TAMPA, Fla. - Next Generation Ballet is performing "Swan Lake" on the stage of Morsani Hall at the Straz Center this weekend.
Performers haven’t hit that stage since March 13, 2020, because of the pandemic.
Swan Lake has three principal casts of almost 200 performers. "Swan Lake" is a big undertaking, especially during a pandemic.
"There's a lot to consider, space is for one, we're in the middle of a warm-up class right now but I've got four warm-up classes going on simultaneously throughout the theater, then there are the dressing rooms, I have to make sure that they're socially distanced," said Philip Neal, the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet.
Performers rehearse ahead of the return of performances at the Straz
The performers wear masks during rehearsals and will be during the performance as well. Neal says he made some small changes to the show because of the health protocols.
"I was very careful to edit some of the dances that are really long, to condense the music a little bit just to make sure that they can catch their breath in between," Neal said.
Dancers say they’re embracing the challenges.
"It's an adjustment, but I couldn't be more grateful, I think, I took a lot of things for granted before, so you have to work a little harder in class, you have to make up for the lack of breath you have with this mask, but it's been great and I feel like I've gotten a lot stronger," said Gillian Yoder, who plays the black swan.
The show’s audience will run at 30% capacity. The Straz Center CEO says they hope to be back at full capacity by Fall when Broadway returns.
To get tickets for Swan Lake, visit https://strazcenter.org/Events/Straz/Shows/2021_Dance/Swan-Lake