Boston Ballet School (BBS) Director Margaret Tracey announces reopening plans for students. In-studio and virtual Children’s Program classes will begin today and Classical Ballet Program classes on October 1.
In-studio and virtual classes will be offered in Boston and Newton. Marblehead will offer in-studio classes. Adaptive Dance classes will be virtual October–December, with the option for hybrid or in-studio classes in the Spring. Adult Dance Program drop-in classes are offered virtually, and a 10-week in-studio open level workshop is being offered at the Newton Studio. The inaugural year of Boston Ballet School’s Professional Division at Walnut Hill School for the Arts began its first quarter virtually on August 24, with the likelihood of transitioning to an in-studio or hybrid model for the upcoming three quarters.
“We have been working hard to reimagine the dance studio experience to ensure our students still receive the highest level of dance training while making their safety our top priority,” said Tracey. “For students who are not comfortable with returning to the studios, we are offering various livestream options.”
Over the past six months, Boston Ballet School faculty and staff have piloted new ballet teaching techniques that resonate with students of all ages, both virtually and in-studio, while surveying parents and students and incorporating their vital feedback. BBS remains committed to ensuring students experience the highest quality ballet education.
Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives (ECI) continues its commitment to education, inclusion, and innovation and will be holding the 29th year of Citydance in a completely virtual format for the 2020–2021 school year, offering live introduction to dance workshops, as well as the option for third grade teachers to access pre-recorded movement videos and activities to supplement their classroom learning. Citydance was established in 1991 and provides over 2,000 third grade students from over 50 Boston Public Schools a tuition–free introduction to dance education. Additionally, ECI on Location began virtually on September 1, bringing dance instruction to local schools and community sites.
Additionally, BBS is proud to announce Color Our Future, a new mentorship program which offers students at Boston Ballet School’s Professional Division at Walnut Hill the opportunity to build relationships with Boston Ballet Company dancers. In an effort to create a more inclusive environment for the future of ballet, mentors and students will take part in events such as masterclasses and discussions surrounding racial equity in ballet. Mentors include Company dancers María Álvarez, Isaac Akiba, Tyson Clark, Daniel Durrett, Chyrstyn Fentroy, Molly Novak, Chisako Oga, Lawrence Rines, Matthew Slattery, and My’Kal Stromile, as well as alumni of Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Two full-time faculty members also join BBS this year. Former Boston Ballet Soloist Dalay Parrondo joins as the Children’s Rehearsal Director. Parrondo began her training at age nine at Cuban National Ballet School. She joined the corps de ballet of the National Ballet of Cuba in 1998. Two years later, she was promoted to soloist, and in 2001, she became first soloist. She joined Boston Ballet in 2004, was promoted to second soloist in 2010 and then to soloist in 2011. She joined Boston Ballet School in 2019.
Andrea Long-Naidu joins BBS as a full-time faculty member. She began her training at age seven at the Pennsylvania Ballet School. Long-Naidu also attended the Dance Theatre of Harlem School and American Ballet Theatre School. At 14, she became an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Ballet company. She later joined the School of American Ballet (SAB) and after two years there, she joined the New York City Ballet. Long-Naidu began teaching in 2008 and has served on the faculty of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sandonato School of Ballet, Collage Dance Collective, CityDance, and Dance Institute of Washington. She served as the first Ford Foundation Guest Faculty Chair at SAB, and most recently was part of the permanent faculty at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
BBS is following appropriate governmental and health recommendations, including consulting medical professionals and infectious disease specialists from Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School. The studios have been redesigned to address social distancing, hygiene, updated staffing and operational procedures, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. New implemented safety measures include daily health checks, face masks, and staggered arrival and departure times assigned to each student prior to the start of the program.
All studios will be disinfected before and after class, including wiping barres, door handles, and mopping floors with CDC-recommended disinfectants. Sanitation stations will be available upon entry and throughout the studio. To adhere to social distancing, each student will be assigned a marked off spot at the barre and in the center of the room at least six feet apart. There will be no physical contact during class, including corrections from faculty. Everyone is required to wear face masks inside at all times, including during class. At the front desk, a BBS Administrator will conduct a visual and verbal wellness check and maintain a record on file for each student. The guardian or student is also required to sign a daily attestation that the student and members of their household do not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms, have had their temperature checked at home, and no exposure is suspected. If BBS has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the building will close to be disinfected and all students will begin virtual classes immediately and continue them until reopening.
For more information please visit bostonballet.org.