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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World


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I love the tech support at the beginning.  And I saw an opening tile for Sarah Ryan & ... until Chung started to teach.

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38 minutes ago, Helene said:

I love the tech support at the beginning.  And I saw an opening tile for Sarah Ryan & ... until Chung started to teach.

At the beginning of one of the classes, someone said, "how come everyone's speaking Spanish?"  😉 There's lots of Spanish chatter between Diego Cruz, Ruben Martin Cintas, Felipe Diaz, etc. But the actual classes are always in English.

They are getting dancers from all over at this point - I've seen a few from Europe and the UK (such as the Royal Ballet). Many from Washington Ballet and SFB though, since the classes are generally lead by staff from those companies.

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I just came across this posting by SFB (with video)


Training During Shelter in Place

Daily training is an essential component of being a professional ballet dancer. But how do you train during a shelter in place mandate? Our dancers have been taking company class daily via Zoom to ensure they’re still honing their craft even amidst a global pandemic.

Find out how a few of our company members are creatively using furniture, household items, and even shower liner to turn their homes into a studio! Then take these tips and join us online for our new Virtual Adult Ballet Classes every weekday from 9:30–10:30 am.

https://www.sfballet.org/discover/backstage/whats-your-barre/

 

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There is an article in The Seattle Times, in which PNB Executive Director Ellen Walker was interviewed:

  • Dancers, musicians, and much of the staff is on furlough
    • Still receiving health insurance; at $95/K month, there is only enough in the relief fund to pay for two more months
  • Subscriptions are [unsurprisingly to me] down 30%
  • One third of ticket holders have donated them back to the company
  • Seattle Center is giving them two free months rent at the Phelps Center (right across from McCaw Hall, and where the studios, offices, library, and costume shops are)
  • They'd need to be in the studio by May 4 to start rehearsing for their final rep*

*The last stay at home order from Governor Inslee lasts through May 4. I assume also Season Encore, the special program that takes place the night of the last Sunday rep performance and which celebrates dancers who are leaving the company at the end of the season.  (Announced are Margaret Mullin and Benjamin Griffiths.)

While Walker expressed appreciation for the people who have donated tickets back, that doesn't strike me as a lot, I hope many of the other 2/3 are taking a credit towards next season instead of asking for refunds.  

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It looks like Julian McKay finally got back to the U.S. His Instagram profile says, “Former First Soloist with the Mikhailovsky Theatre.”

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2 hours ago, AB'sMom said:

It looks like Julian McKay finally got back to the U.S. His Instagram profile says, “Former First Soloist with the Mikhailovsky Theatre.”

Does that mean he was forced to quit in order to get priority to leave?

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He hasn't posted about it to Facebook, at least publicly.

On Instagram, he posted  just before and after his father died.

My condolence to him, his brother, his mother, and the rest of his family.

 

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PNB just cancelled the last rep -- Pite/Tharp/Liang -- Season Encores, which was going to be a farewell to Benjamin Griffiths and Margaret Mullin, the School Performances, and Next Step.  While not unexpected, 😢.

I posted the press release in the PNB forum.

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More about Megan.  ;)
Only this time, it's an 'official' NYT article:

A Dancer's Quarantine Diary: Coming Full Circle
The New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild has found shelter back at her childhood home in Utah. She tells us about her new normal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/arts/dance/megan-fairchild-city-ballet-coping-at-home.html

The entire time I was reading this article, I was smiling, thinking of Sarah Mearns' characterization of Fairchild as very orderly, list oriented, and driven.

 

 

 

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Merkel has banned concerts in Germany until the end of August. Considering how well Germany is doing compared to other countries, I don’t think this bodes well for the rest of us.

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

Merkel has banned concerts in Germany until the end of August. Considering how well Germany is doing compared to other countries, I don’t think this bodes well for the rest of us.

Merkel has been accused of being overly cautious/dire, but unlike some, Merkel is likely to pay attention to the latest infectious disease modeling patterns (the spread rates and likely future locations).
A new virus that has never circulated among the human population before tends to be very troublesome. This virus has yet to settle into a pattern as age-old viruses tend to do.

The 1918 Spanish Flu (the name is a misnomer) pandemic occurred in two waves: the 2nd one being much worse than the first (which wasn't exactly fun either). Our' leaders' need to be aware of this tendency.

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33 minutes ago, pherank said:

Merkel has been accused of being overly cautious/dire, but unlike some, Merkel is likely to pay attention to the latest infectious disease modeling patterns (the spread rates and likely future locations).
A new virus that has never circulated among the human population before tends to be very troublesome. This virus has yet to settle into a pattern as age-old viruses tend to do.

The 1918 Spanish Flu (the name is a misnomer) pandemic occurred in two waves: the 2nd one being much worse than the first (which wasn't exactly fun either). Our' leaders' need to be aware of this tendency.

I’m not attacking Merkel! I’m pointing to the fact that a country handling the virus well isn’t able to have concerts until September, which means that it will be later for the countries who are farther behind.

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20 minutes ago, Leah said:

I’m not attacking Merkel! I’m pointing to the fact that a country handling the virus well isn’t able to have concerts until September, which means that it will be later for the countries who are farther behind.

