This week’s vlog is raw, emotional and honest. The St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory’s Summer Intensive looked very different this year. Last year, SPBC’s Blue Theater flooded during a severe storm that peeled back the roof of the building. This year, we had a greater challenge and that challenge was the global pandemic, COVID-19.
Our 2019-20 Season ended abruptly on Friday, March 13th, as Florida and our country went into lock-down. We went from preparing for our Spring Performance to taking virtual classes in our homes. I know many of you took SPBC’s Live Classes and I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You all gave me a purpose during that time. Knowing that I might be inspiring other dancers who felt the same way I did is what motivated me to keep going. Perception is subjective, but believe me when I tell you that dancing in a lifeless studio and talking to a camera is a lot harder emotionally than you might think.
In the ballet world, summers are usually a time for dancers to focus on their training and meet new people, however this summer included much more. When the summer approached, we knew we had to take extra precautions in order to ensure the health and safety of our dancers and staff. We also knew that the effects of COVID-19 and quarantine would cause both physical and psychological effects that may be bigger than us, but we were more than willing to face the struggle head-on and be there for anyone who needed us.
This summer held many firsts for SPBC and the dancers. It was our first time dancing and performing since quarantine, our first time dancing with masks on, and our first time performing via livestream without a live audience. Nothing about it was easy, but dancers aren’t used to easy anyway…right? Regardless of the struggles and personal setbacks, we stuck together and persevered as we always do.
There are so many important people who made this production happen. Thank you to Brian & Anna Melton, Servy & Allexe Gallardo, Iliana Babadjanova, and our Board of Directors. Thank you to our Season & Summer Sponsors, our Donors, Event Vids, our audience members, the parents and families of the dancers, and last but not least, the dancers themselves. Your commitment and dedication to staying safe and being responsible is what made a 6-Week Summer Intensive and two Livestream Performances possible. Thank you all for giving SPBC a chance and for putting your faith and trust in our program. I met so many talented dancers and each one of you has a story to tell.
Once I realized how unique our experience was, I wanted to document it in hopes to help the dancers who are still in quarantine feel less alone. Everything is temporary and we are more united now than we have ever been. During Theater Week, I interviewed our dancers and asked them about their experiences here. In this vlog, you will hear how SPBC stayed safe this summer, what it was like to dance with masks on, and how it feels to perform via livestream. I hope you enjoy watching this week’s vlog as much as I enjoyed making it. It brings me to tears when I think about how far we’ve come… and to think that this is only the beginning!
This vlog is dedicated to those who lost their lives due to COVID-19, as well as to the dancers who were unable to dance with us this summer. I am sending you all my love and I will be thinking of each and every one of you as SPBC enters its third season tomorrow. You all have a home at SPBC, no matter where you come from.
Just remember, nothing can really stop us now.