Leimay's "Correspondences"  ©Laura Brichta

To Look For in 2021

It’s no secret that the past year has been a challenge. As we look toward the year ahead, the contributors of Dancegeist see a bright future for those who aren’t afraid to bring unbridled joy, inform their audiences, and venture into uncharted waters. Here are our favorite suggestions of who to look out for in 2021.

While not an actual union, The Dance Union Podcast (headed by J. Bouey, Melanie Greene, Troy Ogilvie, Christine C. Wyatt, and Jeremy Guyton) has taken the mantle of holding the important conversations our industry needs to have. Thousands tuned into their Town Hall for Collective Action in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and they continue to raise funds for dancers’ relief. Dance has always been communal and this team of artists walks that walk. In their own words, “The Dance Union podcast was born from the need to unify and amplify marginalized voices within the United States dance communities.” They were nominated by most of our contributors and we look forward to watching them continue to make waves in 2021.

Christian Burse

@christian_burse

Still in high school, Christian Burse is a powerhouse of movement confidence, technical veracity, and mind-bending strength and control. Based in Texas, she receives accolade after accolade for her “wise beyond her years” danceability. Check her out on Instagram and you’ll understand why we can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for her.

A person stands naked in a large plexiglass box lit from above. She has a gas mask on her face and stands profile. The box is a quarter filled with what appears to be sand.

Still from Dani Scaringe's "Under the Table"

Tyrik Patterson photographed by Wes Klain

Founded in 2015 in Puerto Rico by Beatriz Irizarry, Cristina Lugo, and Marili “Mim” Pizarro, La Trinchera Danza straddles the line between realism and surreality. At times, this femme-led group is finding freedom in nature in their dance-theatre piece, “Anoxia.” At other times, they are contorting their bodies into otherworldly shapes while wrapped in duct tape in “CRUDAS.” It’s safe to say that La Trinchera’s clarity of voice and strength in commitment will carry them to new heights in 2021.

Founded by Ximena Ganica and Shige Moriya, this Brooklyn-based arts organization is truly a community hub—and its associated ensemble, LEIMAY Ensemble, is a trailblazing multi-media performance company. Their home studio CAVE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn offers training programs, studio residencies, and a sense of community to all who associate with it. The collaborative works of Ximena & Shige transcend categorization and embody the ideals of art of the future. Just take it from Meredith Monk, who has called their work “visually stunning and kinetically powerful.” LEIMAY is a Japanese term symbolizing the transition from one era to the other and we look forward to LIEMAY continuing to embody the true meaning of their name in 2021.

Based in Los Angeles, Dani Scaringe is another uncategorizable artist to watch. Her mind-bending, surrealistic Movement Animations make you wonder if you are watching a dance, a cartoon, or something heretofore unmade. To sum her up in a collection of words: unafraid, creative, and unique. Her production skills are only matched by her movement ability. The two combine to create an artist with an endless set of tools to take over the world in 2021.

A choreographer, filmmaker, and educator, this Milwaukee-born artist creates socially conscious work that combines the realism of her lived experiences with the theatrics that only a talented filmmaker could embody. Many of her live choreographic works include her film work, used a beautifully shot backdrop or intro for her energetic, vibrant, and expressive movement. With her wealth of skills to draw from, we encourage everyone to keep an eye on Jade Charon in the new year.

This New York City-based dance-theater collective uses its experimental dance performances to organize communities for gender and racial justice. Led by industry trailblazer Sydnie Lee Moses, the group addresses issues from unsolicited verbal harassment from men to the economic practices of the dance world. The company also educates in the more traditional sense through lecture demonstrations, workshops, and professional development. We encourage everyone to take the time to listen to the knowledge they have shared and will continue to share in 2021.

Not afraid to find the fullest of the full body movement, Tyrik Patterson caught our eye for creating the perfect balance between movement that hits hard and expresses real joy. Many of his concept videos use video trickery to keep the viewer guessing how many people are involved in the production at any one time. Look for Tyrik to be choreographing the tour of your favorite artist in the near future.

Jamaii Melvin

@jamaii_melvin

This Juilliard student wows with his unpredictable transitions, endless grace, and unparalleled control. Originally from Miami, Florida, Jamaii has a bright future ahead of him and is sure to take the dance world by storm. He is the sort of dancer that doesn’t need anything other than his dancing body and the space to move it in order to create profound art.

Dani Scaringe, a white woman with light hair in a ponytail screams to the side. She is in black and white with white ripples radiates away from her head.

Les Ballet Afrik

@lesballetafrik

No one group or person better embodies the spirit we foresee in the new year more than Les Ballet Afrik. Under the direction of Omari Wiles, Les Ballet Afrik states their mission is “to represent styles from Africa and the U.S., with an emphasis on West African, Afrobeat, House & vogue dance styles.” Their recent commission from the Guggenheim, “New York is Burning,” celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Paris is Burning” by serving up joy and energy with a side of history. Keep them on your radar for 2021.

Still from Les Ballet Afrik's "New York is Burning"

A group of dancers dancing outside the fountain at Lincoln Center. They are spread out and walking in different directions with their arms above their heads.