I'm not suggesting you are, Leah. It's going to depend on how much the government leaders follow health expert recommendations. Large gatherings can be reinstated today in the U.S. if governors/mayors/the White House insist on doing it. But it wouldn't be very wise.

If there was a way to instantly find and track persons suffering from the active virus, then it would be much easier to control the spread. I can see a time when larger gatherings could take place as long as people are using N95 masks (and better) and disposable medical gloves. But the general public isn't even allowed to acquire this gear yet...

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3 minutes ago, pherank said:

If there was a way to instantly find and track persons suffering from the active virus, then it would be much easier to control the spread. I can see a time when larger gatherings could take place as long as people are using N95 masks (and better) and disposable medical gloves. But the general public isn't even allowed to acquire this gear yet...

What are the odds there will be a fall season for NYCB and ABT in September-October? I have to think the directors of dance companies (and other performing arts groups) are starting to face up to the realities of this pandemic. 

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8 minutes ago, California said:

What are the odds there will be a fall season for NYCB and ABT in September-October? I have to think the directors of dance companies (and other performing arts groups) are starting to face up to the realities of this pandemic. 

If the "2nd wave" issue wasn't weighing on people's minds, then the chance of a Fall season would be much better (following guidelines for protective gear, etc.) We need a safe vaccine, and effective treatment program for Covid-19 before we can get back to mass gatherings. Otherwise, the disease would continue to spread exponentially. I think we are looking at 1 to 1 1/2 years for this disease to run its course, and an effective vaccine to be developed. However, there are many labs in different countries racing to develop a vaccine as early as possible. It just doesn't tend to get done in under 18 months time.

I could see a situation in which healthy groups of people, who have been individually cleared (and are monitored daily) could get together to work. But they really would need to follow pandemic guidelines and wear protective gear and stay socially distant. That makes dancing together as a group real difficult. I would love for the dance companies to be able to get together again and take class, rehearse works, and film dress rehearsals for public streaming online (and make money that way). But they would need to be, in a sense, quarantined together just to do that.

I'm looking for a silver lining...

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1 hour ago, pherank said:

If the "2nd wave" issue wasn't weighing on people's minds, then the chance of a Fall season would be much better (following guidelines for protective gear, etc.) We need a safe vaccine, and effective treatment program for Covid-19 before we can get back to mass gatherings. Otherwise, the disease would continue to spread exponentially. I think we are looking at 1 to 1 1/2 years for this disease to run its course, and an effective vaccine to be developed. However, there are many labs in different countries racing to develop a vaccine as early as possible. It just doesn't tend to get done in under 18 months time.

I could see a situation in which healthy groups of people, who have been individually cleared (and are monitored daily) could get together to work. But they really would need to follow pandemic guidelines and wear protective gear and stay socially distant. That makes dancing together as a group real difficult. I would love for the dance companies to be able to get together again and take class, rehearse works, and film dress rehearsals for public streaming online (and make money that way). But they would need to be, in a sense, quarantined together just to do that.

I'm looking for a silver lining...

Classical arts performances lend themselves to policing audiences much more readily than popular music concerts, but governments might find it politically impossible to allow one and not the other, should it be determined that requiring audience members to wear face masks provides sufficient protection to allow gatherings in close quarters. I've listened to/read interviews with 2 of Germany's leading experts on coronaviruses (1 of whom is the leader of the team that created Germany's SARS-COV-2 test kit), and they both believe that the overwhelming majority of transmission occurs when people are physically close to an infected person for an extended period of time - there is little chance, for example, of being infected by someone passing by in the aisle of a grocery store - and that only a small amount of transmission occurs from people getting the virus on their hands.

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What we need is maximum density restrictions, antibody testing, and temperature checking. Those are far easier to achieve than a vaccine, and it’s the approach being carried out already in Asian countries. Ballet would be difficult to manage with the close contact involved, but I don’t think it would be impossible.

At a certain point the psychological and societal impacts of restrictions become more devastating than the disease itself.  Unfortunately that’s now considered a politically incorrect view. But I don’t think we’ll have performing arts organizations left if we wait 18 months for a vaccine. I don’t think our society will even survive if we just stop everything for so long.

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32 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

Classical arts performances lend themselves to policing audiences much more readily than popular music concerts, but governments might find it politically impossible to allow one and not the other, should it be determined that requiring audience members to wear face masks provides sufficient protection to allow gatherings in close quarters. I've listened to/read interviews with 2 of Germany's leading experts on coronaviruses (1 of whom is the leader of the team that created Germany's SARS-COV-2 test kit), and they both believe that the overwhelming majority of transmission occurs when people are physically close to an infected person for an extended period of time - there is little chance, for example, of being infected by someone passing by in the aisle of a grocery store - and that only a small amount of transmission occurs from people getting the virus on their hands.

Personally, I'd be happy if there had to be two empty seats between each audience member in our opera house, and no one could sit directly behind or forward of another person.  ;)
And if everyone was wearing an N95 rated mask it wouldn't be so bad. Sitting and wearing a mask isn't a big deal - it's having to move about and breath more heavily while wearing a mask that is difficult (and quickly wears out the mask). We just need the darn masks.

