Like an earthquake, the initial impact of the coronavirus shutdown was a seismic shock. Necessary to stem the virus’ spread, but coming at the peak of the spring dance season. Scheduled performances, and then entire spring and summer seasons were cancelled. Dance studios, dance schools, Pilates, yoga and other studios shuttered. Then like a flock of phoenixes, dance zoomed to new virtual incarnations with a flood of on-line performances, classes, and videos. In this new normal, aftershocks continue as the pandemic closures enter the third month. This week’s significant tremor was the cancellation of the entire Ford Theatre summer season which has become SoCal’s informal summer dance festival. Announced gradual reopening steps leave performing arts, including the dance world, in lockdown. Ever resilient, dance displays hopeful signs as this week includes streamed performances, invitations to submit filmed dance on its own and to compete for a live performance opportunity in the fall. In another encouraging sign, fewer announcements arrive with outright cancellation and more are for postponement to definite performance dates in late summer and fall.
- Tapping into the inner child
Earlier this spring, the Music Center’s annual Children’s Festival was cancelled, but now springs back on-line with a celebration of tap dance headlined by Dorrance Dance led by tap’s “it girl” Michelle Dorrance. Thurs., May 21, 11 a.m. PDT, https://www.musiccenter.org/education/Blue-Ribbon-Childrens-Festival/.
The effects of light
Promising to explore states of shadow and light, MashUp dancer Ariana Santistevan developed and streams a live performance of her solo Dream State. Sun., May 24, 8 p.m. PDT, https://www.instagram.com/mashupdance/?hl=en.
- Something about Harry
Known internationally as the first designated resident choreographer for Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Barak Marshall is known locally for his choreography for his own company and his status as the son of celebrated choreographer/teacher Margalit Oved. Marshall’s work for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal was not included in les BJM’s Santa Monica performances earlier this year. This streamed performance of Marshall’s Harry is a chance to see a dancework from a neighborhood kid who made good. Sat., May 23, 2 p.m., EDT, https://linktr.ee/barakmarshall.
- Speedreading 1001 stories
A concentrated taste of choreographer Rosanna Gamson’s consideration of a legendary storyteller is performed on-line in Layla Means Night. Drawn from her company Rosanna Gamson/World Wide’s performance, the work is inspired by The Persian tale of Shahrzad or Scheherazade who entranced her husband and kept herself alive telling stories for 1001 nights. https://vimeo.com/407374713.
- Going for 15
The hip hop troupe Versa Style Dance has been streaming interviews with figures like Rennie Harris and street dance classes. Its annual Hip Hop Dance Festival has been postponed to October, but not even a pandemic can stop its week-long 15th anniversary celebration which continues on-line from Thurs. thru Sun., May 21-24. Details on who is dancing, and dancing against whom, and when at http://versastyledance.org/.
Where to Find What’s Streaming
Companies are streaming past performances to compensate for cancelled spring seasons, and dance videos have gained more prominence whether a thread of solo dancers tag teaming a movement sequence, dancing on the roof, the backyard or their kitchen. The popular long-running video competition Dare to Dance in Public curated by Sarah Elgart has been joined by her new challenge, Six Foot Distance Dances (details on how to submit at https://www.culturalweekly.com/dare-dance-public-film-festival-six-foot-distance-dances/).
Over the next few months, the Palm Springs International Dance Festival is accepting submissions for an October performance under the title MERDE! A Dance Makers Moment. Seven submissions will be selected for presentation on October 23 with by the voting audience and an expert panel. The winner of the voting will be presented as part of the Festival’s gala in March 2021. Details on submission at
Dance Camera West screens 60 films from its 2020 dance film festival on Ovid TV, details at http://www.dancecamerawest.org/. Dance Resource Center also has been tracking similar opportunities at https://www.danceresourcecenter.org/.
On-line dance classes continue on zoom, instagram and other on-line platforms, many classes free, low cost or suggesting a donation. One central, constantly updated source on dance classes and in-depth reporting on SoCal dance, LA Dance Chronicle https://w3.ladancechronicle.com/, lists on-line dance classes including any cost and contact info. Grab a chair or clear off a corner of the room and use this time to dance.
Cancelled or Postponed:
Ford Theaters and Hollywood Bowl Dance usually augments the music two or three times during the summer Hollywood Bowl season, but the loss of the Ford Theater is particularly harsh. Over the years, the Ford has become an informal summer dance festival for SoCal dance companies. Other replacement venues may emerge as things open up, but the Ford Theater cancellation is a tough one for dance.
Dahlak Brathwaite’s Try/Step/Trip with choreography by Toran X Moore at REDCAT, downtown; Thurs.-Sat., May 21-23. https://www.redcat.org/. Postponed.
Shen Yun all SoCal venues in April and May have been postponed. https://www.shenyun.com/.