It has been almost a year since the first homemade Covid pandemic dances were first introduced into this dire/”the new normal” period of our lives. Zoom has been a way to stay in contact with family, friends, and colleagues, an inspiration to some, and definitely a method for companies around the world to keep their dancers working. For me, Zoom and other virtual platforms are all that but I have also become weary of the two dimensionless and watered down energy of watching and reviewing virtual dance. That said, until we get beyond this time of Covid, these virtual platforms will continue to serve a large viewership and perhaps help increase their audience as companies’ work is seen in places where they have not or will not be able to tour.

If you have not yet burnt out on virtual dance, the New York City based Eryc Taylor Dance has just announced the premiere of Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation, with an introduction by former New York City Ballet member and Tony Award nominated Robbie Fairchild. The film will premiere on YouTube live on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 6pm EDT (3pm PDT) for selected audiences following an in-person performance on Saturday, March 20th at 2 pm EDT (11am PDT).

Eryc Taylor spent two years with Merce Cunningham’s Junior Ensemble (RUG) and has performed works by Mark Dendy, Group Motion, Paul Taylor, Milton Meyers, Sean Curran and Gus Solomons Jr, and strongly believes in artistic collaboration. With Eryc Taylor Dance, he has worked closely with artists Chris Annas-Lee, Mark Beard, Gerald Busby, Simon Hayes (Swarm Intelligence), David Kagen, Sidney Grant, Scooter LaForge, Salomon Lerner, Laura Peterson, Daniel Tobias, and Stephan Michael Smith. To read Taylor’s full bio, click HERE.

Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation will be available to the public March 22-28, 2021 and include daily Instagram Live events with artists and collaborator Q&As, interviews, live rehearsals, and more. All the events are free with donations encouraged.

These post premiere events include:  All listed times are EDT.

Monday, March 22 at 6:00pm – Q&A with film editor, Benny Krown.

Tuesday, March 23 at 6:00pm – 5X5 Interview Series with photographer, Shannel Resto

Thursday, March 25 at 6:00pm – Q&A with Eryc Taylor Dance member and collaborator, Nicole Baker

All events hosted on @eryctaylordance Instagram Live.

Alex Tenreiro Theis – Eryc Taylor Dance – Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation – Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR

Conceived and developed over Zoom, Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation features dancers Nicole Baker, Chris Bell, Taylor Ennen, AJ Guevara, Eryc Taylor, and Alex Tenreiro Theis.

Part One: Solitude – Taylor Ennen plays Spenser, who is slowly unraveling in the stillness of her family home.

Part Two: In-Memoriam – AJ Guevara plays Ivan, who just lost his grandmother to the pandemic – she died alone, and now he grieves alone – in a lonely ritual, he tries to summon her spirit.

Part Three: Meltdown – Alex Tenreiro Theis plays Dani, a young attorney who lost her job because of COVID-19 and is on the brink of a mental breakdown.

Part Four: Manhunt –Chris Bell plays “Him,” who is tired of feeling trapped home alone and searches for sexual encounters to fill the void during the height of the lockdown.

Part Five: Compulsion – Nicole Baker plays a nurse who struggles with rising paranoia undermining her basic functionality.

Eryc Taylor Dance - Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation - Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR

Eryc Taylor Dance – Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation – Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR

“Each dancer recorded themselves, so I have enjoyed getting to know each dancer through the unique movements and angles they chose,” said film editor Benny Krown.

“My husband was one of the first to suffer a COVID-19 infection for three excruciating weeks in March,” said Daniel Tobias, composer. “He survived, but it scared me to death. When Eryc Taylor asked me to compose music for Uncharted Territory, there was already a tsunami of emotions heading his way. Each dancer’s story helped me process this tragic epic global pandemic, and I hope the music helped them as well.”

As with so many virtual dances that have been created over the past year, the genesis of Uncharted Territory came from the need to connect to others. To aid the dancers involved, Taylor created an intricate Movement and Expression Chart – a chart that became the basis of the film. Taylor included randomizes movements, dynamics, and emotions to generate choreography sequencing through the process of chance, a process that perhaps he was introduced to by Merce Cunningham.

For the summer of 2021, Taylor plans a series of live, outdoor performances of Uncharted Territory and masterclasses hosted by the dancers, utilizing Eryc Taylor’s Movement and Expression Chart. Two will be open to the general public, and three dedicated to youths, seniors, and differently-abled persons. These workshops will be priced on a sliding scale of $5-25 to ensure accessibility and part of the Company’s ETD Outreach Program.

Chris Bell - Eryc Taylor Dance - Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation - Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR

Chris Bell – Eryc Taylor Dance – Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation – Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR

Daniel Tobias is Eryc Taylor Dance’s composer-in-residence. He attended The University of California, Berkeley, The Juilliard School of Music, and The Bay Area Acting Studio. Tobias currently trains with Country World Champion Richard McMurrich. He was a Lammy Finalist for his debut novel “The Next” under the pen name Rafe Haz.

Shannel Resto is an international artist, currently residing in New York City as a dance and fashion photographer, photo editor, choreographer, dancer, and artist-activist. She is the lead photographer/documentarian of Eryc Taylor Dance’s Uncharted Territory and is a regular collaborator with ETD. Resto graduated with her BFA in dance at Rutgers University from Mason Gross School of the Arts. She is currently the rehearsal director and dancer for Nyane Khosi Dance Company. When not dancing, Resto is running her photography company SJR Photography, founded in 2013. The message she communicates through her art is the freedom to explore the impossible possibilities through her lens and body.

Benny Krown is a filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. [be.reel.then.known].

Donation based tickets are now available HERE.

To learn more about Eryc Taylor Dance and to read more about the dancers involved in Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation, click HERE.


Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: AJ Guevara – Eryc Taylor Dance – Uncharted Territory: Dancers in Isolation – Photo courtesy of Michelle Tabnick PR