By Erica Gonzalez
17 December 2020
Ballerina Melanie Hamrick wanted to do something to help the dance community months into a pandemic that put many of them out of work. “I hate seeing my friends and colleagues not getting to dance,” she tells BAZAAR.com. After lockdowns and social distancing measures were introduced this year, live performances went on hiatus. Prestigious companies like the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre had to close for the season. But Hamrick also thought about the audience members who wouldn’t be able to watch their favorite performances in person, especially during the holidays. “How can we also help them?” she thought.
The former ABT ballerina teamed up with ABT principal dancer Christine Shevchenko and choreographer Joanna DeFelice to produce a unique performance during the COVID-19 pandemic that gave dancers a chance to work while adhering to health and safety guidelines. Through their new production company, Live Arts Global, they created A Night at the Ballet, which features dancers from a variety of troupes: ABT, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Dance Theater of Harlem, and even Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia.
The one-hour streaming event goes live on YouTube on Live Arts Global’s channel starting at 7 p.m. ET on December 17, and lasts through December 20. The set will include pieces from The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, and more. And it’s completely free to watch; though, they’re asking for donations to benefit the performers and crew of the production.
While many dance companies are already showing virtual online performances to make up for their closed seasons, A Night at the Ballet was produced entirely during the coronavirus era rather than using footage from older performances. But that’s where the challenge came in: How does one do that safely?
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