VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE

Ballet Under the Stars adapted for COVID-19 safety

Virtual event presented by Ballet Arizona, city of Goodyear, Estrella by Newland

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Ballet Arizona will continue to pull a pirouette on its programming during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Valley’s only professional ballet company presents Ballet Under the Virtual Stars, an online adaptation of its free Valley-wide community performances, Saturday, Jan. 23.

The live stream will be available on demand at Ballet Arizona’s YouTube page beginning at 5 p.m. that evening.

In partnership with the city of Goodyear and Estrella by Newland, Ballet Arizona also will hold a live online chat with dancers at 6 p.m.

Ballet Under the Stars, presented by the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, is a Ballet Arizona tradition that for more than two decades has brought together ballet fans and novices for free professional ballet performances in communities around the Valley.

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While the pandemic has altered the venue for this tradition, Ballet Arizona chose to proceed in a virtual format to spread the joy of dance in the community.

“Ballet Under the Stars is one of our favorite performances throughout the year,” Ballet Arizona Executive Director Samantha Turner said. “The show must go on! We will bring these performances to the Valley in the safest and best way we know how, despite the circumstances — virtually, with interactive elements.”

The new digital format will allow for some fun, behind-the-scenes extras that are not normally possible at an in-person show. Viewers will not only see classical and contemporary ballet, but also dancer interviews and other bonus content.

Ballet Arizona also will continue its Class Act program digitally this year. Class Act provides children in local communities with opportunities to dance, choreograph and interact with Ballet Arizona’s professional dancers.

The ballet company’s education and community engagement team and professional dancer Natalie Ramirez worked with students from Westar Elementary School in Estrella to learn dance basics and collaboratively choreograph a dance together.

Because of the transition from in-person to digital programming, this year’s Class Act group was smaller and more focused, officials said, noting the team is especially proud of the younger dancers’ resilience, commitment and achievement.

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