In March, as the gradual dawning of the extent to which we needed to shelter ourselves from the spread of CORONAVIRUS was hitting full force, cinemas, theaters, and all of Broadway shut down with optimistic prognoses of reopening by mid-April. Especially in response to the latter, I remember being shocked – even though I am not a frequent Broadway goer – and thinking well this is historic. Little did we know… Within a week or so of course it extended much further into the dance, arts, performing arts worlds and way beyond, and already financially challenged dancers, dance schools, dance companies, and dance festivals all over the world began to see their classes, gigs, seasons, and tours cancelled full stop, and their annual incomes reduced to pennies.
As usual, the ever resilient dance community rallied for themselves and for one another, raising money for individual artists, challenging funding organizations to do the same, and re-inventing ways to share dance both done live and for film. Choreographers and companies offered Zoom classes to raise money – both for those affected by the pandemic and for organizations in support of the long overdue public outcry against systemic racism. Savvy choreographers came up with initiatives to get dancers creating in the Zoom space, or doing socially distanced live performances, dance films, podcasts, etc. Dance Festivals like Jacob’s Pillow and American Dance Festival reorganized to have online celebrations also became fundraisers. We were (and still are) all left collectively wondering: Is there a future for anything performed live?
One such similar cancelled event was RED BETWEEN THE LINES—a would have been live, immersive performance at NY’s Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater. Six choreographers from Los Angeles and New York from within the contemporary and street dance worlds had been selected out of over one hundred, one of them being choreographer and movement director Zoe Rappaport. When that gig hit the skids as well, Rappaport reached out to each of the other choreographers and over a zoom meeting they mutually decided to not just do a work in response to the Pandemic, but to each create a one-minute condensed and self filmed version of their original intended work, informed by the quarantine. What emerged as a recurring theme in each of the works was the color red, perhaps Rappaport says, “because it’s the color of emergency, of alarm and of passion.”
Rappaport deftly edited it into a one minute whole that stands alone both as a film of the times, and as a promo for the original six, one minute works, all of which will be live-streamed on September 17th by the Social Distancing Festival. “What emerges is (the artists’) collective and art under quarantine – intrinsically woven into a tapestry and expression of our time – as well as a testament to the resilience of the dance and arts community as a whole.”
RED BETWEEN THE LINES as a one-minute film is conceived and edited by Zoe Rappaport. The live-stream event is Produced by Pizarts Global Dance Hub and features: HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness’ Movement Director Damani Pompey, LA- Based Movement Composer Darrel “Friidom” Dunn, Rising Lebanese Choreographer Dolly Sfeir, Legendary Artist Linda Mason, “The Flexing Ballerina” Martina ‘Android’ Heimann, and of course NYLA-based Movement Director & Choreographer Zoe Rappaport.
Watch the beautifully realized dance film of our times for RED BETWEEN THE LINES, below. And for further information and to see the six choreographers one-minute works, go to The Social Distancing Festival at Eventbrite.