LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Bluegrass Youth Ballet closed its studio doors and instructors turned on their webcams as they transitioned to online dance lessons.
Lessons are being offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels live on zoom daily. The videos are posted online afterwards to allow students to continue practicing at their own pace.
“We're just basically trying to keep them maintained to the level they had when we had to close so when we come back, it's not like starting all over from scratch,” Executive Director Adalhi Aranda said.
The lessons consist of primarily barre exercises, according to Aranda.
“We realize that students don’t have the right flooring so they can’t turn very much. They can’t jump very much and they may not have the right space,” Aranda said.
Madelyn Groth, 16, is one of Aranda’s students. Her younger siblings Silas, 13, and Anne-Grace, 7, are also dancers. Their father built them a small in-home ballet barre to allow them to mimic the studio setting as much as possible.
“It's really weird because you're so used to having your teachers be able to be there and correct you physically. Now it's virtual and it's different,” said Madelyn Groth.
Aranda said student participation is at approximately 70-percent. She said students have mixed feelings towards the online lessons. Many are grateful to have a sense of routine and normalcy, but some feel frustrated by the circumstances.
“I just keep telling people you know, this is ballet. We are going to survive. It’s going to be fine. Let's just think about the big picture right now. But I know every single dancer in their heart is hurting right now,” Aranda said.
Bluegrass Youth Ballet announced the postponement of their production of Cinderella, which was set to take place in May.
“That was probably one of the hardest things because the kids love to perform and it’s kind of like the icing on the cake,” Aranda explained. “You train and then you get to perform. They’re very big and very complicated and we have so much pride in our performances.”
Students are understanding, though.
“I’m glad we can keep everybody safe and healthy and I’m sure we’ll get to do it as soon as everything goes back to normal,” Groth said.
The show will go on and a new opening date will be set once Bluegrass Youth Ballet is able to open its studio doors once again.
Bluegrass Youth is also offering free community classes on their Facebook page every Saturday morning.