As New York City’s arts and culture scene rapidly shuttered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, dancers from across the city came together to form the grassroots collective Dance Rising NYC in response.

As a way to advocate for and affirm the importance of dance, the collective held ‘dance-outs’ in the fall, where more than 300 dancers across the five boroughs simultaneously took to parks, streets and rooftops to dance and call attention to the impact on the sector.

Dance Rising NYC. Photo: Supplied.

Dance Rising collected video recordings from the dance-outs, that included individual artists and established companies like Limon, Ballet Hispánico, Flamenco Vivo, Trisha Brown, Heidi Latsky Dance, The Bang Group, New York Theatre Ballet, Kinesis Project dance theatre, Renegade Performance Group and Movement of the People. 

Now, Dance Rising is sharing the compilation videos, Video Tour (Still Dancing), across the five boroughs through large-scale public projections to mark the year anniversary of the cultural shutdown.

Dance Rising NYC. Photo: Supplied.

Dance Rising founding member Melissa Riker, director of Kinesis Project dance theatre, said as a dance artist living through a “mismanaged pandemic, struggling to support my own company, I am acutely aware of the damage to our field.”

“Choreographers and dancers cannot train, teach, create, or perform in person – a year into the pandemic, they are still largely dancing in their living rooms on zoom,” she said.

“Dance Rising is an emergency call to action; a way to create a multi-faceted dialogue that threads advocacy and visibility for dance into the streets of New York City.”

Dance Rising NYC. Photo: Supplied.

Video Tour (Still Dancing) was a tribute to quarantine and the industry’s tenacity in finding ways to insist dance was a vital performing art — one that shaped NYC’s identity as a cultural center, Riker said.

Dance Rising has teamed up with more than 20 cultural organizations across the five boroughs to display Video Tour (Still Dancing) videos in venue lobbies, windows, and online from March 13-21.

In Brooklyn, the projections will be on show at Actors Fund Theatre & Brooklyn Ballet, BAX, BRIC, LEIMAY and Mark Morris Dance Group.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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