Pointe: What’s Ahead for Ballet Companies in the Age of COVID-19?
By Avichai Scher
12 August 2020
Let’s be frank: No one knows what’s ahead for the performing arts in the U.S. With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of nearly a year of performances so far, including many Nutcrackers, ballet companies face a daunting path ahead with no roadmap for how to survive. While schools can offer classes online or in small groups, what does the future hold for companies when it’s not safe to gather large audiences or corps de ballet?
“We are in for a very hard set of months,” says Michael M. Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. “Nothing will change until there’s a vaccine.”
Pointe set out to find out what the new normal looks like while the virus is with us.
Online Content and Digital Seasons
When COVID-19 hit, it seemed everything moved online that could, from galas to company class. In a recent online panel, American Ballet Theatre artistic director Kevin McKenzie said the company’s May online gala, which did not include much dancing, was well-received but not a financial success. The Washington Ballet’s gala centered on livestreamed performances and was financially successful. But afterwards, artistic director Julie Kent, a company dancer and a gala chairwoman became ill with COVID-19, despite social distancing and other safety precautions.
Can online platforms be a safe, longer-term source of income and artistic outlet for ballet companies?
Marc Kirschner, a founder of the paid performing arts streaming service Marquee TV, says this moment is a line in the sand for companies’ survival.
Read the full article here.
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