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July 25 2020
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For Liquidus, a new solo series that premiered July 25, Felipe Escalante trained his dancers to perform within the confines of their apartments. Here, Escalante is pictured during a Liquidus rehearsal.

Last winter, Tabula Rasa Dance Theater—the fledgling Manhattan-based contemporary-dance company—was rehearsing for its third season when the coronavirus lockdown hit. An ambitious spring program, Border of Lights, was canceled, the company lost crucial revenue, and 9 out of 11 dancers caught the virus.

Felipe Escalante, T.R.D.T.’s founder and artistic director, was distressed, he says, not only by the way “corona had pushed the performing arts to the precipice” but by how the pandemic had left his dancers “unemployed, alone, and hopeless.” Overcoming his own feelings of isolation and inertia, Escalante developed an inventive new solo series, Liquidus, choreographed expressly for the confining conditions of sheltering in place, while also taking them on as subject matter. “The title refers to the fluidity of the dancer’s body,” Escalante explains, “and its capacity to drip, slide, shape-shift, and dissolve.”

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