Solos and site-specific works were the dance world’s prevailing themes in 2020, for obvious reasons: people couldn’t touch each other or congregate. But the term site-specific can mean two different things. Sometimes it refers to a live event attended by a real, albeit limited, audience. For example, the LA Dance Project put on a series of drive-in shows, the Kaatsbaan summer festival offered spaced-out picnic blanket-seating, and Troy Schumacher and company are currently staging walk-through “Nutcracker” performances at the Wethersfield Mansion. But site-specific also refers to a dance choreographed for a particular place, which is then filmed and broadcast to a (hopefully) larger audience over the internet. The Joyce Theater recently commissioned indefatigable choreographer Pam Tanowitz and her troupe for this filmic kind of site-specific work. She’s on a roll lately, having made two others in the past few months: one for the New York City Ballet and one for the American Ballet Theatre. There was no need to fear burnout, her offering at the Joyce was the best yet.
Melissa Toogood in "Finally Unfinished" by Pam Tanowitz at the Joyce, Livestream December 12, 2020. Photograph by Erin Baiano