Companies have had to completely rethink how to keep their artists and audiences engaged and connected. “We had to find ways to keep dance present in people’s lives,” says Dance Complex executive director Peter DiMuro, of which Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion is one of many companies plagued by major creative adjustments, to deal with the pandemic limits to embracing the social justice uprising that erupted this year. “The fact that our art products need to change is part of all this time – ignoring the changes in our world would be doing the art form a disservice.”
The presenters are also scrambling. “It’s still a long way to go,” said Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director of Celebrity Series of Boston. “Still, I see online that companies are finding ways to create new things, so I try to have a positive outlook to think that this can be a liberating time if we can overcome the frustration, the grief and the loss. struggle we are in. everything passes. He hopes that the organization can present a form of live dancing in the spring.
The internationally acclaimed Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival is moving forward with a a list of promising projects for the fall aimed at fostering creativity and community artist partnerships, including on-campus residencies, and three commissions specifically for digital platforms. “Many of us in dance are doing everything we can to put resources into the hands of artists whose work has been hampered by the pandemic,” says Pamela Tatge, Executive and Artistic Director. “But we are also looking to take advantage of the opportunities of all these different platforms. Some of the innovations coming out now are really exciting. She is referring to the festival’s creative incubator, Pillow Lab, which for the first time will allow audiences to participate in the process through a free docuseries on YouTube starting October 29. “It’s a good side, this access,” she says.
So what else can Boston-area dance fans expect?
DANCE COMPLEX/STARLIGHT PLACE Two free live outdoor performances are still scheduled for October. “The Dance Complex Teaching Artists and Musicians Concert” is scheduled for October 22, followed by two performances of “Routes & Roots” on October 23 and 24. For the latter, dancers and choreographers from across New England explore how their personal roots have contributed to their creative journeys. In the meantime, Cambridge’s Starlight Square is exploring heating options that could allow dancing and other programs to continue until November, if the weather holds. www.DanceComplex.org
AMIRAH SACKET Boston University features the forward-thinking hip-hop dancer/choreographer in three live-streamed public programs, including a dance workshop on October 19 and a panel discussion on “Dance and Spirituality” on October 21. The highlight of the mini-residency is a talk/demonstration on October 22 illustrating how the artist merges his Muslim and American identities into a distinctive form of expression. Free, registration required. bu.edu/arts/amirah/
BOSTON DANCE ABILITIES Boston’s Celebrity Series features this company of professional dancers – with and without disabilities – in a free HD live stream from the Boston Center for the Arts. Founded in 2017 by Ellice Patterson, the company fosters an inclusive dance environment that showcases the rich diversity of movement and human experience, and the program features four performers in eight of Patterson’s original works. October 29, 8 p.m. www.celebrityseries.org
SEQUINS IN MY WASHBASIN: A GA(Y)LA PDM This Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion online fundraiser combines a virtual conversation piece with lots of dance content. The evening includes the premiere of the dance film “The House of Accumulated Beauties”, commissioned by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as recordings clips from the new project “Stones to Rainbows/Gay to Queer Lives” and the first in the “Postcards From the Front” pandemic response video series. Nov. 8, 5:30 p.m., pre-holiday 4:45 p.m. Discounted tickets $25 to $100. www.publicdisplaysofmotion.com
BOSTON DANCE THEATER Global Arts Live presents a free event, broadcasting live performances of repertoire selections from Princess Grace Award winner Rena Butler and artistic collaborators from the company Jessie Jeanne Stinnett and Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. The presentation also includes a conversation about the company’s creative process. November 14, 8 p.m., www.globalartslive.org
FORSYTHE ELEMENTS Boston Ballet opens its 2020-21 hybrid season with the first program in its new [email protected] virtual subscription series. “Forsythe Elements” takes an in-depth look at the creative genius of William Forsythe, with excerpts from old and new work recorded live in the company’s studio. Forsythe himself will lead a discussion with a select group of company members about dance, music, form and function. November 19-29. $180 for the complete [email protected] series of six different programs. www.bostonballet.org
NUTCRACKER Since local audiences can’t make it to the Opera for Boston Ballet’s holiday classic this year, the company is offering to bring the ballet to you – for the very first time, and for free. The all-new, streamlined one-hour version, edited from video of previous years’ dress rehearsals, will feature three TV shows as well as limited on-demand and online viewing opportunities. Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. on NBC10 Boston, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. on NECN and Dec. 5 at 11 a.m. on Telemundo. www.bostonballet.org
BOSTON BLACK VOICES Conceived and guided by Sankofa Danzafro director Rafael Palacios, this Boston Celebrity Series storytelling and movement project uses personal stories inspired by racial justice movements around the world as a launch pad for creative expression. . Palacios is working with seven selected residents of Boston’s Black communities to turn their experiences and thoughts into choreographed movements, which will be showcased in a live online event. Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Free. www.celebrityseries.org
GIFT The Boston Ballet is supplementing its virtual “Nutcracker” broadcasts with another holiday-themed project, this one as part of its [email protected] series. Set to Duke Ellington’s bluesy jazz classic “Nutcracker Suite,” “The Gift” is an evening of newly minted entertainment from company dancers. The finale of the presentation is the majestic grand pas de deux from Act II of The Nutcracker. December 17-27. $180 for the complete [email protected] series of six different programs. www.bostonballet.org
This story has been updated to correct an error in the founding date of Abilities Dance Boston.
Karen Campbell can be reached at [email protected]