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OKC Ballet leaps into reimagined 2020-2021 season

The company’s 2019-2020 season finale, “(e)motion(s): A Triple Bill,” originally planned for April at the Civic Center and subsequently postponed to September at the Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center in Midwest City has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

OKC Ballet will delay the start of its upcoming season to December, when the company will present “The Nutcracker: Short & Sweet,” for eight performances at the Civic Center Music Hall. A new production of  “Cinderella” planned for October has been canceled.

The 2020-2021 season is scheduled to continue with Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky’s iconic “The Firebird” Feb. 12-14, the  “Future Voices” choreographic showcase March 18-21, and a balletic adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Little Mermaid” April 16-18.

At this time, the Civic Center will require social distancing, masks and temperature checks, but some of those policies might change by December. Additionally, hand sanitizer will be provided, no-touch bathroom faucets have been installed, and the entire theater will be disinfected between each performance.

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To best protect the patrons and dancers, Mills said all shows in the reimagined season will be performed in one act, run about an hour and be performed without intermission. The changes will be safer for eventgoers by eliminating crowding the Civic Center lobby, bathrooms and concession areas during intermissions but will also accommodate a radically altered rehearsal schedule for the company.

“Our rehearsal process is going to have to completely change. There’s going to have to be 10- to 15-minute cleaning sessions between each rehearsal, because we’re bringing the dancers into the space in cohorts. … Those groups will remain separate. They’ll never intersect with other groups in other areas of the company. So, our rehearsal process is really dictating the fact that we just cannot put on these elaborate two- and three-act ballets. … It’s just not possible,” Mills said.

The second half of OKC Ballet’s 2020-2021 season was originally slated to include the “Lady of the Camellias,” a sweeping adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ French novel, in February and a mixed bill of short ballets titled “Made in the U.S.A.” in April. Those shows have been postponed to 2022.

“Dancers are coming into the space, and they’re partnering – they’re touching, they’re lifting – and none of that’s going to happen unless they’re living with the person. So, think about that. I can only put two dancers together if they’re cohabiting together, whether they’re romantically involved or not, it doesn’t matter. But they have to be living together,” he said.

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