‘A truly beautiful expression’: Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers come together while at home
WINNIPEG -- With the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's 80th anniversary season put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ballet dancers got creative to ensure the show went on.
On Thursday, the ballet uploaded a video to YouTube, showing dancers performing a section from ‘Angels in the Architecture.’
“I think it’s a truly beautiful expression from the dancers about how they feel,” said Andre Lewis, artistic director and CEO with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB).
The ballet was set to be the final performance to mark the RWB's 80th season. The season and all tours were cancelled to halt the spread of COVID-19 and concerns over large gatherings. Lewis said the closeness of dancers in performances, and the need for physical distancing was one of the reasons they made the difficult decision to cancel their season.
“Dance is a very interactive process between many people that touch each other often, and interact with each other at very close range,” Lewis said. “That’s the beauty and expression of dance, and how it works.”
Lewis said while the ballet was on hiatus, teachers and students have been communicating and holding lessons through Zoom to keep their skills sharp. Dancers were also provided with Marley squares, which are placed on floors, to help practice their moves while at home. He added the organization is also thinking about what their performances will look like when they’re allowed to gather and perform again.
“Our rehearsal processes, our performance process, the backstage, all of those things have to be really carefully thought,” he said.
The dancers, who are now at home, coordinated with each other to film and perform sections of the ballet, and edited them together to make the video.
“I thought they did an incredible job, given the complexity,” Lewis said. “Some of them are in the states, some of them are in Canada, but together they did it.”
Lewis said he’s hoping people who watch the video are touched by the emotions on display.
“It will certainly bring warmth to you,” he said. “In these hard and challenging times, it’s certainly an oasis of beauty, tranquility and humility and love.”
He added he hopes the video will also remind the public that the RWB is “still alive.”
“We love our public, we love our stakeholders, and we want to continue that communication in the long run,” he said.