Atlanta Ballet dancers add distance to training: You’ve heard the phrase, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” Right now, Atlanta Ballet dancer Keaton Leier is living that advice daily.
“Yeah, it’s very different,” says Leier. “I’m usually used to being around all of my colleagues at the Ballet, but obviously we have special circumstances here.”
The special circumstance is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which forced Atlanta Ballet to cancel performances and, for a time, shut down its facilities. The Ballet’s Virginia-Highland Centre is back open, but on a very limited basis.
“After, I think, three or four months of staying and working from home, we’ve finally been given access to have one person in the studio at a time here,” says Leier.
That’s one dancer per room, for two hours twice a week. It’s a big change for a professional like Leier, who was born in Canada and has danced with Atlanta Ballet for three seasons.
“I feel like not have the energy of my coworkers around me to boost my push and my motivation, it’s just…it’s a lot. You have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined.”
Leier says that’s been especially true when training at home; after all, dancers need space, and carpet isn’t exactly an optimal surface for doing pirouettes.
“The Atlanta Ballet did provide us with floor that’s…dance-friendly. That was a really big blessing for us and made a really big difference. But still, as you can imagine, I have a really small apartment and I live by myself. Dancing in that space along is just a struggle.”
Leier says that’s why he’s so happy to be back in the studio, even if it’s by himself. It’s hard work, he says — but work that will pay off when he and his fellow dancers are back on stage.
You can stay up-to-date on Atlanta Ballet’s scheduled performances by clicking over to the company’s website here.
Summer playwriting project goes virtual : “The middle of a crisis is not the time to stop doing the work that you do. It’s the time to work harder.”
Pearl Cleage is talking about this year’s Palefsky Collision Project, a program with which the Alliance Theatre Playwright in Residence has been involved for the past decade. The annual summer intensive challenges Georgia high schoolers to explore a classic text, and create an entirely new show out of those discussions. Held in-person at the Alliance for nearly two decades, this year’s Project is being done entirely through Zoom.
“We wanted so much to do the Project this summer, and this was the only way we could do it,” says Cleage.
This year, the 19 hand-picked Georgia students are exploring the award-winning young adult novel White Rose by Kip Wilson, which tells the true story of young people who resisted the Nazi regime in 1940s Germany. Says Cleage, “The important thing for us about this work is that it shows young people being active citizens at a moment of great transition and crisis for their country.”
This year’s project showcase will be streamed online for free this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. For details on where to watch, click here.
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