PRESS: The Show Must Go On

How the performing arts are embracing the virtual stage for the fall 2020 season

by Sarah Levitch, The Voice-Tribune

I once read somewhere that the Earth without “art” is just “eh.” Possessed with a poignant ability to connect people of different beliefs or languages, art persists in society as an instigator, uniter and healer. Art constructs another dimension of human understanding, one where words disperse into our subconscious and intuitive sentiments arise.

As this year reveals what has been hiding in the cracks, exposing our strengths and our weaknesses, we’ve been called upon by the Earth to examine our lives and let go of old habits or beliefs that are no longer serving us for the better. Moving through a time of darkness and uncertainty, the performing arts offer a guiding light towards the year’s end, refusing to be the ones let go of. These trying times have been a testament to the dynamic talent and passion behind the performing arts organizations in Louisville.

After speaking with the Kentucky Opera, Louisville Orchestra, Louisville Ballet and Actors Theatre, I discovered that the coming season of arts reflects and serves our community like never before. Embracing the virtual challenge, original and classic pieces take to the digital stage with the belief that art has transformative powers. Despite all we’ve endured this year, there is still hope. We are far from perfect, but with each step, we learn more about ourselves, adapting to a more equitable and sustainable society.

Open your heart, eyes and ears, and breathe in the crisp creativity of the Louisville performing arts. Here’s a sneak preview into what the season looks like.

The Louisville Ballet presents their “Season of Illumination” through cinematic dances in partnership with Kertis Creative and a continuation of educational programs. Their opening show “Kentucky! Volume 1” casts a spotlight on our city as an original dance tracing the history of four fictional families in Louisville. Brandon Ragland, dancer and choreographer, teased, “You’ll get to see how four families migrated to Kentucky to start their own families, and how they’re all interconnected toward my character’s story.” Artistic and Executive Director Robert Curran added, “We are creating something brand new that’s made by and with Kentucky artists, about Kentucky, for Kentucky.”

Also in this season, the Ballet launches its new Ballet Bound Program. Curran explained, “We are offering an experience for 15 youths from underprivileged communities, Title I schools, to come into the ballet downtown and take classes. At the end of each program year, two to three of those 15 will be offered a full scholarship to the Louisville Ballet School. The intent is, each year, two to three students will join the school and, hopefully, the company at the end of their training.” All other outreach and community engagement programs will continue in the digital world as well.

Curran concluded, “We are striking a balance between thinking globally but acting locally. We want to make sure the stories we tell are relevant to our community, but we also want to make sure they are featuring our world-class standards, whether that’s production value, the quality of the dances or the depths of the material we are putting into each of these films. If we can take your mind and heart away from the every day, just for a few minutes, we will have done our work and served our community in the way we do best.”