The bustling city of New York has always been a hub for artistic expression and cultural events, and this week is no exception.
Dance enthusiasts from all walks of life are in for a treat as they have the opportunity to witness some of the world’s most talented dancers perform at a remarkable festival, completely free of charge.
This extraordinary event, known as the BAAND Together festival, was conceived during the height of the pandemic when the artistic directors of the five most prominent dance companies in New York came together to brainstorm ways to support their dancers and navigate the challenges of the unprecedented shutdown.
The festival made its debut in 2021, captivating audiences with its exceptional performances, and this year marks its third installment.
The BAAND Together festival is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the dance community, as it seeks to provide a platform for dancers to showcase their incredible talents and connect with audiences in a time when traditional performances were halted.
This festival not only serves as a celebration of the art form but also as a beacon of hope and unity during these challenging times.
What sets this festival apart is not only the exceptional quality of the performances, but also the unique setting in which they take place.
Under the vast expanse of the starry night sky, spectators have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty and grace of dance, free from the constraints of a traditional theater setting.
The open-air venue adds an ethereal touch to the experience, allowing the audience to feel an intimate connection with the performers and the art they create.
As the festival enters its third year, anticipation and excitement are at an all-time high. The organizers have curated a diverse lineup of performances, showcasing a wide range of dance styles and genres.
From classical ballet to contemporary and experimental pieces, there is something to captivate every dance aficionado.
The festival aims to not only entertain but also to educate and inspire, offering a comprehensive program that includes workshops, masterclasses, and discussions with industry professionals.
The BAAND Together festival serves as a reminder of the power of art to uplift and unite communities. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of the dance community, as they continue to overcome obstacles and adapt to new circumstances.
This free festival is a gift to the city of New York and its residents, providing an opportunity to experience the transformative power of dance firsthand.
So, if you find yourself in the vicinity of New York this week, do not miss the chance to witness this extraordinary celebration of movement and creativity.
The companies mentioned, namely Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and New York City Ballet, are undoubtedly among the world’s finest in the field of dance.
Their reputation and talent are recognized and celebrated internationally, and their contributions to the art form are immeasurable.
These companies serve as a testament to the immense diversity and richness of dance in New York City. Each one brings a unique style, perspective, and cultural influence to the stage, creating a vibrant tapestry of movement and expression.
From the innovative and boundary-pushing choreography of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the classical grace and precision of American Ballet Theatre, there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.
However, despite their undeniable excellence, these renowned dance institutions have not been immune to the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many other arts organizations, they have faced significant financial setbacks and uncertainties. The closure of theaters, canceled performances, and loss of revenue have had a profound impact on their operations and sustainability.
Nevertheless, as the worst of the pandemic begins to recede, these companies emerge as beacons of hope and resilience.
They are determined to overcome the obstacles they face and continue to bring the joy and beauty of dance to audiences worldwide.
Their commitment to their craft and their unwavering dedication to their artists and staff are truly commendable.
It is crucial for us, as supporters of the arts, to recognize the significance of these dance companies and the vital role they play in our cultural landscape.
They not only provide employment and artistic opportunities for countless individuals but also contribute to the cultural fabric of New York City.
Their performances inspire, educate, and entertain, fostering a sense of unity and appreciation for the arts among diverse communities.
In these challenging times, it is imperative that we come together to ensure the survival and prosperity of these remarkable dance companies.
By supporting them financially, attending their performances, and spreading the word about their invaluable contributions, we can help safeguard the future of dance in New York City and beyond.
In conclusion, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and New York City Ballet are shining examples of excellence in the world of dance.
They remind us of the diversity and breadth of talent that exists in New York City, even as they navigate the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Let us rally behind these exceptional institutions and celebrate the power of dance to uplift, inspire, and unite us all.
“It was our best kept secret the first year, and now people are onto the idea — it’s amazing that you can see these five dance companies coming together on one night, and really get a taste of the best of the city,” she said in an interview.
During an interview, she expressed her awe at the fact that five dance companies could unite on a single night, giving the audience a remarkable experience that showcases the finest talents the city has to offer.
She emphasized that this collaboration was initially a well-guarded secret, but now it has gained widespread attention.
The grand opening night took place outdoors at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, attracting a full house with a capacity crowd of 2,500 eagerly awaiting the spectacle.
The program featured a curated selection, with each dance company presenting one piece, demonstrating their unique artistic styles and contributions.
Additionally, a newly commissioned dance by renowned choreographer Pedro Ruiz was showcased, adding to the excitement of the evening. This particular piece was a romantic duet, inspired by the vibrant energy of New York City.
The atmosphere was electric as the audience eagerly anticipated the unfolding of this unprecedented collaboration. The fusion of various dance companies on one stage created a remarkable opportunity for spectators to witness the diverse talents and artistic expressions that thrive within the city.
