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Arts & Culture

The Show Must Go On(line) At Ballet Idaho

Otto Kitsinger
Ballet Idaho

With the banning of large public gatherings, arts organizations, like Ballet Idaho, have been trying to reach their audiences online.

When we called Daniel Ojeda, he was making coffee at his house, where he’s been staying inside, like much of Boise.

The company dancer recounted the moment in early March when Ballet Idaho executives made the call to cancel upcoming live performances.

"They came on stage," he said "and told us that the mayor was going to be making an announcement shortly, calling against gatherings of 250 people or more. That was maybe three hours before our dress rehearsal?" He sighed, "After all of that work."

Credit Quinn Wharton / Ballet Idaho
Ballet Idaho
Dancer Daniel Ojeda in a promotional photo for the Light/Dark performance at Ballet Idaho, March 2020.

Ojeda said he was crestfallen but understood why he couldn’t perform before a live audience. The community was making sacrifices in the hopes of tamping down the transmission of COVID-19.

Still, he wondered how long this situation might last. "At least for awhile," he conceded, "this experience (of live performance) isn’t going to happen, anymore."

At that point, Ballet Idaho Director Garrett Anderson pivoted, and decided to video record the dress rehearsal instead, using five high-definition cameras at different angles. So the weekend dances did go on, but in front of cameras, not in front of a live audience.

That brought its own host of challenges. "The one thing that was interesting," Ojeda said, "with the cameras being in such detail and potentially capturing close-ups, there was a stress on us, making sure that we looked exactly the same each night."

Ticketholders and donors will get a link to the films to watch the dances up-close.

"I think that we, right now," said Ojeda, "we all deserve a front row experience."

He continued, "What we should be experiencing right now is a degree of unity. Because clearly, fending for yourself right now? It doesn't work. It's not going to keep this thing at bay. It's not going to keep this virus at bay. I think we all deserve a collective experience. And not one that divides."

Light/Dark: The Digital Experience will be released on Friday at 7:30 PM.

Find Tom Michael on Twitter @Tom2Michael for more local news.

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