NYCB's Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara in SPAC Reimagined: Ballet Video #1

Film still via SPAC Reimagined, Courtesy kw creative

What to Watch: NYCB Dancers Explore the Outdoors in This Site-Specific Film Series

For the past three years, New York City Ballet dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker have created a series of site-specific dance films promoting the company's annual summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Although this summer's installment looks different due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kikta and Walker continue the tradition into its fourth year with SPAC Reimagined.

With quarantine restrictions in place and the company's SPAC residency cancelled due to the onset of COVID-19, Kikta and Walker decided to expand the series and shift its focus to the effects of the pandemic on the arts industry. As Walker describes, they hope to use the series to provide "a small offering of what could have been" for audiences who had been looking forward to seeing this summer's performances. The first of the five videos was released today, July 14, in recognition of what would have been NYCB's opening night at SPAC.


Each of this year's videos was filmed solely within the SPAC grounds, and showcases the lush acreage surrounding the gorgeous outdoor amphitheater. This departs from the past few years, where we've seen dancers frolicking through local hotels, whirling around industrial buildings, and plunging into pools around Saratoga. SPAC Reimagined incorporates original choreography from Kikta, Walker and their NYCB colleagues Devin Alberda and Christina Clark, and integrates new recorded performances from both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber of Music Society of Lincoln Center. As a result, the videos themselves will be longer, ranging three to four minutes each to encompass a full movement of music.

In addition to Kikta, Walker and Alberda, the series features NYCB dancers Uma Deming, Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara and Anthony Huxley. To ensure safety, the group quarantined together in Saratoga for two weeks prior to filming. To avoid public transportation, casting was limited to dancers who were already in the New York area, and each participant was tested for COVID-19 before the project began.

When asked about her hopes for the series, Kikta explains, "We want to be able to uplift the communities that are so loyal to the arts without undermining the tragedy that this is. What we're dealing with is finding the line to express the time that we're in." The duo encourages viewers to tune into the fifth and final video on July 25th for a full scope of the project's message.

Stay tuned for the next four videos, released July 16, 21, 23 and 25. They'll be available on all SPAC media channels, the NYCB Facebook page, and Kikta and Walker's shared Instagram page @kw_creative.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bill Cooper, Courtesy The Royal Opera House

Pro Pointe Shoe Hacks from Royal Ballet Principal Yasmine Naghdi

Did you know that Royal Ballet principal Yasmine Naghdi's pointe shoes are actually made up of two different models, combined? Below, watch pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee interview Naghdi on all of her pointe shoe hacks, from her anti-slipping tricks to her darning technique.

Syvert Lorenz Garcia in Trey McIntyre's Who Am I Here? Courtesy McIntyre

The Trey McIntyre Project Is Back—And Completely Reimagined

By Nancy Wozny For Dance Magazine

Six years after shuttering his popular dance troupe Trey McIntyre Project, its eponymous founder is relaunching the company as a conduit for digital dance films, with a project called FLTPK. "It's not a company of dancers," McIntyre insists. "It's a community of artists."

In March, McIntyre was ready to premiere his David Bowie ballet Pretty Things, his first new work for Houston Ballet in nearly two decades, when the city shut down. With COVID-19 infections in the New York City area spiking, he decided to stay put.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks