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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World


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18 minutes ago, Leah said:

Fauci said millions, not billions. Obviously there is going to be a phased rollout to the more affected areas and then to the rest of the world. The pharmaceutical industry is probably one of the most well-equipped in this country to meet a manufacturing challenge. There is a worldwide effort to get a vaccine out. Even if Trump doesn’t force manufacturers to divert resources towards the vaccine they will likely do it anyway. And by January there could be a high enough degree of herd immunity that mass inoculations won’t need to be so massive.

Fauci is not shy about sharing depressing outlooks. He said this was doable, he didn’t promise anything. He’s being realistic, and it doesn’t hurt to have some faith.

I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over two decades. Yes, it's good at manufacturing. Nonetheless, producing sufficient doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to meet worldwide demand will be a challenge. The industry can't simply shift its manufacturing operations to a Covid-19 vaccine: it still has to manufacture all of the other pharmaceutical products that the world needs, and it can't ramp up capacity overnight.

Sorry to be pessimistic. I hope I'm proven wrong.

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6 minutes ago, Leah said:

It’s completely understandable to be pessimistic right now, but I do think some optimism is warranted.

I am optimistic that one of the many organizations working to discover and test a vaccine will in fact develop one that works. I expect that the first doses will be allocated towards front-line healthcare workers, and that those workers may in fact be part of the first rounds of human testing one the safety tests have been completed.

I am much less sanguine that the capacity to produce vaccines specifically can be sufficiently ramped up in the short term to cover the developed world's population (US, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, China) much less the developing world. Just thinking about the supply chain for things like adjuvants and production equipment makes my head ache.

And, I would not want to be the person to tell an insulin dependent diabetic that there was no insulin because the world's capacity to produce sterile injectables had been commandeered for Covid-19.

We can't even get hand santizer, toilet paper, and clorox wipes onto our grocery store shelves.

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

That’s not at all what I was suggesting. I said elective and non-emergency. 

I thought you were referring to pharmaceutical products as not being necessities. Apologies if I misinterpreted your comment.

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10 hours ago, Leah said:

Didn’t mean to come off as a crazy anti-pharma person—I don’t have the best impression of the industry but I’m not saying that its products are all nonessential. 

No, No! You didn't come off as a crazy anti-pharma person at all, and I'm so sorry if my response was intemperate! Look, I worked in pharma for 2+ decades and even I don't have the best impression of the industry. I do have the tremendous respect for the front-line professionals who do their utmost to discover, develop, manufacture, and distribute safe and effective therapies. But, as with every industry , there's always a cohort who can't see past their own wallets or their desire to rocket up the corporate ladder.

There are also dedicated professionals who get so invested in their promising compound, or their potentially breakthrough technology, or their possibly landmark deal that they can't shut down a failure even when it's flashing bright red warning lights at them. This is one of the things I'm worried about in our current situation—that one of the teams in pursuit of a vaccine, or a therapy, or a break-through production process won't acknowledge failure fast enough (for very human reasons) and we'll have wasted time and resources doubling down on a losing bet. 

Because I've seen so many promising therapies crash and burn despite the best efforts of crack teams of scientists and engineers, I'm reluctant to do more than embrace radical uncertainty, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

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28 minutes ago, Leah said:

I guess I just think that the sheer number of groups working on finding a vaccine will result in at least something that’s workable and able to be manufactured.

Well, on a more hopeful note, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced today that they have begun US clinical trials on their jointly-developed Covid-19 vaccine candidate BNT162. (Now there's a name that rolls right off the tongue.) What's promising about BNT162 is that it's an RNA vaccine: if it works, it should be much easier to produce at scale than vaccines based on other platforms (e.g., live-attenuated vaccine, inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines, or viral vector vaccines). The downside? So far no RNA vaccine has been approved for use in humans for an infectious disease. Still, a bright spot, and compounded by the fact that there are at least 17 other RNA vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2, that virus that causes COVID-19 under development. Pfizer and BioNTech believe that they could produce the several million doses by September for use where most needed. (Hopefully, front line health care workers and other essential personnel, not basketball players and billionaires.)

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Thanks for the link, Helene—I think Dr. Fuller is pretty good at laying out a complex topic for a non-scientific audience. I did chuckle at this description: "The way antibodies work is that they decorate the outsides of the pathogen, or the virus, and prevent the virus from being able to infect your cells." I'm having fun imagining pathogens festooned with antibodies like Christmas trees. 

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This was very helpful - Harlequin Floors donated dance mats to all the SFB dancers and ballet masters. The dancers have been saying these mats are well made, and are a great aid for at-home ballet classes.

 

 

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It appeared to me that of all the donation links in the Relief Funds thread except 1 are donations to companies rather than dancers. Is this true? And the only one that appeared to be a relief fund for dancers (the one for ABT dancers) is one that I haven't seen enough information about to be comfortable in donating money, UNLESS someone else knows that it's legitimate. I know that I am ALWAYS a huge pessimist, but right now I'm not wanting to give the money that I have available for donations to ballet companies because I'm too concerned that they will go out of business anyway.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, YouOverThere said:

It appeared to me that of all the donation links in the Relief Funds thread except 1 are donations to companies rather than dancers. Is this true? And the only one that appeared to be a relief fund for dancers (the one for ABT dancers) is one that I haven't seen enough information about to be comfortable in donating money, UNLESS someone else knows that it's legitimate. I know that I am ALWAYS a huge pessimist, but right now I'm not wanting to give the money that I have available for donations to ballet companies because I'm too concerned that they will go out of business anyway.

The largest companies naturally tend to have more access to big donors (a big part of the business besides performing is fund raising), and so in some sense are more capable of surviving. But they also require a great deal more money to operate. First and foremost there's the staff: dancers (naturally), artistic staff, administrative staff, the ballet orchestra musicians, conductors and support staff, the stage crew, and facility workers, and then there's the adjacent schools to worry about (although they normally have a separate fund source). So the need for money is very real. I'm pretty sure the larger companies have been reporting the relief fund amounts that they have achieved so far (non-profit organizations have to do that). If the numbers are encouraging to you then they might inspire you to give, but that's your own decision obviously.

But does a company that is 'somewhat' short on their fund raising deserve money more than a company that has a long way to go? In either case, the deficit represents lack of income for a lot of people, and lack of money for operation expenses. So yes, it's a scary time.

Edited by pherank
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17 hours ago, pherank said:

This was very helpful - Harlequin Floors donated dance mats to all the SFB dancers and ballet masters. The dancers have been saying these mats are well made, and are a great aid for at-home ballet classes.

 

 

Her kitty looks like my late Toby. If you play the video s/he's watching her dance. It must be nice entertainment for a cat to have a mom who dances around the room.

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Posted (edited)

So there are several apparent issues and accepting that this virus is with us (and actually might not ever get a vaccine?--it is possible.) What happens?

-Ballet dies because no one wants to go to a theater because they are too scared. 

-Ballet whithers . ..  slowing down and then never recouping.

-Ballet reinvents--

TV subscriptions for performances with some type of "value added" --Something that you could get via a subscription that you would otherwise not get (interviews, backstage discussions, backstories, rehearsal footage). TV subscriptions have different tiers. 

Theaters change substantially with new modern type "Box seats" for purchase with plexi-surrounding.  Plexi surrounding is designed that can be moved for different group sizes.  Temperature scan machines at entry (typical in Singapore--we will see them in airports.) 

Outdoor venues get used more often with screen projections. 

Sorry I just don't think that the world will give up on Ballet. 

And I think that realistic, positive, solutions-oriented imagination and optimism are what is needed. The more that the collective "Group think" moves wisely, cautiously and deftly towards "how can we," as opposed to "why we can't.. . " the better we are.  NOTE: This is not denial or ostrich thinking.  

And well, all of these "experts" can only be "expert" on what is known, which is limited.  Science only knows what it knows right now.   

 

 

Edited by balletforme
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52 minutes ago, balletforme said:

Sorry I just don't think that the world will give up on Ballet. 

Ballet—and every other performing arts form—has managed to survive wars, plagues, and depressions. I have every confidence that it will survive Covid-19 too. Yes, it will sustain some real body blows and may very well look different when the dancers (and students!) can return to class and rehearsal, the theaters reopen, the audience feels safe, and the donors feel flush again, but it will be back. 

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Posted (edited)

I think that at worst, it's possible that companies will cut down their performance schedules once things are back up and running and the virus is no longer an obstacle to putting on or attending a show. NYCB may decide that it's not worth putting on seven shows a week for six weeks straight (and four weeks in the fall, plus all of the Nutcracker) if it loses too many audience members. NYCB used to perform less shows anyway before they added the fall season. This would be terribly sad, but we would still be getting more ballet in NYC than most cities do. ABT's Met season was already going to be shortened before the pandemic hit. In any case both companies should really make the absolute best use of programming once they do reopen, and they need to heavily court young/young-ish audience members, as those are the people who are more likely to want to enter a theater again.

Edited by JuliaJ
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I think NYCB will try to keep the same number of total  performances, but attempt to cram as many weeks as possible into 2021 in the hope that this pandemic will abate in a few months.  For example, if it could be worked out that shows during the winter and  spring 2021 season added some Sunday evening performances because the fall season is cancelled, that could help to get the company on financial track.  I think a lot also depends on how many weeks the Koch is available in 2021.  I know they previously rented several weeks in January and March to Shen Yun, and at least one week in April usually is a rental to YAGP. 

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3 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

 NYCB used to perform less shows anyway before they added the fall season.

NYCB has the same number of rep weeks that they had before the fall season was created.  They just shuffled things around.  Both the winter and spring seasons used to be 8 weeks each for a total of 16 weeks of rep.  When New York City Opera no longer required the fall spot, NYCB reduced their winter and spring seasons from 8 to 6 weeks each and moved the remaining 4 weeks to the fall totaling the same 16 weeks of rep.

