(From left) Roki Lionel Tanaka, Venance Gwladys, and Gee, aka Lil Sniper, in "Alone Together" (courtesy Cubique)

Watch Three Dancers Grapple with Quarantine Isolation Through Movement

Dancing alone at home during quarantine can make you feel trapped, in multiple senses. You're probably in a small space, unable to use your full range of movement; you might also feel creatively stymied, unable to draw inspiration from the more varied experiences of non-quarantine life.

This video from Cubique, a collective that creates art addressing socially relevant topics, gets inside those kinds of feelings. "Alone Together" features three dancers based across Europe: Roki Lionel Tanaka, in Germany; Venance Gwladys, in Switzerland; and Gee, aka Lil Sniper, in France. Each performs self-choreographed movement from inside a small cube-shaped space, delineated by strings of lights. They express frustration and despair with the limitations imposed by isolation—but also, ultimately, hopefulness about the future.

As explained in the making-of video, this project originally had a different focus: Cubique wanted to film dancers performing inside cube-shaped frames set in picturesque landscapes. After the pandemic made that impossible, the creative team rethought the concept, and chose to make quarantine itself the subject.

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Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

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Photo by Jayme Thornton

Dear Katie: What Can I Do to Get More Flexible?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a strong dancer, but I don't have a lot of flexibility. I stretch every day, but it feels like I'm getting nowhere. What can I do to get more flexible?


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