Five NYC-based dance companies (Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem) joined forces to put on 5 outdoor shows in the Damrosch Park area of Lincoln Center this past week. NY Senator Brian Benjamin, who co-introduced the performance, said that Covid-19 “created a lot of trauma in our lives, but it also provided opportunity for collaboration.” We are not yet on the other side of this plague, but even in the midst of the Delta surge there are already signs of rebirth. Much has been made of how the artistic directors of these companies turned to each other for guidance and comfort during the darkest days of the pandemic. This is an entirely new—and most welcome—development for the NYC dance scene. Normally, personnel cross paths only at Steps on Broadway or in theater lobbies at intermission. Surely, these troupes would never have come together without the dire need to perform anything, anywhere.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s “Lazarus” by Rennie Harris (excerpt). BAAND Together Dance Festival, Photograph by Erin Baiano