Due to COVID-19, the performing arts have changed the way they reach out and perform to their audiences. Companies have resorted to doing their performances either outdoors or by streaming online.
One local company, the Fort Lauderdale’s Children’s Ballet Theatre (CBT), performed their annual showcase of Cinderella in November at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Seven of the CBT’s dancers in the ballet are also Fort Lauderdale High School students. The showcase was made into a film for this year because of COVID-19.
According to Ms. Angela Mauti, the director of CBT, “We’ve been doing this for 33 years and this is the first year that we are doing a film […] There are no audiences allowed in the theatre, so the only way we could get onstage and actually have the dancers perform would be to do a film.”
The performance this year was also significantly different for the dancers. Some CBT members found it more stressful and challenging, while others found it to be the opposite.
“I think [this] year was definitely the most challenging, even though we were preparing to do the film, we could be shut down at any moment,” said Allyson Varela-Nava (11), who soloed as a Neopolitan princess. “It was a bit stressful with the whole corona[virus] situation, but we managed.”
Alexandra Stone (10) is another cast member of CBT. She performed as a demi-soloist in support of a Spanish princess.
“It was very strange to not perform in front of an audience. My family and friends sadly couldn’t partake in watching the show, nor could they watch me dance live, and they couldn’t greet me or give me flowers at the end,” said Stone.
“The performance this year made me put more pressure on myself since it is a film. I was more nervous since it was something new,” says Sarah Bauman (11), who played one of the Stepsisters. “It was challenging to run dances multiple times; unlike in a show, however, when we were on stage I had a great time and we had great laughs on stage between takes.”
“While filming it was hard to truly dance on stage. Yes, we were performing, but we were performing to a camera, not a crowd,” said Varela.
“I found this performance to be significantly less challenging and stressful because when filmed, we were given multiple opportunities to do our dance without mistakes or mishaps,” said Stone.
The dancers had different views on whether or not the film was more challenging compared to recent years.
“Even though the end result was a complete ballet, [to deal] with the requirements per the Broward Center and the Board of Health, which were changing month to month, we also had to change as well,” said Ms. Mauti, “Complicated is really too simple a word to describe how difficult it was, and the one thing that really kept us going were the dancers, their parents, and knowing that it was going to be very beneficial to the dancers in the project.”
“I liked the filming process and I think everyone was beyond happy for actually being back on stage,” said Varela.