The things we learn during a pandemic! Who would have believed, pre-covid, that watching dance presentations virtually could be enjoyable? My few vague memories of professional dance performances are static/full stage view/one camera angle/small screen televised programs of traditional ballet.
Thankfully, the filming of dance has developed into a specialized art form. Dance videos are a legitimate form of entertainment. I got a glimpse of this a few years ago, watching this 2015 City and Colour music video of Dallas Green’s Lover Come Back.
Like a professional sporting event, it’s a different experience watching dance virtually, rather than in person. I can hardly believe I am typing this, but it seems (based on my covid mandated dance viewing) that both in-person and videoed presentations can be satisfying experiences. As long as the performances, choreography and filming are exceptional, the experiences are enjoyable, albeit in different ways. (Close ups: check. Dancers’ expressions: check. Going out for dinner with friends before or after: impossible right now.)
The Dance Victoria organization quickly pivoted to a virtual season of dance performances early in the pandemic. You may recall my March post about Ballet BC’s presentation of Romeo + Juliet. A highly anticipated, in-person dance presentation was cancelled; fortunately, a video of the performance was made available to subscribers.
Dance Victoria’s 2020-2021 season continues virtually. Compagnie Hervé KOUBI, a French/Algerian dance company opened the season. Watch this short video to get a sense of the physicality of this remarkable company of dancers. Here’s a trailer for What the day owes to the night – the full performance I recently viewed….twice.
Some dance companies are offering free content. Most of these performances have been created in response to the pandemic and its restrictions. The Guggenheim offers these Works in Process. Highly creative, they are site specific, and take place outdoors, near Lincoln Center in NYC. The National Ballet of Canada is presenting Expansive Dances, a series of three different solos. Ailey Forward is available this month from the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
With all of the paid and free performances, there are supporting material and bonus features. For example, the Dance Victoria interview with the artistic director, Hervé Koubi, was fascinating, and added to the enjoyment of What the day owes to the night. There is even a behind the scenes video for Expansive Dances.
Take a break from Netfl*x. Download the Ailey Forward schedule, and watch some dance. It’s another way to make this festive season just ‘a bit’ more unique.