COVID-19 Update Atlanta Ballet

COVID-19 Update from Atlanta Ballet’s President & CEO Arturo Jacobus, Artistic Director, Gennadi Nedvigin and Director of Public Relations, Julia Berg.

PHOTO CREDIT: Charlie McCullers. Published in the Arts Issue 2020
Photo credit: Charlie McCullers/Atlanta Ballet
ATLANTA BALLET: Love Fear Loss, with Keaton Leier and Airi Igarashi.

Atlanta Ballet

Gennadi Nedvigin

Artistic Director

Arturo Jacobus

President & CEO

Julia Berg

Director of Public Relations

Atlanta Ballet and all locations of its Centre for Dance Education (CDE) closed their doors on March 13, which meant no Company/Atlanta Ballet 2 rehearsals, no Centre school classes, and no administrative staff in the building. The March program, Giselle, was initially postponed to take the place of the May program, but both programs were ultimately canceled. The CDE school year also came to an early close, and the end-of-year recital was canceled.

“Throughout this time, Atlanta Ballet found ways to connect with audiences virtually,” says Julia Berg, director of public relations at Atlanta Ballet.

CDE instructors created virtual classes for remote training at home, and also livestreaming select classes on Atlanta Ballet’s Facebook page for public enjoyment. Clips of archived footage of past performances and fan favorites were shared on Atlanta Ballet’s social media outlets.

Recorded versions of Atlanta Ballet 2’s presentation of The Swan Princess and Beauty & the Beast were streamed and released to the public. Atlanta Ballet hosted a series of Instagram Live sessions featuring select Company dancers cooking their favorite recipes, which are featured in the Atlanta Ballet cookbook, Bravo!. Funds from cookbook sales went directly to the Dancers’ Resource Fund.

“Select company dancers read ballet-themed children’s books live on Facebook and Instagram, giving impressionable young ballet lovers an opportunity to have books read to them by ‘real, live ballerinas’!” says Berg.

Company dancers went live on Instagram to chat with each other over coffee or cocktails and answer questions live from Atlanta Ballet followers. Atlanta Ballet shared updates from Company dancers about how they were spending their time and staying in shape during quarantine.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Atlanta Ballet has been making PPE for frontline health and hospital workers, and continues to make masks. A joint manufacturing campaign with The Atlanta Opera and Alliance Theatre ended in June.

“The shop has moved into ballet work, prepping for next season’s shows and catching up on summer work, which fell behind due to the important focus on making PPE,” reports Berg.

Regarding the upcoming season, Atlanta Ballet’s fall programming has been canceled with one very special exception. “Putting aside a decision about The Nutcracker, which will be coming soon,” Berg says, “we have shifted all our series programming to the spring of 2021.”

After going to print, Atlanta Ballet’s Julia Berg issued this press release, “Atlanta Ballet is having to cancel its production of The Nutcracker this holiday season due to COVID-19. This would have been the first run of Nutcracker performances at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. … However, we are in the process of cooking up some exciting virtual and socially distant alternatives to keep the Nutcracker tradition alive throughout this holiday season … COVID-19 has officially stolen the holidays, definitely proving to be the meanest of all Grinches.”

The 2021 Atlanta Ballet season (at present):

· 2/12-14 — A world premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s Firebird, by recently announced choreographer-in-residence Claudia Schreier

· 3/19-21 — Giselle

· 4/15-18 — Atlanta Ballet 2 Presents: Snow White, a family ballet at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs

· 5/14-16 — A world premiere of George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, by Juliano Nunes