SAN ANTONIO – The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas’ holiday performances are on pointe, literally. The non-profit dance academy and performance company found a way to carry-on their holiday repertoire during the pandemic.
The senior company ballerinas are back in the studio and have integrated new steps to their daily routine.
“They come in, we take their temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and make sure they’re feeling well,” said Elysia Hulings, executive director of the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. “We walk them to their class. We make sure that they’re social distancing, and we also have a limited class size.”
Although each class has been reduced to capacity at 10 dancers each, Cody Lane George and Isabella Arce prove their workout regimen and expectations remain just as intense.
“It’s all different because of the masks and the distancing and how many people we are allowed to have at a time,” George said.
They have mastered each movement, leap and turn without missing a beat or breath. The dancers are required to warm up, practice and perform while wearing a face covering.
George and Arce said it’s taken time and a lot of practice to nail their dance routines while wearing a mask, but it’s a skill that has allowed them to carry-on the conservatory’s mission to dance for the community amid the pandemic.
“It’s hard with the mask, because you can’t express yourself as much, it’s all in the eyes because that’s all you see,” George said. “You don’t get to see the mouth and the smiles.”
The costumes are ready and the 40-people who make up the senior team have a packed schedule to keep holiday traditions alive throughout San Antonio.
“I think for our dancers, it’s not normal unless we are performing and making that connection,” Hurlings said. “We are the ballet school for the community.”
Whether in-person or virtual, the senior dance company performs with their masks on. The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas was asked to perform virtually for the San Antonio Museum of Art’s Seasons of Art Celebration. Most recently, they performed in-person at La Cantera Resort’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, opportunities the dancers say they won’t ever take for granted.
“The dances that can still perform, I think they’re even more grateful because now they’re dancing not only for themselves, but for the dancers that can’t dance right now,” Arce said.
The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas has an upcoming performance on Sunday, December 6 at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
For more information on the outdoor event, click here.