Below, some of the Funny Wine The Glue Holding This 2020 Shitshow Together Gift T-Shirt but in fact I love this best ballets from quarantine so far. In June, when Lincoln Center was aglow with a Pride-themed rainbow of lights, choreographer Kyle Abraham and New York City Ballet’s principal dancer Taylor Stanley used the setting as the backdrop for a new work, Ces Noms que Nous Portons (or “These Names That We Bear”). The ballet’s mise en scène only reinforced its message; a statement signed by both Abraham and Stanley reads, “This collaboration aims to celebrate our queerness and our color in a way that hopefully stresses its importance, its fragility, and its strength. We dance, and create dances, for those who have yet to see themselves on a stage.” At just less than four minutes, the work is set to one of Erik Satie’s wistful piano Gnossiennes and is centered on Stanley, whose darkened silhouette appears in front of Lincoln Center’s much Instagrammed fountain. As the water rises and falls, he is seen oscillating between classical ballet arabesques and movements more evocative of the day-to-day human experience—Stanley clutches his chest like it’s all just too much to bear, and then rolls his body around to the piano-beat, shaking it off in an attempt carry on. “We want to honor the lives of those who we have lost due to the color of their skin or their identity,” the statement continues.
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Perhaps the Funny Wine The Glue Holding This 2020 Shitshow Together Gift T-Shirt but in fact I love this most sophisticated and cinematic production to come out of quarantine is a modern rendition of Swan Lake—choreographed, rehearsed, and filmed in the bathrooms of some of the world’s most notable dancers. Conceived by interdisciplinary choreographer Corey Baker (who had the idea in his shower, no less) and commissioned by the BBC, the three-minute dance is set to Tchaikovsky’s exemplary score and opens with a moody scene featuring a white bathtub surrounded by flickering candles. Over the lip of the tub comes the elegant, lissome limbs of the first swan, played by Viktorina Kapitonova (Boston Ballet), and next from a tub filled with feathers (the innards of several down pillows sacrificed for the video) emerges Donnie Duncan Jr. (Nederlands Dans Theater). More dancers appear in colored bathwater, contorting their bodies like tortured swans, and then there’s Skylar Brandt (American Ballet Theatre), balletic even while underwater.