 

25 minutes ago, Leah said:

What we need is maximum density restrictions, antibody testing, and temperature checking. Those are far easier to achieve than a vaccine, and it’s the approach being carried out already in Asian countries. Ballet would be difficult to manage with the close contact involved, but I don’t think it would be impossible.

At a certain point the psychological and societal impacts of restrictions become more devastating than the disease itself.  Unfortunately that’s now considered a politically incorrect view. But I don’t think we’ll have performing arts organizations left if we wait 18 months for a vaccine. I don’t think our society will even survive if we just stop everything for so long.

I agree that we have got to have sophisticated testing in place soon, and a flexible ability to contain outbreaks.
I'm not as gloomy about the performing arts as some people - they will return, but there will be unforeseen changes. Companies will 'disappear', but then be resurrected once we get to a more stable environment and economy.

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40 minutes ago, Leah said:

What we need is maximum density restrictions, antibody testing, and temperature checking. Those are far easier to achieve than a vaccine, and it’s the approach being carried out already in Asian countries. Ballet would be difficult to manage with the close contact involved, but I don’t think it would be impossible.

But how many orchestras and dance companies could survive if they could only sell a third or half the seats? Especially dance companies since they have a limited number of performances. Anti-body testing is scary. If possessing antibodies becomes a criteria for going places and doing things, it might motivate younger people to intentionally try to get infected so that they will develop antibodies.

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27 minutes ago, pherank said:

And if everyone was wearing an N95 rated mask it wouldn't be so bad. Sitting and wearing a mask isn't a big deal - it's having to move about and breath more heavily while wearing a mask that is difficult (and quickly wears out the mask). We just need the darn masks.

KInd of interesting that while at least in the US we were initially told that wearing masks was useless, it might turn out that wearing masks would have been the most important way of slowing the spread. As I understand it, only an N95 mask that's properly fitted and properly worn protects the wearer from other people but other types of masks provide some amount of protection from a possibly infected wearer. Plus, it isn't realistic to expect that there will be enough N95 masks for the general public in the foreseeable future. I am considering ordering some non-N95 masks so that I'll have them if they become required (in DC and Maryland, they are already mandatory in grocery stores and on buses and trains) since there is a 6-8 week backlog.

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37 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

But how many orchestras and dance companies could survive if they could only sell a third or half the seats? Especially dance companies since they have a limited number of performances. Anti-body testing is scary. If possessing antibodies becomes a criteria for going places and doing things, it might motivate younger people to intentionally try to get infected so that they will develop antibodies.

Things to try:

Similar to weekends at the big companies, two shows a day using ballets with smaller casts (and no one is dancing in both shows). Sleeping Beauty is probably not doable for a while.

Produce shows for digital streaming subscription, and market this 'product' in a clear manner. Make a schedule for when the digital content becomes available and what needs to be done to subscribe - and make it affordable for all people, not just some special big subscriber option. Digital films should be the way to make the company available to the world, at the cost of a movie ticket. The days of "I always wanted to see that company but could never imagine traveling there" would be effectively over. (For the audience) no more having to live on scraps of crappy low-resolution dance videos from the 1960's with obnoxious editing and effects.  😉

 

23 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

KInd of interesting that while at least in the US we were initially told that wearing masks was useless, it might turn out that wearing masks would have been the most important way of slowing the spread. As I understand it, only an N95 mask that's properly fitted and properly worn protects the wearer from other people but other types of masks provide some amount of protection from a possibly infected wearer. Plus, it isn't realistic to expect that there will be enough N95 masks for the general public in the foreseeable future. I am considering ordering some non-N95 masks so that I'll have them if they become required (in DC and Maryland, they are already mandatory in grocery stores and on buses and trains) since there is a 6-8 week backlog.

I ranted about that deliberate misinformation campaign to friends who would listen to me. I think there was a woman from the CDC who was still maintaining that position as recently as 2 weeks ago on CNN.

Here's what was going on: the medical workers in the U.S. were unable to get any PPE - hoarders had bought up the entire supply online, and things were desperate. So, the healthcare powers that be decided to outright lie to the public and say there wasn't any reason why the public needed masks, but could get by with hand washing. Eventually that position was amended to "the masks were not really necessary and, btw, medical workers needed to have them in their work" (so please don't go looking for these things). All one had to do was look at CDC recommendations for PPE to be used when in contact with SARS and MERS patients (the viruses from the same coronavirus family), to find that N95 masks were essential, as well as disposable (latex-free!) surgical gloves, goggles, plastic smocks, and such. Preferably remove all that gear (and destroy) after leaving the infected person's presence and take a shower with lots of soap to wash off any germs that might be attached to hair, skin, etc.

The authorities just didn't want people rioting over these things, but, lying to the public is never a good thing - it just causes distrust of said authorities.

EDIT: it may be depressing, or cynical but what we really need is to reach "herd immunity":

'Herd immunity (also known as community immunity) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely.”'

And that can only be done the hard way - most people end up getting sick, or most people end up vaccinated (or both).

Edited by pherank
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