Here are some movies, dance works, and documentaries that our contributors think everyone needs to see in 2021.
“Revel in Your Body”
Choreographed by Alice Sheppard, ”Revel in Your Body” is a joyful look at the power and possibility of two wheelchaired dancers. The film feels as much a celebration of being outdoors as it is a celebration of the body.
“Paris is Burning”
(Available on Amazon Prime)
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, “Paris is Burning” is a must watch for a complete dance history. The documentary chronicles the vogueing scene in late 1980s Harlem, explaining the way many common dance trends and slang words came into the common vernacular.
(Available on Netflix)
Created in 2019, ANIMA is a much like a “visual album” by Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Choreographed by visual master choreographer Damien Jalet, the 15-minute film stars Yorke in a surreal dance trip through London.
“Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker”
(Available on Netflix)
This is a two-parter. Debbie Allen’s reimagined “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” has become as much a holiday tradition as the Nutcracker itself. Watch this Netflix documentary to get a window into her work and her reasoning for reinventing this holiday classic. THEN watch “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker!” Hopefully next Holiday season will allow for an in-person viewing but for now a past performance of “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” is available for streaming through Xfinity.
(Available on Marquee TV)
This world-famous dance-theater work by Crystal Pite’s Kidd Pivot has been described as the “best dance show of the 21st Century,” which is saying a lot when you consider that we have 79 years left to go. Featuring many familiar faces like Cindy Salgado, Jermaine Spivey, and Bryan Arias, the work will not disappoint you. Marquee TV is offering a free trial period and has many other works available for streaming. A great investment for a dance studio!
“Lake of RED”
“Lake of RED” is a multidisciplinary performance by 2020 Guggenheim Fellow Shamel Pitts. Described as a “poetic audiovisual performance,” the work blurs the lines between the “then” and “now” and will certainly stun audiences upon its post-COVID premiere.
Created by industry titan Ebony Williams, “Elemental Allegory” perfectly captures the complexity of emotions many are feeling in today’s climate. The powerful message from pain to healing to joy meshes beautifully with Williams and friends’ mesmerizing dancing. A must-watch.
Latcho Drom, translating to “Safe Journey” in English, is a 1993 film of a journey from India to Spain with stops along the way. Primarily comprised of scored music with elements of the story told largely through dance, “Latcho Drom” is certainly worth checking out.
“Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance”
This documentary describes itself as a “cinematic exploration of this art form, paying homage to its lineage, celebrating its many re-interpretations.” “Uprooted” interviews pioneers and diehard fans of the form. Reviews call it a timely and informative celebration of dance. It will surely become an important pillar of dance history education.
Whatever Speaks to You
The fact of the matter is that there was not one thing that inspired us to become dancers, that made us fall in love with the form. These recommendations have spoken to us, but our biggest recommendation is to watch what speaks to you. Watch your friends’ work, support the people who inspire you.