‘We are still here:’ Orlando Ballet dancers ready to take the stage again

Orlando Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty will be first major event at DPAC

ORLANDO, Fla. – Beginning next month, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts said it’s ready to reopen its doors to major events, preparing to host Orlando Ballet for its performance of Sleeping Beauty.

“We are still here,” said Cheryl Collins, executive director of Orlando Ballet. “We don’t know of anybody else that’s trying to do this in the ballet world in this juncture.”

The Orlando Ballet had a devastating end to its season last spring, having to cancel two major performances due to COVID-19.

Since then the company had shifted to a virtual model with dancers practicing their pirouettes, turning their bedrooms into ballet studios.

However, after getting some advice with medical experts who sit on their board of directors, Orlando Ballet opened its doors to its new Harriet Orlando Ballet Centre. The new building allowed for social distancing rehearsals, where all of the dancers wore masks, according to artistic director Robert Hill.

“Every 6 feet is mapped out, so when dancers are not dancing, they go into cubicles to remain 6 feet apart,” Hill said. “We rehearse with masks and we will probably have costumes designed with masks.”

Hill said he’s also had to come up with a choreography for the classic ballet that will include no touching and no lifting.

“The idea was the only way we are going to be able to do this in this time without touching, without partnering, without lifting is to create it that way,” he said. “It already has really strong solo dancing.”

Collins is also working out the logistics with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. According a spokesperson there, there will be no intermission, and guests will be seated in every other row with parties separated three feet apart.

“We actually reopened the arts center in late June with a series of successful in-person summer camps as well as several corporate events and weddings,” DPAC spokesperson Lorri Shaban said. “The response from parents, students, event planners and guests has been overwhelmingly positive. We are known for delivering exceptional experiences and our guests feel comfortable here because they trust us to take appropriate health and safety measures.”

Local leaders on Friday said they were glad to see the arts scene is starting to come alive once again.

“This city wouldn’t be The City Beautiful without its arts and culture, as they are an important aspect of our community,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “I am pleased to know Orlando Ballet will be returning and opening an opportunity to enjoy the art of dance during this unprecedented time.”

Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said, “We are thrilled that Orlando Ballet will return to the stage with their timeless performance of Sleeping Beauty. As Orange County reopens in a safe and responsible manner, our arts community provides us with an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and artistry of our local talent.”

Tickets for Orlando Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty went on pre-sale Friday. For more information, click here.

Click here for a list of postponed, rescheduled and canceled shows at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

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