were scheduled for April 9 and 10 at the Hamburg State Opera. Hamburg Ballet was also forced to cancel a program of two Balanchine ballets April 17–24, and the Beethoven Project by Neumeier on April 30.
Watch: Pennsylvania Ballet rehearsing Jacob Taylor's debut for Shut Up And Dance
Pennsylvania Ballet's Shut Up & Dance benefit was scheduled for March 28. Choreographer Jacob Taylor shared two clips from an early rehearsal.
Watch: Mount Holyoke College's Capstone Concert
The seniors in Mount Holyoke's dance department scrambled to put their thesis projects onstage in 20 hours when they found out the school was closing on March 10.
Watch: Ohio University
After choreographing group pieces that never got to be performed, Ohio University's junior BFA class reimagined their work as solos and put together a virtual showing.
Watch: Kit Modus in Night Air
Atlanta's Kit Modus pieced together clips of rehearsal for Instagram after its performance of Night Air was canceled.
Watch: PGK Dance
PGK Dance's Holding Tight program has been rescheduled to the fall. In the meantime, they created a 30-minute video available on demand for anyone willing to donate $5, or any ticket holders who donated their tickets back to the company. The video features footage of the final rehearsal, interviews and fun commentary from the artists and a photo gallery. Anyone who donates will also receive a PGK sticker. And those who donate $25 or more also receive a PGK shirt.
Watch: The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance
The New York Studio of Irish Step Dance had multiple shows canceled this spring. So they compiled a video of clips and photos from rehearsals and past performances.
Watch: Sonia Plumb Dance Company in The Dance of da Vinci 2.0
Sonya Plumb Dance Company's Dance of da Vinci 2.0 was scheduled for March 20-22. The 75-minute work by choreographer Sonya Plumb, with projections by Bryan Swormstedt and original music by Michael Wall (SoundFORMovement) will eventually be filmed in its entirety and shared on YouTube. For now, the company posted an excerpt called Vitruvian Man/Woman with dancers Myles Langston and Marlayna Locklear.
Watch: Oklahoma City Ballet
Oklahoma City Ballet's Future Voices: A Choreographic Showcase was set to take place March 12-15. Only the opening night happened, but the company captured video to share. Here is Amanda Herd-Popejoy's State of Being. The company also shared Sam Jones'These Three Remain (Excerpt) on Facebook.
Watch: Aaron Smith's For the Sake of
Aaron Smith, a junior dance major at Florida State University, had choreographed his largest ensemble work to date for ACDA southeast and FSU's annual Days of Dance. It will no longer be performed, but he recorded an earlier showing for professors.
Watch: Francisco Graciano's Two
Former Paul Taylor dancer Francisco Graciano, currently an MFA student at Florida State University, created Two on dancers Elizabeth Zuccaro and Jeremy Guyton. It was supposed to make its premiere on FSU's Days of Dance Concert on April 24, but the school has been closed.
Watch: Marisa Fernandez's Unleash
Marisa Fernandez, a senior BFA candidate at Florida State University, was preparing to perform her solo Unleash at the ACDA southeast conference on March 18. Due to the event's sudden cancellation, she did not get the chance to.
Watch: Aigars Larionovs' XY21
Aigars Larionovs was meant to perform his solo work XY21 at the A.I.R. Dance Conference in Miami. The piece features original musical by Logan Castro. Larionovs recorded the full work earlier this year at the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theater in Tallahassee, FL, and has shared it on YouTube.
Watch: Ballet Co.Laboratory
Ballet Co.Laboratory was forced to postpone two performances of its new rock ballet Freddie - Break Free, based on the life of Freddie Mercury. The company hosted a socially distanced rehearsal on Zoom of one number, "Don't Stop Me Now," and shared the results on Vimeo.
Watch: Triple Threat Performing Arts Company
Students in the Triple Threat Performing Arts Company in Brooklyn had planned to perform co-director Kim Senisi's The Giving Tree at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in April, before it got canceled. Fortunately, they'd had an earlier chance to dance the piece and shared footage on YouTube.
Watch: Legacy Entertainment Group
Legacy Entertainment Group had four fly-on cruise ship shows canceled, in addition to a week-long tour and a July festival. So they sent their performers a challenge, and compiled the results for a Facebook video.
Watch: «Heiße Liebe» – despite isolation
This film, directed by Naemi Latzer and choreographed by Lisa Magnan, was meant to be screened in public, but due to COVID-19, it was only released online.
Watch: Die Wolke Art Group
Die Wolke Art Group, a non-profit for the performing arts and technology based in Thessaloniki, Greece, has put three full-length contemporary dance works and two short dance films online. Two are interactive pieces that use sensors on the dancers' bodies to affect the music and visuals. All are available on Vimeo on Demand, and Die Wolke mailing list subscribers will receive access to coupons to watch for free.
Watch: Red Clay Dance Company
Chicago's Red Clay Dance Company was scheduled to premiere three works on April 3 and 4, and host their after-show fundraiser Paint the Town Red. Instead, the company has launched an online video series on Facebook and Instagram, which includes footage from rehearsals and previous performances, as well as a short film. The fundraiser took place on Instagram Live.
Watch: Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater co-founder Kevin Iega Jeff's Goshen was meant to premiere at Chicago's Broadway Playhouse May 22-31. The project would bring together the dancers and choreographers of DRDT with Grammy-winning gospel artist Donald Lawrence, The Tri-City Singers, rapper Sir The Baptist and poet J. Ivy for an examination of race and equity through the lens of biblical narrative. It's now postponed, but in the meantime DRDT has shared the trailer.
Watch: Marlyn Attie's CRUSH
Panamanian dancer and choreographer Marlyn Attie was scheduled to present her work CRUSH at a national arts and entrepreneurship festival called TRAMA. Instead, she's shared a video of Teatro Nacional de Panamá performing the work.
An Alternative Point of View: Maybe Don't Rush to Put Everything Online
Choreographer Megan Williams offered her perspective:
"I just had a show canceled at Danspace Project/Community ACCESS in New York City. Self-producing in collaboration with composer Eve Beglarian with live music (five musicians and the Young People's Chorus) and 11 dancers. The biggest thing I've ever done on my own. I was ready to go into tech week on the 22nd. This should have been the time I was reminding people to get tickets, to be thanking my Kickstarter donors, to be rehearsing with the musicians, to be pushing into high gear. We've been working for a year and a half. Now it's being rescheduled for December.
"I'm wrapping up all the details of my show cancellation, talking to my team, creative collaborators, press agent. I'm good-faith sending checks to the artists, texting/calling them daily to make sure they are okay. I'm prepping for virtual teaching at Purchase College and Sarah Lawrence, and just heard officially that Marymount is closing down so the piece I was making on the BAs won't be performed, nor will the solo I made on a senior at Conn College. They've all been sent home.
"So putting my newly-minted but not yet performed work into the video fray right now is a vulnerable idea. I'm pushing up against the rush for everyone to not only produce dance content around the clock but to share everything virtually that was meant to be seen live.
"We need to slow down.
"This crisis will be with us for a while, and we will need to spread out the wealth of content. Maybe I'll be ready to share some rehearsal footage in a few weeks, maybe not."