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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World


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Here are some excerpts from Chancellor Merkel's comments showing how her thinking goes – so level-headed and at odds with ours currently in the US. From today's Times

 

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“What we’ve achieved is an interim success — no more, no less. And I stress that it is a fragile interim success.”

 

 
“We can’t have a wrongheaded push forward, even when the best intentions are behind it,” Ms. Merkel said. “We need to understand that we need to live with this virus as long as there is no vaccine and no treatment.” ...

 

Among the first shops allowed to reopen are bookstores, bike stores and car dealers. But they all have to ensure that the number of customers inside is limited while also avoiding long lines from forming outside.
 
Restaurants and bars will have to wait longer, and large events like soccer matches remain banned until Aug. 31. Religious services won’t resume until places of worship have put in place measures to ensure the required distance between worshipers. ...

A key variable the government was looking at, she said, is the so-called reproduction factor of the virus — the number of people an infected person passes the virus on to.

That factor currently stands at about 1, she said, meaning that one person gets infected by every newly infected person. If that factor rose even to 1.1, the German health care system would reach capacity by October, she said.

If it were allowed to rise to 1.2 — so out of five infected people one infects not one but two additional people — that limit is reached by July.

“With 1.3,” Ms. Merkel continued, “we have reached the limit of our health care system by June.”

“So you can see how small our leeway is,” she said, “the entire development rests on having a number of infections that we can keep track of and trace.”
 

 

This animation linked below shows various scenarios of transmission. The last panel of a breathing, not coughing, person suggests how effective a mask, any mask and not necessarily an N95, could be. "An infected person talking for five minutes in a poorly ventilated space can produce as many viral droplets as one infectious cough."

Regarding the resumption of performances, on one hand passing out N95s would be like the days when they festively passed out 3–D glasses in movie theaters.

But on the other hand I think of the unnatural amount of coughing that goes on 1/2 hour after people are seated in a classical performance or ballet, especially during the quiet movement, as if one's body is protesting at not being up on stage with the musicals or dancers.

I don't know ...  I just don't know. Maybe it should start off small-scaled and well-spaced in 400 seat auditoriums, downtown style, more Phillip Glass and John Cage than Mozart, with the big companies beginning again in small venues.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/14/science/coronavirus-transmission-cough-6-feet-ar-ul.html

PS – I am surprised about the compliance and non compliance with the mask rule in San Francisco. In the mornings in my mid-Polk neighborhood virtually everyone wears them as they go about their shopping. You see fewer in the afternoon, fewest in late afternoons, none on the joggers who run along the commercial street instead of the side streets, but a fair number on bicyclists. You also see classic leftist/libertarian couples, one with a mask, one without.

 

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31 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

PS – I am surprised about the compliance and non compliance with the mask rule in San Francisco. In the mornings in my mid-Polk neighborhood virtually everyone wears them as they go about their shopping. You see fewer in the afternoon, fewest in late afternoons, none on the joggers who run along the commercial street instead of the side streets, but a fair number on bicyclists. You also see classic leftist/libertarian couples, one with a mask, one without.

"classic leftist/libertarian couples"  😉

Heavy aerobic activity is just not possible in an N95 mask. But it shouldn't be necessary when running in the open air - there's little to no likelihood of encountering 'virus clouds' hanging in the air in, say , Golden Gate Park. Surfers don't require masks out on the water either(!). But the rules that get handed down to the populace tend to be one-size-fits-all, and are designed to make things easy for the government and police. For the rest of us, not so much. So the county/state parks are pretty much all closed, even though there's little scientific evidence that people get sick while hiking or running about. If it's all about avoiding close proximity to other people, joggers should be fine when running alone, unmasked.

I always smile when I see people driving along by themselves, wearing a mask. All that does is wear out your disposable mask before you really need it. And that reminds me of one last thing - the life of a disposable mask can be extended if you have decent sterilization equipment, but good luck getting that type of equipment now.

 

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9 minutes ago, pherank said:

I always smile when I see people driving along by themselves, wearing a mask. All that does is wear out your disposable mask before you really need it

I had this argument with my roommate:  I think it's perfectly legitimate to wash your hands, put on your mask at home, and then drive to where you are going, rather than fumbling around in the car to put it on.  Plus if you have multiple stops, you're not going to keep taking it off and putting it back on:  that would wear it out more, not to mention the amount of handling you'd do with the mask itself.  

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20 minutes ago, Helene said:

I had this argument with my roommate:  I think it's perfectly legitimate to wash your hands, put on your mask at home, and then drive to where you are going, rather than fumbling around in the car to put it on.  Plus if you have multiple stops, you're not going to keep taking it off and putting it back on:  that would wear it out more, not to mention the amount of handling you'd do with the mask itself.  

