M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The performing arts community has been hard-hit in the COVID-19 crisis with in-person event restrictions and the inability to do live performances to their usual capacity. But several ballet companies in the Pacific Northwest have taken on the challenge to bring groundbreaking dance to patrons in unique ways. Here are three that have pivoted during this dance season.

[Ballet Idaho, photo credit Mike Reid]

Though patrons of the arts may not be able to go to the theater in person, Ballet Idaho is determined to keep dancing. Through its new digital streaming platform, Ballet Idaho is launching Hidden Languages: A Digital Season in 5 Movements, a series of world premieres released throughout the season. It will provide an in-depth look at the creative process through interviews with the creators, time spent in the rehearsal studio and never-before-seen archival footage.

[Oregon Ballet Theatre]

Oregon Ballet Theatre is known for its mix of beautifully imagined classics like The Nutracker and its original and imaginative productions that are equally inspiring. It’s no surprise that OBT is making the most of this time and reimagining its 2020-2021 season to be innovative and accommodating. Through a combination of in-person and digital performances, OBT is offering rare, behind-the-scenes access revealing what ballet really is and what it can be.

[Eugene Ballet]

While Eugene Ballet has rescheduled most of its major performances to next year, it has pivoted to continue bringing dance to its patrons. Performances will all take place in its auditorium, with a reduced number of tickets available and seats socially distanced. A new offering is Dance Unphased, a collaborative program featuring smaller groups of dancers to showcase Eugene Ballet’s versatility and talent.

Though not an ideal situation for any of these ballet companies, the COVID-19 crisis has brought them to new creative places, thinking outside the box for how to deliver high-caliber dance in new ways. To learn more about the arts ecosystem, read the recently released report from the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland about the state of arts nonprofits in the Portland-Metro area.

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