PRESS: Louisville Ballet gets back to work, preparing for an all-virtual season

Katie Springer, WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Slowly but surely the rhythm of downtown Louisville is coming back. The beat of traffic outside the Louisville Ballet isn’t the only thing returning to normal. Inside is reflecting the outside world becoming a little more typical.

“It’s exciting to be back in the studio. It’s great to be back in the dancing space and doing some rehearsal,” said dancer Kateryna Sellers.

Dancers were sent home back in March when COVID-19 started to spread. But now they’re back in the studio, with strict precautions to keep dancers safe. WDRB’s camera wasn’t even allowed inside to capture rehearsals.

“Really trying to reduce that risk,” said dancer Brandon Ragland.

Now, the dance company is separated into pods, dancers’ temperatures are checked, there are staggered rehearsal times, and masks are mandated at all times.

“I’ve been practicing all summer long wearing my mask,” said Sellers.

“It affects things like turning because then you have this thing obstructing your peripheral vision so that’s been a challenge,” said Ragland.

All the steps are to protect the health of the dancers, but it can also take away from what makes ballet so special.

“One of the joys I love about being a dancer is partnering, I love partnering and not being able to do that for the time being is, I’m a little bummed about it but safety first,” said Ragland.

It’s a big adjustment, but at a time when so many companies aren’t bringing dancers back, ballerinas are just happy to be dancing again.

“It was a pleasant surprise to know that we were going to come back and we would have our jobs and we would be able to work,” said Sellers.

For now, all choreography will be touch free 10 feet a part as the Louisville Ballet prepares for a season unlike any other: a virtual season all online.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and it’s going to be a platform that will outlast the COVID era that we’re existing in,” said artistic director Robert Curran.

“Season of Illumination” will feature new work created for the camera with zero in-person performances.

“To be able to serve a wider community, locally nationally globally through our digital stage is going to be fantastic,” said Curran.

For the company, it’s a chance to find unique ways to create works of art.

“I always feel out of things that make us uncomfortable or challenging things there’s always room for creativity,” said Ragland. “It provides a different opportunity for you to look at that we wouldn’t normally look at.”

Louisville Ballet is still working to fund the upcoming virtual season. More information can be found on the Louisville Ballet website.