It’s been a challenging year for us all. Job layoffs, virtual schooling (virtual everything), vacations canceled, social isolation…. So many sectors of society have been affected financially to the degree that the best of rainy day funds couldn’t even begin to touch the magnitude of loss experienced over the past year. The arts in general, and dance in particular, are no exception.
But beyond, perhaps well beyond, the loss of funding - has been the inability for the dancers to maintain their level of conditioning and skill over these months of the pandemic. So many other artistic disciplines are able to continue to be honed despite quarantine: singing, playing an instrument, painting, or writing, for example. But when your craft requires a certain amount of space, a certain height of ceiling, and a certain type of floor in order to safely execute combinations, or center work, or jumps (not to mention the obvious fact that partnering skills simply cannot be maintained by oneself), it has been a rough twelve months to be a professional dancer. – As many in the performing arts will also attest: so much of the motivation and drive to practice…endlessly practice…comes from the tangible goal of the live performance! But as we well know, stages of venues across the world have remained dark.
But not for Roanoke Ballet.
Through the sheer determination of Executive/Artistic Director, Sandra Meythaler, RBT’s floors have remained open. She has given her dancers a place to come and (safely, with masks and distance) keep their passion alive. The professionals, dedicated to maintaining their long-earned abilities and spot in the Company, have continued to come take daily classes, endure long rehearsal hours, and perform in front of miniscule crowds of 30 or so loyal patrons, as CDC regulations allowed, with little to no pay.
Their love for dance will not let them quit.
These artists are your neighbors. Besides the large amount of their lives they dedicate to bringing quality professional dance to the Roanoke Valley, they are also nurses, teachers, vet assistants, baristas, tutors, even a lumberjack! Many live in close proximity to Grandin Village, home of the RBT studios. You run into them when you shop, eat out, go to the movies… and the men and women who make up this cornerstone of society in our town need your support now more than ever!
Our city would not be the same without the culture, beauty, and hope/inspiration for the future that dance provides. For our children, dance is a medium to explore their limits, express their feelings, and learn the art of discipline and focus. Since the dawn of time, dance has been an integral part of every culture on earth. Whether you choose to interact with it as a participant or an observer, it speaks to you…. in a language that we all can come together to be moved and united by.
In these times of uncertainty and inability to make up for the revenue that is normally provided by large main stage productions, will you consider sharing a portion of what you have with these dancers, so that they can continue sharing the gift of dance with you? Linking arms as a diverse and well-rounded community that cares for every segment that makes up its beautiful whole, we thank you for considering how you can partner with us.
Beginning April 1st, we will be launching a Pointe Shoe Fundraiser to help our dancers continue to be able to purchase essential tools for their practice. Perhaps this could be a great place to start!?