To be clear - it doesn't hurt anything to do as you suggest. It just shortens the lifespan of the mask (something like 8 hours max for an N95). As you continue to breath in and out of the mask moisture and particles build up inside, and particles cling to the outside of the mask, decreasing it's effectiveness. If the mask is washable, then you need to do that after use each day.

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I have an N95 left over from the wildfire period which I use with a clean bandana when I bicycle to Ft Mason. It's a little bit of a hindrance but not bad. The joggers on Polk Street, a small-scaled commercial corridor, are really disrespectful to pederstrians, many of them in their 60s and 70s  – when they could just as well jog on Larkin or Hyde, Francisco or Chestnut. You hear them breathing hard when they pass you and if you look at the Times animation I posted above, it's on the border of being safe and not being safe. Any mask is helpful to keep water droplets from being dispersed and the fewer in the air there are the better for everyone.

After much deliberation we regretfully closed our community garden at Ft Mason, the only such garden in the Parks system, to visitors because they were not observing any of the proticols, and were endgandering the health of the gardeners. This unfortunately included the birdwatchers who always followed the rules. Other parks were probably also presented with the same dilemma.

Free will – a sometimes dubious concept even in normal times – might be reined in a bit during these increasingly tragic ones. According to Angela Merkel, one-size-fits-all works. so let us all be fools in masks driving alone in cars for a while.

With AIDS we lost our bird-doggers, the ones knew the latest things, who pulled the best ideas out of the air before anyone else had them. It greatly impacted the visual arts and dance worlds. With Covid19 we're losing the ones with long memories and talents ("cultural capital") who still have a lot to teach and reflect on things that take that kind of longview: book reviewers and literary critics, architectural essayists (Michael Sorkin), our senior dance teachers, etc. 

Regarding "herd immunity," I believe it depends on a vaccine already being available. From the Oxford Vaccination Project website:

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When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it is difficult for infectious diseases to spread, because there are not many people who can be infected. For example, if someone with measles is surrounded by people who are vaccinated against measles, the disease cannot easily be passed on to anyone, and it will quickly disappear again. This is called ‘herd immunity’, 'community immunity' or 'herd protection', and it gives protection to vulnerable people such as newborn babies, elderly people and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.

 

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5 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Regarding "herd immunity," I believe it depends on a vaccine already being available. From the Oxford Vaccination Project website:

 

"Herd immunity" doesn't require a vaccine, however it does require a significant portion of the population to have developed anti-bodies. I've seen the figure of 60 percent thrown around. In the absence of a vaccine, that means having been infected to the extent that the immune system mobilizes against the disease. In the US, 60 percent would mean close to 200 million people, and even if the fatality rate is at the low end of the estimates that I've seen - 0.4 percent claimed in a study of one of the most affected districts in Germany - that would mean close to 800,000 deaths.

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Taking inspiration from the most irritating thing about pointe shoes. By the principal women of the Berlin State Ballet.

POB dancers doing their thing at home to thank frontline workers. I especially enjoyed Hugo Marchand's straw hat and the little ones joining in.

Not ballet, but still my favorite thank-you video.

 

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https://news.yahoo.com/los-angeles-mayor-says-large-213731141.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9zZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tL3locy9zZWFyY2g_aHNwYXJ0PUxrcnkmaHNpbXA9eWhzLVNGMDEmdHlwZT1BTllTX0ExSzZCX2\

 

The mayor of Los Angeles has indicated that large gatherings will not be taking place until 2021.  Assuming NY follows this thinking, this is a highly depressing reality. 

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1 minute ago, Leah said:

If NYCB loses Nutcracker this year that’ll be catastrophic for them.

Safe to say it would be catastrophic for every company in North America! The German companies enjoy substantial state support, although apparently they have real problems with unemployment generally and budget. But in NA, this is such a huge, huge part of their budgets...I won't be surprised if some go under.

Perhaps we can all shift our Nutcrackers to January?

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De Blasio cites gatherings of 10,000 to 50,000 people in the article. Hopefully (although I am very pessimistic) this won’t extend to the ballet or opera.

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17 minutes ago, abatt said:

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/touring/9359311/new-york-la-live-events-not-until-2021-mayors

 

And NY's Mayor deBlasio agrees. No public gatherings until 2021.

I didn't see an overt statement of  No public gatherings until 2021 from De Blasio.  What I saw quoted by De Blasio  was talking about thousands of people at public gatherings.

Am I reading the wrong source?  

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The Met Opera has 3,800 seats, plus 200 standing room spots.  Add the orchestra, stage crew, other staff and orchestra to that sum, and you have a gathering of around 5,000.

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

The Met Opera has 3,800 seats, plus 200 standing room spots.  Add the orchestra, stage crew, other staff and orchestra to that sum, and you have a gathering of around 5,000.

