Victoria Theatre | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian
The Dayton Arts Alliance and Dayton Ballet company dancers will be performing “Dance and Romance” both in-theatre and online via live stream from Feb. 12 through Feb. 14.
Performing for the first time after nearly a year-long layoff due to coronavirus restrictions and safety concerns, all 18 Dayton Ballet company dancers will be on stage this Valentine’s Day weekend.
Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke says that this upcoming production of “Dance and Romance” is unlike anything that she or Dayton Ballet has ever done before.
“The safety of everyone involved, from dancers to the crew backstage and the limited number of audience members has been an absolute top priority,” Burke said. “We typically like to have a theme for our programs because not everyone might understand the definition of repertoire programs and what that means.”
Burke said that repertoire programs are not a full-length story ballet, where the audience sees the same theme throughout the entire performance.
“Think of it [repertoire programs] as a buffet,” Burke said. “This production includes seven different pieces, with the longest piece lasting between 12 and 15 minutes.”
Audience members and those viewing virtually can expect a series of duets that encompass all of the emotions of love, ranging from ecstasy to tenderness and everything in between.
Burke highlighted that the last piece in the Dance and Romance performance is titled, “6 feet apart” and features the entire ballet company.
“It’s all about this new vocabulary of elbow handshakes, handwashing and everything we have all endured during these strange coronavirus times,” Burke said. “Everyone will have a mask on during that piece.”
Performing during a global pandemic
It’s no secret that the live events and performances industry has been severely impacted by the effects of the coronavirus both in revenue for those producing events and for the morale of performers.
Dayton Ballet has been no exemption to these looming effects.
Company dancer Miranda Dafoe describes dance as her way of interpreting music and emotion.
“When I perform, I hope to leave the audience thinking or feeling something,” Dafoe said. “Whether it be the intention with which I dance or their own interpretation of the piece, if the audience leaves moved, I feel I have done my job.”
Dafoe is currently in her third season at Dayton Ballet and said that no one ever expected it would be almost a year before they were allowed to dance on stage once again.
“It was a process to fully accept the scope of what was going on and the effect it had on our jobs as artists,” Dafoe said. “I think we are all still coping with almost a full year of being away from the stage.”
Nevertheless, Dafoe and her colleagues are elated to be returning to the stage once again.
“I think it will be surreal to be on stage with an audience once again,” Dafoe said. “This performance symbolizes our return to the stage and we are all so excited to dance together again, even if only in small groups. We’ve been working so hard the past few months.”
Tickets for “Dance and Romance” may be purchased online here, or those interested in inquiring about tickets may call the Dayton Live ticket office at 937.228.3630 Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.