Streaming soon from New York: ABT’s Moving Stories and four from the Joyce Theater

David Mead

Following on from news of New York City Ballet’s Digital Fall Season, which opens on September 28, comes details of American Ballet Theatre’s Moving Stories season of short dance films, and the opening films of the Joyce Theater’s fall season.

Moving Stories: an ABT film festival of short films created by dancers

Celebrating the creativity of the company’s dancers, even in these difficult times, American Ballet Theatre is to present Moving Stories: An ABT Film Festival on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 from 7:00pm (New York).

Moving Stories features eight short films created by ABT artists. They vary from three to eleven minutes in length, and will be available for viewing on ABT’s YouTube Channel. Four films will premiere each evening, followed by roundtable conversations with the filmmakers. The hour-long programs are to be hosted by ABT principal dancer Misty Copeland and Emmy Award-winning producer Leyla Fayyaz.

Moving Stories from American Ballet TheatrePhoto courtesy American Ballet Theatre
Moving Stories from American Ballet Theatre
Photo courtesy American Ballet Theatre

Filmmakers contributing to what is the company’s first-ever film festival include current ABT dancers Claire Davison (Dans Tes Rêve), Zhong-Jing Fang (Perception), Erica Lall (The Thread of Navigation), Duncan Lyle (Alone Together), Jose Sebastian (Sillage), Eric Tamm (Le Tré Cortegé), Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside (Swan Lake), and former ABT dancer Alexandre Hammoudi (Transonata). All the films were created in May and June 2020 following strict COVID-19 health and safety precautions.

“Moving Stories is a testament to the creativity and innovation of ABT’s dancers,” said ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie. “While the Company cannot deliver epic stories on majestic stages, ABT’s dancers are telling intimate stories on screens large and small. Moving Stories is a tribute to the ‘Theatre’ aspect of our Company name. We look forward to sharing this exciting new content with the world.”

For more details and to watch the trailer, visit

The Joyce Theater Fall 2020

Heading downtown to Chelsea, the Joyce Theater has announced the four companies that will kick off its Fall 2020 season of streaming performances. The films will all be available from Tuesday, September 22 at 5pm (New York; 10pm UK) to Monday, October 19, free through The Joyce’s online platform, JoyceStream, where more details are also available.

Contra-Tiempo in She Who Frida, Mami & Me Photo Gennia Cui
Contra-Tiempo in She Who Frida, Mami & Me
Photo Gennia Cui

Los Angeles-based dance company Contra-Tiempo, whose work is rooted in salsa and Afro-Cuban while also drawing on hip-hop, urban, and contemporary dance-theatre, will present its 2016 work, She Who: Frida, Mami & Me, choreographed by Marjani Forte-Saunders, which explores the lives and mythology of Mexican visual artist Frida Kahlo and Nigerian Deity Mami Wata. Their stories, timeless and provocative, spurred African American choreographer Forte-Saunders and the dancers into a multicultural dialogue that touches on protest, feminism, resilience, and identity.

She-Who: Frida, Mami & Me runs approximately 25 minutes. Watch the trailer here.

Described as “A work of stirring resilience and reconciliation,” Indumba (which means ‘African healing hut’) by Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, was originally created by choreographer Fana Tshabalala to illuminate the perpetual impact of unresolved apartheid politics in his native South Africa.

The Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is rooted in traditions of American and African-American dance and storytelling. Tshabalala, artistic director of Broken Borders Arts Project in Johannesburg, spent three weeks in residence with the company in July 2017 to adapt the work for an American audience.

Indumba runs approximately 50 minutes. Watch the trailer here.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in IndumbaPhoto Ken Carl
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Indumba
Photo Ken Carl

Danielle Agami founded Los Angeles-based Ate-9 Dance Company following eight years working under Ohad Naharin, Batsheva Dance Company’s founder and house choreographer, perfecting his trademark Gaga style of movement. Her 2017 hour-long piece, Calling Glenn, a collaboration with Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche, is described as “a true collaboration of sound and movement inspired by life’s exhausting common rituals and desires…filled with beautiful moments of honesty and insight.”

London-based hip-hop collective Far From The Norm offer not one but four films, including a documentary about artistic director Botis Seva. Can’t Kill Us All is particularly topical as it unravels one man’s mental unrest as he navigates the turbulence of dealing with two global pandemics. Equally of the moment, B.R.E.A.T.H.E. is a response to the countless deaths of Black people at the hands of the police, while Reach, by director Billy Boyd Cape, explores themes of love, abandonment, and fatherhood. The documentary, Botis Seva: Air features an exclusive, rare solo dance performance by Seva.

Trailers for all Far From The Norm’s films can be watch on the Joyce Theater’s YouTube channel.

Joyce Theater executive director Linda Shelton says, “We embark on our 38th season six months after The Joyce and other NYC performing arts venues were shut down to control the spread of Covid-19. Although we are still unable to present live, in-person performances in our beloved Chelsea home, we are thrilled to connect and share with audiences around the world these powerful works by four companies who share our passion for rich and inspiring international dance.”

Additional programming for autumn and winter 2020 will be announced soon. For more information, visit