The Ballet Theatre of Maryland will perform with an indoor audience for the first time since the pandemic began, starting with three shows this weekend.
Professional dancers with the theater will perform “The Little Mermaid,” which will be a mix between the 1837 edition and the Disney edition, said Artistic Director Nicole Kelsch.
There is a maximum of 100 audience members per performance in order to maintain the 25% capacity of the ballroom at the Westin Annapolis. Masks will be required throughout the performance.
Seating will be pre-arranged to provide adequate social distancing, according to the ballet website.
People who want to watch from home can purchase tickets to stream the live show as well. Support has been great, Kelsch said.
Kelsch was hoping for months that restrictions would loosen up enough to do in-person performances again.
“The shows present themselves best in person, streaming is good, but experiencing it live showcases the show and dancer the best,” Kelsch said.
The company’s last in-person show was “Dracula” in October but was outdoors and “Nutcracker” was a live drive-in show in December.
The back and forth of being allowed in person to allowed only virtual has been disheartening for Kelsch.
“We knew it wouldn’t stay virtual forever, just had to ride it out. We want to make sure the dancers and community stay safe,” Kelsch said. “It is definitely a much better feeling to be doing an in-person show.”
Kelsch is excited to be back performing in person and said the crowd brings more energy to the dancers. “The dancers are thrilled to have a live audience,” she said.
The dancers take a class every morning that has been split into half students in person and half on Zoom. They haven’t had a class together since December, Kelsch said.
“It’s been a little challenging but they have adapted really well. They are happy to be able to dance since a lot of companies haven’t,” she said.
On Thursday, Kelsch found out that they can have more capacity in the studio, so no more split classes.
As the director, Kelsch said it is rewarding to be able to put on performances in person again.
Kelsch said the audience can expect a “colorful and fun journey under the sea with a lot of humor.”
The Ballet is planning to have outdoor performances starting in April, Kelsch said. She said it feels like a weight is being lifted off her shoulders to be able to get back to some normalcy.
- Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.
This article has been updated to accurately reflect how many people are allowed to be in the audience. It is 100.