The New York City Ballet was getting ready for its spring season when social-distancing and quarantine practices became necessary for the health and safety of the entire world. Today, they shared some of the footage that was going to serve as part of their spring promotions, and even though they could have never planned for it, they ended up with a short performance that is strikingly relevant.
The uncut shot of Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring performing an excerpt from Christopher Wheeldon’s “This Bitter Earth” shows the two dancers on a dark stage in muted costumes. As the music plays in the background, the connection between the struggling dancers is a glimpse into the experiences of people all over the world, and the song captures the togetherness that has come out of a worldwide tragedy.
“As we worked with the footage in the days following the shoot and as the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold in NYC, it struck a chord with many of us,” NYCB said in a Facebook post. Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan said, “Words cannot fully capture the beauty or essence of this moving pas de deux, but for me it speaks to our times. It honors where we have come from and the challenges we face moving forward into the unknown. The choreography inspires reflection from both its performers and audience and I hope, for you, conveys a peaceful sense of hope for the future.”
We can hardly look away from this video, but we can’t help getting emotional watching it either! “And this bitter earth,” Dinah Washington sings as the dancers embrace and fade to black. “May not, oh be so bitter after all.”