State Street Ballet presents Virtual Summer Series on CYA.Live
State Street Ballet has joined the plethora of local performing arts companies providing virtual content for audiences while live performances are suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the ballet company kicked off the first installment of its Virtual Summer Series on the online platform CYA.Live.
The series will show notable moments from State Street Ballet’s recent history, with future episodes featuring full performances of the ballets “An American Tango,” “The Jungle Book,” “Common Ground,” and “Chaplin.”
State Street Ballet founder and co-artistic director Rodney Gustafson told the News-Press that videos of these productions were chosen for the series because of how they are “representative of our company’s philosophy,” which is bringing new creativity to old stories. Whereas many ballet companies focus on abstract expression, Mr. Gustafson said State Street Ballet’s main focus is to “really stick to storylines that we feel are engaging.”
He added that while some ballet companies buy choreography from other companies, every State Street Ballet production features original choreography.
“Everything we’re doing on the virtual series is completely original to us,” he said.
In addition to playing the archival footage of past ballets, the Virtual Summer Series’ episodes will include live introductions by Mr. Gustafson and co-artistic director and resident choreographer William Soleau, utilizing the live video capability in CYA.Live’s platform.
The Virtual Summer Series is an interactive program, during which viewers are able to submit questions to Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Soleau. Mr. Gustafson stated in a press release that his company was very impressed by the creativity of CYA.Live’s platform.
“When the team at CYA.Live presented their capabilities we saw that they, like us, are innovative and think outside the proverbial box,” he said. “We are excited to utilize their ingenuity and be the first dance company on their event platform to share with a global audience.”
The Virtual Summer Series’ premiere, “An Inside Look: State Street Ballet,” consists of a live introduction in which Mr. Gustafson discusses his company’s history, followed by two 15-minute documentaries that provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse at two of State Street Ballet’s creative projects. The artistic director said State Street Ballet decided to start the series with a program showing the work that goes into their productions to “debut the personality of our company.”
The first part documents the Gala Internacional de Ballet that the company organized and performed in 2017 at the Teatro Municipal de Las Condes in Santiago, Chile. Though State Street Ballet put the gala together, the performance featured dancers from countries such as Chile, Germany, Canada, England and Russia.
Beginning with the company getting off the plane in Chile, the documentary contains interviews with the cast of dancers and captures their backstage collaboration during the international event.
Part two shows the making of State Street Ballet’s production of “An American Tango,” a biographical story about the famous husband-and-wife ballroom dance duo of Frank and Yolanda Veloz.
Based on a play written by the couple’s son, playwright Guy Veloz, the “An American Tango” ballet uses voiceover narration as well as dance to tell the story, which covers not only their spectacular dancing, but the highs and lows of their relationship including Mr. Veloz’s infidelity.
The 15 minutes of the second documentary captures the lead-up of the ballet’s premiere from its first studio run to its dress rehearsal.
The next four installments of State Street Ballet’s Virtual Summer Series, “An American Tango,” “The Jungle Book,” “Common Ground,” and “Chaplin” respectively play on CYA.Live on June 24, July 22, August 19, and Sept. 16.
Tickets for these online events cost $9.99 and can be purchased on the CYA.Live site.
According to Mr. Gustafson, using Google Chrome as a web browser is necessary for watching.