It was a true celebration of the city’s vibrant dance scene, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry that New York has to offer.
The success of this opening night was not only reflected in the immense turnout but also in the overwhelming response from the audience.
The evening proved to be a testament to the power of collaboration and the ability of dance to unite people from different backgrounds and artistic disciplines.
As the night came to a close, the audience left with a renewed appreciation for the city’s thriving dance community.
It was an evening that showcased the best of the best, leaving people in awe of the immense talent and creativity that resides within the dance companies of New York City.
The evening kicked off with a mesmerizing performance by Ballet Hispanico, featuring their captivating piece “Linea Recta” (Straight Line), skillfully choreographed by the talented Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.
This particular performance showcased the company’s remarkable ability to seamlessly blend the elegance of ballet with the fiery passion of flamenco, resulting in a truly unique and physically demanding showcase.
One dancer who truly stood out was Amanda del Valle, who graced the stage in a stunning ruby-red costume.
Her presence was simply captivating, as she effortlessly commanded the attention of the audience with her impeccable technique and fierce stage presence.
The flamenco-style ruffled train that adorned her ensemble only added to the allure of her performance, creating a visually striking image that perfectly complemented her powerful movements.
As del Valle moved across the stage, her every step exuded confidence and grace, perfectly capturing the essence of both ballet and flamenco.
Her movements were fluid and precise, showcasing her exceptional skill and years of training. It was evident that she had mastered the art of seamlessly transitioning between these two distinct dance forms, effortlessly fusing their different styles into a seamless whole.
The combination of Ballet Hispanico’s collective strengths, Ochoa’s masterful choreography, and del Valle’s exceptional talent resulted in a performance that left a lasting impression on the audience.
The fusion of ballet and flamenco proved to be a winning combination, creating a dynamic and visually stunning experience that showcased the company’s versatility and artistic prowess.
Overall, the evening commenced on a high note with Ballet Hispanico’s performance of “Linea Recta,” a remarkable display of the company’s ability to seamlessly blend ballet and flamenco.
Amanda del Valle’s standout performance, highlighted by her striking ruby-red costume and flamenco-style ruffled train, added an extra layer of excitement and elegance to the already captivating piece.
It was a truly unforgettable start to an evening filled with awe-inspiring dance performances.
American Ballet Theatre presented “Other Dances,” a classic piece by Jerome Robbins, originally performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova, and set to Chopin mazurkas and a waltz.
The rising star of ABT, Aran Bell, captured Baryshnikov’s captivating intensity, while the veteran ballerina Gillian Murphy brought a sense of lightness and whimsy to the performance.
Following this, the Dance Theatre of Harlem showcased a crowd-pleasing piece titled “Nyman String Quartet No. 2,” choreographed by Robert Garland.
This highly athletic and infectiously joyous dance featured a fusion of different styles, executed with lightning-fast precision by five male and five female dancers.
It is worth noting that the casts for all the performances change throughout the week, adding an element of variety to the experience.
Then came Ruiz’s new “Pas de O’Farrill,” a duet paying tribute to the music of Latin jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, while infusing a Latin touch into the traditional form of classical ballet. In an interview, Ruiz described it as a celebration of the vibrant energy of everyday life in New York City, with a jazzy essence.
Additionally, he mentioned that love plays a significant role in the piece. The cast for Tuesday’s performance included Alexa Maxwell from NYCB and Antonio Cangiano from Ballet Hispanico.
The Ailey troupe, renowned for their captivating performances at New York City Center every winter, presented an excerpt from “Dancing Spirit.” This piece serves as a homage to the former star dancer and leader of the company, Judith Jamison, whose autobiography shares the same title.
Choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, the dance is accompanied by music from Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, and War. Dancers adorned in elegant white attire, a signature look for Jamison, beautifully portray the essence of the piece.
The evening concluded with a thrilling performance of “The Times Are Racing” by Justin Peck, an acclaimed choreographer.
This particular ballet is known for its unique style of incorporating sneakers instead of traditional pointe shoes, giving it a contemporary and energetic feel. Peck’s intricate patterns of movement captivated the audience, showcasing his artistic brilliance.
What made this performance even more special was the collaboration with fashion designer Humberto Leon, who contributed streetwear elements to the costumes.
Among these were a few raincoats, which added a touch of urban flair to the dancers’ attire. Luckily, the rain that had threatened to disrupt the event earlier in the evening had subsided, allowing for a cool and starry atmosphere both on and offstage.
It is worth mentioning that this performance was just a part of a larger festival that will run until July 29. With a wide range of artistic expressions and talented performers, the festival promises to continue captivating audiences with its diverse and engaging program.