A night at the ballet, in time for ‘Nutcracker’ season – art and culture

Of all the artists whose livelihoods have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, dancers have been amongst these hit hardest.

They rely on a reside viewers to do their work, after all, and most reside paycheck to paycheck. As the months have passed by, dancers have labored laborious to remain related, busy, in form — and prepared to leap again in when it’s secure once more.

Enter Melanie Hamrick. The former ballerina at American Ballet Theatre — she retired in 2019 after 15 years in the firm — has spent most of the 12 months in Europe along with her companion, Mick Jagger, and their 4-12 months-outdated son, Devereaux. She made a video in June that includes Royal Ballet dancers performing in empty streets to the current Rolling Stones track “Living in a Ghost Town.” But she wished to discover a challenge that will make use of not solely dancers however the crews and technical workers that work with them.

The result’s “A Night at the Ballet,” a free streaming occasion that premieres Thursday and was produced by Live Arts Global, based by Hamrick and her companions, Christine Shevchenko (a principal dancer at ABT) and Joanna DeFelice. The occasion, filmed in a small New York theater, will deal with ballet-starved followers to performances by dancers from America’s prime corporations in excerpts of classical ballets like “Romeo and Juliet, “The Nutcracker” and “Don Quixote,” in addition to up to date gems like “After The Rain” by Christopher Wheeldon.

“Our mission is just to give work to dancers, stage crew, tech and lighting (people) — everyone ,” says Hamrick, “and find a way to keep the arts alive while giving people jobs at the same time. Also giving back to our audiences — we don’t want to lose our audiences.”

“Art will always come back,” Hamrick says, “and dance will always come back. It’s just a waiting game.”

Hamrick sat down with The Associated Press over Zoom to debate the challenge, her hopes for the dance world, and plans to broaden “Porte Rouge” (Red Door ), the 2019 ballet she choreographed to Rolling Stones tunes with preparations by Jagger.

Remarks have been edited for size and readability.

AP: First, the place have you ever been spending your pandemic months?

Hamrick: I really went for a fast journey to Europe — and then the world shut down. So I stayed in Europe the entire time as a result of it’s vital for me and my son, for us to remain collectively as a household, particularly with the unsure instances. New York actually had a tough time in the spring and I used to be sorry I wasn’t there to help my fellow New Yorkers, but in addition grateful I used to be in a position to have my son out in nature and the recent air along with his household.

AP: What gave you the concept for “A Night at the Ballet”?

Hamrick: We did the “Ghost Light” video with dancers from Royal Ballet, and it was so good to see them excited and smiling and having a challenge and a spotlight. But that was actually simply the dancers, and we thought, how can we assist all people in this reside arts world? And I felt it could be very nice if we did some classical ballet. We miss that as a result of it’s tougher to do remotely. I’m excited to see the dancers’ faces after operating a pas de deux, or how excited the viewers will likely be to see a few of the classics they’ve been lacking.

AP: Unlike some streaming occasions, you’re not charging viewers.

Hamrick: No. We’re going to stream to our net web page or you possibly can view it on YouTube. I believed it could be good simply to offer one thing for free. Of course, donations are welcome, as a result of that’s going to assist the artists. Anything left will likely be distributed to completely different dancers’ funds throughout the United States.

AP: It’s been such a tough time for the dance world, and for the arts as a complete. American Ballet Theatre simply needed to cancel its 2021 spring season. How are your former colleagues doing?

Hamrick: I’m so amazed and impressed that their spirits have stayed so excessive, and their work ethic. They’re nonetheless giving themselves a ballet barre day in and time out, and doing every little thing they will. They’re staying robust and they’re prepared. It’s going to come back again. They’re protecting the religion. And I believe that’s the finest we will do proper now. You may say, “Why should I give myself a ballet class today? It’s going to be months before I go back.” You can’t let that into your thoughts.

AP: Last 12 months you mentioned you had been hoping to broaden “Porte Rouge.” Is that occuring?

Hamrick: We’re nonetheless engaged on growing that challenge. Like everybody in the world, we acquired placed on pause. We took a step again and re-evaluated. And hopefully this summer season we’re going to do a residency and workshop (with plans for performances in fall of 2021). It’s going to be about 70 to 80 minutes, perhaps a bit longer, of not solely Rolling Stones, however simply basic songs that we love, intertwined with stunning piano music.

AP: Mick helped you curate “Porte Rouge.” Will he be concerned in the new model?

Hamrick: I believe he’ll. He loves music. He loves art, reside exhibits, performing. So, I positively suppose he’ll be a little bit bit concerned.

AP: It appears we’re form of attending to know dancers’ personalities a little bit bit extra throughout the pandemic, by way of social media particularly. Is this a silver lining?

Hamrick: I believe it’s superb that we’re seeing the different aspect of dancers a bit as a result of ballet has at all times been behind a gilded curtain, you realize, this facade. And now as an viewers member, you’re feeling like you realize them a little bit bit extra. And I believe it can really assist construct an viewers as a result of we’re simply in that world of social media and actuality TV and all of that. And it’s good for the dancers to really feel like followers know them … you’re feeling like the viewers is there supporting you.

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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