And if you cap audiences at 2/3 capacity like Asia is doing you get less than 4,000, still less than the cited 10,000 number. Reducing density is the key. I do think De Blasio will probably cancel fall seasons at the very least though.

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2 minutes ago, Leah said:

And if you cap audiences at 2/3 capacity like Asia is doing you get less than 4,000, still less than the cited 10,000 number. Reducing density is the key. I do think De Blasio will probably cancel fall seasons at the very least though.

The Koch holds 2544. If you close off the top two tiers, which they regularly do anyway, that really gets the number down. Still, how many of us would be comfortable in rows of seats, surrounded on all sides by people sneezing, coughing, breathing, whatever...would wearing a mask and gloves make you feel safe? 

https://www.nycballet.com/About/David-H-Koch-Theater.aspx

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I agree with California.  People will not feel safe until a vaccine is created and most of the population has been vaccinated.  Even if you already had the virus, the experts say that the immunity is only temporary. 

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I would feel safe because I'm young and healthy, but a lot -- if not most -- of ballet goers are in the older, at-risk cohort. So even if companies reopen soonish, they will be losing a lot of patrons who are afraid to go out until a vaccine is developed. Classical performing-arts companies are not going to be making much money for awhile. 

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If you want to lock yourself up for 18 months until a vaccine is approved that should be your choice. But once the spread is controlled and antibody testing is available then society needs to begin reopening. And I don’t see how sitting in a not very full opera house will be more dangerous than taking the crowded subway to work, which is what will have to happen for a lot of people once reopening begins.

Maybe, though, we could have a reduced streamed season? I have to imagine that many companies are thinking about doing something like this. 

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A streamed season would surely help orchestras.  I would be happy to pay the same price for a streamed subscription as for a physical subscription:  I could get home, have dinner, tune in, and not have to have a long commute home on transit before getting up early the next day.  The filming and video editing challenges should be a lot less with instrumental music than with dance, but, those are not insurmountable.

If you're a major fan, chances are you either eschew videos because they don't satisfy at all, or, while grousing about camera work and quality, take it where you can get it.  As a figure skating fan, I will get up in the middle of the night to see a decent, but not necessarily stellar on paper, two-fixed camera live stream over YouTube.  And I'm sure many of us watched reprints of objectively awful VCR recordings off TV to see ballet.  I don't think we'd demand Met Live in HD quality.

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2 hours ago, Helene said:

A streamed season would surely help orchestras.

Maybe. But with all the free music videos available, some of which are by elite orchestras, there also might be limited interest in paying to watch a stream of the local orchestra.

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29 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

Maybe. But with all the free music videos available, some of which are by elite orchestras, there also might be limited interest in paying to watch a stream of the local orchestra.

There’s a something different about a live-streamed performance, though. And there’s something different about paying a modest amount to help ensure the survival of a local arts organization one values at a time of dire need.

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NYCB seems to do a lot of still camera captures of performances that it uses for its clips. A few have been leaked on YouTube already and I think the quality’s fine. I also think that a lot of people would pay out of goodwill, though maybe not standard ticket price.

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3 hours ago, Helene said:

A streamed season would surely help orchestras.  I would be happy to pay the same price for a streamed subscription as for a physical subscription:  I could get home, have dinner, tune in, and not have to have a long commute home on transit before getting up early the next day.  The filming and video editing challenges should be a lot less with instrumental music than with dance, but, those are not insurmountable.

If you're a major fan, chances are you either eschew videos because they don't satisfy at all, or, while grousing about camera work and quality, take it where you can get it.  As a figure skating fan, I will get up in the middle of the night to see a decent, but not necessarily stellar on paper, two-fixed camera live stream over YouTube.  And I'm sure many of us watched reprints of objectively awful VCR recordings off TV to see ballet.  I don't think we'd demand Met Live in HD quality.

HD quality films shouldn't be a problem - even amateur videographers have that capability, and companies hire experienced video teams for archive filming. There will be the usual pluses and minuses, but good quality streamed productions would make the local fans much more happy than they are now, and potentially bring in an entirely new around-the-world audience. As long as the streamed performances are reasonably priced, and available for a goodly amount of time to the subscriber, there could be oodles of shows to watch. Imagine being able to see ballets performed by various North American companies for months at a time (without flying back and forth across the continent for single shows). I imagine sales of "casting" software like Apple TV and Google Chromecast, as well as large screen TV's would go way up too, since trying to watch a quality production on a tiny screen would not be thrilling.

Personally, I would not want to pay the same price for a streamed performance as what I pay to sit in the orchestra section at the opera house - I would need it to be more inline with what movies cost (and what online subscriptions currently cost for watching films, sports, classical arts performances, etc.).

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