The American Ballet Theater – the country’s national ballet company – has announced that it will return to the stage in New York City this October, a year after indoor performances were suspended due to Covid.
“We can’t wait to see ABT in the Lincoln Center theaters that are our home,” Kara Medoff Barnett, ABT’s Executive Director, told CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange on Friday. “We know our New York fans are excited to see ABT performers back on stage.”
ABT has just completed a cross-country tour that took 20 of its 84 dancers along with 28 support crews to eight different states. The company has performed at socially distant outdoor venues, and Barnett said it will learn from the protocols it developed this summer to ensure a safe indoor season this fall.
“We want to continue our commitment to the safety of our artists, staff and viewers,” said Barnett. “That was certainly the most important thing when we planned our outdoor tour to keep the audience out while we have the summer sun.”
American Ballet Theater dancers perform the company premiere of “La Follia Variations,” choreographed by Lauren Lovette and costumes by Victor Glemaud, during a dress rehearsal for the American Ballet Theater’s production of “Uniting in Movement” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa on Thursday, April 22, 2021.
Leonard Ortiz | MediaNews Group | Orange County Register via Getty Images
Since its last fall season in 2019, ABT has had to cancel its personal appearances and switch to digital programs, like many ballet companies across the country and worldwide.
Barnett said the pandemic was a time of adjustment and learning for the entire company. “We always think, especially in the last year and a half, what is Plan B, Plan C,” she added. “We are agile in more ways than one.”
During Lincoln Center season, which occurs the last two weeks of October, performances may require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, depending on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tickets will be refunded by 12 noon on the day of the performance if there are last-minute changes for spectators.
“We work very closely with our Lincoln Center venues. We work very closely with our medical advisor. And we are determined to find ways that we can continue the mission of this company, which has been bringing extraordinary art to audiences for 81 years.” can track. ” “Barnett told CNBC.
Performances this season include the classical ballet “Giselle” as well as three of the 22 works developed over the past year while the dancers have been divided into 11 creative bubbles.
“We’re bringing three of the works that were created in these residential bubbles to the New York audience to have their live premieres on stage,” said Barnett. “They had digital premieres, they had outdoor premieres all over the country – but now we’re bringing them to Lincoln Center.”
The “ABT Across America” performances, which ended on Wednesday in New York City, were mostly free. But for a company that generated 36% of its revenue from ticket sales in 2018, the return of a full program is essential to future success and longevity.
Barnett isn’t worried about the recovery period and says she is very optimistic about the demand for live performances. “I think there is so much pent-up demand for the performing arts, so much pent-up demand for joint activities and experiences and the joy of celebrating together. In fact, I think we can assume we have the biggest audience we’ve had “seen in years.”
“We had 6,000 people, 8,000 people in these parks watching ballet under the stars,” added Barnett, referring to the cross-country tour. “I think the audience is ready, they missed us and they really want to come back.”
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