By Dale King
Performance stages throughout South Florida that would normally host all sorts of dance programs this time of year are silent, dark and vacant. Producers have dismissed dancers, sent staff home and barred patrons from entry as COVID-19 has rudely slammed the door on art forms of all genres.
While most dance companies have replaced live shows with online performances and programs presented on Zoom and other electronic platforms, nearly all hope to fill those stages with terpsichore of all sorts in the new year.
In fact, Mark Alexander, executive director of theaters at Palm Beach State College, has just solidified a four-performance schedule that runs from January to March. Also, The Miami City Ballet is planning to stage George Balanchine’s version of The Nutcracker at an outdoor stage in Doral. The health and safety of performers and audience are getting as much attention as the show itself, the dance moves and staging.
Other venues have generally canceled all before-your-eyes productions through the end of the year. As a result, the Miami City Ballet has turned what would be its 35th anniversary season into “a love letter to the community,” said public relations director Amber Dorsky. “We are looking forward to sharing, in the coming months, a reimagined season of new digital works, outdoor performances and online premieres of some of the company’s most memorable performances.”
Dorsky said 14 live performances of The Nutcracker will be presented at a park in downtown Doral starting Dec. 18. “Baptist Health will conduct daily COVID testing to ensure safety.” Seating will be arranged in 150 “pods” with room for up to four people in each. All must wear masks.
She said the shows will be largely live, but larger ensembles will be pre-recorded and shown on LED screens. The cast includes more than 100 performers.
For more information, visit the troupe’s website at miamicityballet.org.
Alexander said the 2021 season at Palm Beach State will offer the following at the Duncan Theatre on the Lake Worth Beach campus:
• Parsons Dance, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15 and 16, 8 p.m. Parsons Dance is a contemporary American group renowned for its athletic ensemble work. It has toured more than 445 cities and 30 countries on five continents.
• The TL Collective, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5 and 6, 8 p.m. It was founded by choreographer/dancer Micaela Taylor.
• Pilobolus, the Big Five-Oh, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 & 27, 8 p.m. To celebrate its 50 years in the dance business, the BIG FIVE-OH! tour will bring to audiences a mix of its shape-shifting signature piece.
• Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, 8 p.m. Founded in 2016 by former Miami City Ballet principal dancers and founding artistic directors, Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg, the company offers audiences a fresh view of contemporary ballet.
Post-performance “talk-backs” follow each presentation. Tickets are $45. Buy the entire series for $150. Call 561-868-3309 or visit the Duncan Theatre website.
Boca Ballet Theatre in Boca Raton will celebrate the holiday season this year with a professional video production of The Nutcracker. The show is scheduled to be recorded Dec. 12 and an encore presentation is set to stream Dec. 13. Details on how to reserve a digital seat will be announced.
BBT expects to go live in May when its dance troupe presents Swan Lake on Mother’s Day weekend 2021. The ballet theater plans to cap off its summer intensive program next year with a mixed repertory concert called Resurgence. This mixed-dance show includes a blend of classical, neoclassical and contemporary works and will feature international guest artists.
For more information, call the BBT office at 561-995-0709 or visit bocaballet.org.
Ballet Palm Beach, Colleen Smith’s school and troupe in Palm Beach Gardens, has scheduled only classes for its young dancers, and no performances as of late October. It had been planning to present Prokofiev’s Cinderella as its first production of the season.
“COVID-19 has really impacted all of us, in the most difficult ways,” Smith said in a July Facebook video. “Arts organizations are struggling to stay afloat. Ballet Palm Beach, as your local ballet company, has had tremendous success in the past year.
“But we got stopped in our tracks,” Smith said in the video, which introduced the Ballet 25 Challenge, which calls on dance fans to contribute $25 to keep the company going.
More details are available at the company website, balletpalmbeach.org, or by calling 561-630-8325.
The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton has canceled its winter program this season. Next on the list is a spring performance May 21 at 7:30 p.m. and May 22 and 23 at 3 p.m. at the Countess de Hoernle Theatre, 5100 Jog Road in Boca Raton. It will be a collection of classical and contemporary ballets showcasing members of the 2020 graduating class.
Call 561-999-8038, go to harid.edu or visit the HARID office at 2285 Potomac Road, Boca Raton.
The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach has also scheduled some dance concerts that as of Nov. 1 had not been canceled or postponed. The Philadelphia-based modern dance troupe Philadanco, which focuses on African-American traditions in dance, comes to the Rinker Playhouse at the Kravis for a three-day stay from Feb. 23-25.
The New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet, which says it wants to “bring unity to the world one dance at a time,” presents a program called Love Rocks on March 6. The show, which celebrates human diversity, is set to the music of Beethoven and Lenny Kravitz. The tap company Dorrance Dance is on hand April 28 for a show called Myelination, with music by Donovan Dorrance and Gregory Richardson. The troupe, founded by Michelle Dorrance, has reinvented tap for today’s modern dance audiences.