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6 hours ago, dirac said:

Her kitty looks like my late Toby. If you play the video s/he's watching her dance. It must be nice entertainment for a cat to have a mom who dances around the room.

Dogs and Cats have been a big part of the quarantine classes. The videos are definitely enhanced by their presence. It's always fun to watch the animal's reactions to a human moving about in place.

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Posted (edited)

Some of the SFB dancers posted a short video project, Sequentia, which they then passed to NYCB as a kind of 'chain letter' video. So on to ABT next? Or?
 

 

Edited by pherank
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Posted (edited)

Claudia Bauer wrote a short piece about the Worldwide Ballet Class (on Zoom) that was organized by Diego Cruz (SFB) and Ruben Martin Cintas (Washington Ballet, ex-SFB).

https://www.pointemagazine.com/worldwide-ballet-class-2645925059.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2

"Among the many high-quality online ballet classes currently available, WWBC stands out for offering dancers of all levels the opportunity to take open company class alongside professional dancers, six days a week. Held at 11:30 am PDT Monday through Saturday, the classes are taught by the likes of Julie Kent, Christopher Stowell, SFB ballet master Felipe Diaz and National Ballet of Canada principal Jurgita Dronina—and are free of charge."

Here's some good information for people watching these streams:

"How can aspiring dancers make the most of WWBC classes?

RMC: On Zoom you can have your camera open or closed. The dancers that have the camera open go into the first pages on our screens, and those are the ones we choose from to get highlighted during class. The younger dancers are opening their cameras much more, and we're able to showcase them so the teachers can see them and maybe give feedback. For example, Julie gives her combination and then goes to the camera and gives comments to her dancers and the dancers we spotlight. We showcase as many people as possible."

Edited by pherank
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On 5/4/2020 at 7:00 PM, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I am optimistic that one of the many organizations working to discover and test a vaccine will in fact develop one that works. I expect that the first doses will be allocated towards front-line healthcare workers, and that those workers may in fact be part of the first rounds of human testing one the safety tests have been completed.

I am much less sanguine that the capacity to produce vaccines specifically can be sufficiently ramped up in the short term to cover the developed world's population (US, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, China) much less the developing world. Just thinking about the supply chain for things like adjuvants and production equipment makes my head ache.

And, I would not want to be the person to tell an insulin dependent diabetic that there was no insulin because the world's capacity to produce sterile injectables had been commandeered for Covid-19.

We can't even get hand santizer, toilet paper, and clorox wipes onto our grocery store shelves.

In fairness, the supply chain has been working  efficiently at getting hand sanitizer, paper goods, etc. to the stores. They don't stay on the shelves because of hoarding and panic shopping, which is still going on in my state almost two months into the shutdown, although to a somewhat lesser degree. The stores put limits on the amounts people can purchase at one time, but not soon enough. I feel sorry for the essential workers who can't shop during off hours.  

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7 minutes ago, dirac said:

In fairness, the supply chain has been working  efficiently at getting hand sanitizer, paper goods, etc. to the stores. They don't stay on the shelves because of hoarding and panic shopping, which is still going on in my state almost two months into the shutdown, although to a somewhat lesser degree.

There's an occasional sighting of toilet paper in groceries and pharmacies in my neighborhood (downtown Manhattan), but we haven't seen a drop of proper hand sanitizer in months. Even liquid hand soap is hard to come by. However, you can buy face masks and bleach on the street corners now from the same guys that sell umbrellas when it starts to rain, so that's progress! (I would love to know the ins and outs of that particular supply chain, which probably involves things falling off of trucks out by the airport ...)

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24 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

However, you can buy face masks and bleach on the street corners now from the same guys that sell umbrellas when it starts to rain, so that's progress! (I would love to know the ins and outs of that particular supply chain, which probably involves things falling off of trucks out by the airport ...)

OK, that IS funny. Or suspicious.

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Posted (edited)

A sobering look at the performing arts in Colorado post-COVID. This might be more representative of cities around the country than NYC.

https://coloradosun.com/2020/05/08/colorado-arts-companies-risk-failure-coronavirus/?mc_cid=ba07f973fe&mc_eid=b6e6ac669f

My personal view: our governor (Jared Polis) has been doing a great job managing this crisis and, as the article explains, there are many philanthropies helping. As best anyone can tell in retrospect, the virus got to Colorado very early thanks to people from NYC and Europe heading to Vail and Aspen for winter ski holidays. Central City Opera has been cancelled for summer 2020, but the Vail Dance Festival is hanging on, with a generous policy on ticket refunds and exchanges. I've been wondering if the covered but still outdoor amphitheater gives them more leeway for spacing, etc., etc.

Edited by California
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17 hours ago, California said:

Central City Opera has been cancelled for summer 2020, but the Vail Dance Festival is hanging on, with a generous policy on ticket refunds and exchanges. I've been wondering if the covered but still outdoor amphitheater gives them more leeway for spacing, etc., etc.

The Wolf Trap has cancelled all their performances in June, so it's not a given that it is easier to socially distance outdoor audiences.

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