Diablo Ballet Meets the COVID-19 Challenge
(May 19, 2020) WALNUT CREEK | PLEASANT HILL — While Diablo Ballet’s final two performances of the season were cancelled including their Annual Gala, it was able to quickly navigate uncharted territory under this new Shelter in Place order. Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis, nonprofit organizations are being forced to fold, or learn to adapt quickly and effectively to a rapidly changing environment, wherever possible.
The Diablo Ballet School, which opened in August 2019 and was the first in the history of Contra Costa County operated by a professional ballet company, was ready to perform its first student-inclusive performance of Coppélia on March 20-21, 2020. This program would have boasted a full stage of Level 2 – 5 dancers from the school. While many were disappointed this opportunity did not come to fruition this season, Diablo Ballet is happy to announce Coppélia will be performed in the 2020-21 Season!
Two months into the Sheltering in Place, so much of the landscape has changed for dancers, staff, students and performing arts audiences alike. Diablo Ballet School adapted quickly and converted all of its classes to virtual sessions, offering current students continued professional training from their homes and new students an option to connect and stay healthy during this time of isolation. Virtual classes are offered for every level of dancer, from beginning to adult. The faculty, which are the Company’s professional dancers, offer individualized focus and attention on students, providing corrections and feedback during the live session, which makes the relationship between teacher and student a unique experience.
While classes have continued virtually, social media has become an ever-growing influential platform for performing arts enthusiasts. Diablo Ballet dancers have collaborated with Artistic Director, Lauren Jonas in creating a series of ‘dancer commentary’ segments showcasing an excerpt from one of their most memorable performances while they comment about their experience. The family feel of Diablo Ballet is demonstrated in these videos posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Although schools have shut down physically and hospitals and juvenile hall is closed to visitors, Diablo Ballet is still bringing its PEEK Outreach Program, consisting of social emotional learning and creative movement curriculum, to teenagers virtually using Zoom.
Artistic Director, Lauren Jonas states, “Even though the rest of our performance season has been canceled, Diablo Ballet has created our offerings on a virtual platform so that we can continue to train our Diablo Ballet School students, teach our underserved children and teens in our PEEK Outreach Programs and even provide performance footage on social media to stay in touch with our audiences.” Ms. Jonas adds, “As an organization, we want to look back on this as a time we came together and emerge stronger than ever before.”
Even the Diablo Ballet Company dancers are taking daily company class together on Zoom and created a new work virtually which the company premiered across their social media platforms on May 1st, the night the final program of their season had been set to open. The company is looking forward to its 27th Season which is set to open this November. The 2020-21 Season will feature the return of master choreographer Julia Adam’s expanded holiday hit, The Nutcracker Suite and her witty and sophisticated fairy tale centric, Once Upon a Time; the exciting and fast-paced Allegro Brilliante choreographed by George Balanchine; the emotional and romantic duet from the Broadway musical Carousal choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon; and the variations and coda from the timeless The Sleeping Beauty featuring the entire company and Coppélia.
See a thank you from the company dancers and one of the last rehearsals of Coppélia here.
To learn more about the Diablo Ballet School and its virtual class offerings visit our site.
To learn more about our PEEK Youth Outreach Program visit our site.
To make a donation to support Diablo Ballet dancers, staff, and its outreach programs visit our site.
About Diablo Ballet
Since 1994, Diablo Ballet has been the award-winning, professional dance company for Contra Costa County. Presenting acclaimed classical and contemporary ballets, the company is committed to exposing youth to the arts through its renowned PEEK Outreach Programs which has reached over 68,000 underserved school children in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties since 1995. Also, Diablo Ballet has served hundreds of at-risk teenage girls incarcerated within the Juvenile Justice system since 2015, and in 2019, the company began working with teenagers housed at the Behavioral Health Unit at John Muir Hospital, Concord. In August 2019, Diablo Ballet opened the first Ballet School in Contra Costa County run by a professional ballet company, located in Pleasant Hill.