By Alex Marshall
19 August 2020
For the past three weeks, the Mariinsky Ballet, one of Russia’s most renowned companies, led the dance world in showing how ballet could return to the stage.
It hosted galas at its St. Petersburg theaters, featuring solos and duets performed by dancers who had undergone weekly tests for coronavirus.
More ambitiously, it had begun staging full-length ballets, with a run of the Romantic classic “La Sylphide.” Audience members were provided with masks and gloves, and seating was distanced, with an empty space between each viewer.
Then, on Aug. 13, the performances stopped. In a development that will concern other dance companies hoping to return to the stage, the Mariinsky Ballet has suspended all performances, classes and rehearsals, a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. (The Mariinsky’s opera and orchestral programs continue uninterrupted, the statement added.)
She did not answer questions about the reason for that suspension. But on Monday, Interfax, the Russian news service, reported that about 30 people in the company had contracted the coronavirus. Xander Parish, a British dancer who is a principal soloist with the Mariinsky, confirmed in a telephone interview that there had been an outbreak.
“They’ve tried really hard to be safe,” he said. “It’s not like our rehearsals have been badly organized or anything.”
Read the full New York Times article.