While there are infinite ways for a group of dancers to occupy the stage, there’s a palpable power in sheer numbers. So whether they’re dancing in unison, in counterpoint, or with some other intention in mind, these dancers are clearly in full control of the space that they occupy.
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
New Conversations, 2018
With Arturo O’Farrill and Resist playing live, New Conversations provided a rousing close to a mixed repertory program. In this section of the work, a world premiere, notice how the dancers are performing in unison even while each of their costumes is subtly different from the others.
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Sones Jalicienses, 2016
A tribute to the state of Jalisco (which happens to be the birthplace of both mariachi music and tequila), this folkloric work offers an opportunity for the entire company to share some of Mexico’s dance and music traditions. The group is usually presented as six couples, but sometimes separated into six women and six men.
Susan Marshall & Company
The Most Dangerous Room in the House, 1998
As with the Ronald K. Brown work, this is another dance that was developed during a residency at Jacob’s Pillow. Here the groupings among these seven dancers are constantly shifting, with first one and then another individual dancer separated from the bunch.
Parsons Dance Company
Sleep Study, 1995
The humorous intentions of this piece are rewarded by the audience’s audible laughter, prompted by all-too-familiar experiences of tossing and turning. And watch how this sextet of pajama-clad dancers breaks into twos and threes at times.
El cielo está enladrillado, 1992
Similar to the Susan Marshall clip, these dancers are all very intent on accomplishing a common goal—and yet the individual members of the group are often engaged in their own activities.
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder, 1990
It was a revolutionary idea to depict a chain gang on the concert dance stage when Donald McKayle created this iconic work in 1959, and it still packs a punch—even in this nearly 30-year old video clip.
Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians
In this particular section of Magnetic, Laura Dean divides her group into two unequal parts—a trio of soloists and a row of seven backup dancers, with unison movement for each subgroup.
The Washington Ballet
Double Contrasts, 1980
From the title to the costuming, it’s clear that choreographer Choo-San Goh constructed this ballet with two groups in mind—each consisting of four women and a male-female couple.
Center Ballet of Buffalo
Les Biches, 1969
These extremely rare and only recently rediscovered film fragments capture a historic reconstruction of a work originally created in 1924 by Bronislava Nijinska, sister of the legendary Nijinsky. The set leaves little room for the group sections seen here.
San Francisco Ballet
Concerto Barocco, 1956
The geometry of George Balanchine’s group choreography is always a marvel to behold. And John Lindquist’s full-color image at the end of this clip offers a closer look at the more elaborate costumes that were used before Balanchine stripped the dancers down to black-and-white basics.
Watch how Jerome Robbins deftly shifts between solo turns and groups of two or three dancers, with members of the group watching and reacting from the edges of the stage even when they’re not actively dancing. And again, stay tuned for John Lindquist’s dazzling color image at the end—and then rewatch the black-and-white footage while using your imagination!
Reggie Wilson / Fist & Heel Performance Group, Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company featuring Sara Mearns, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Bill Irwin + 12 others
Ted Shawn's Men Dancers
Finale from The New World, 1936
This is one of Shawn’s trademark “music visualizations,” performed only twice, though both times with live music (the Philadelphia Orchestra, no less) but fortunately filmed so that we can still see how closely Shawn coordinated his movement with the music.