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When COVID rules don't yet let you present ballet indoors, the solution was clear: Do it outdoors, instead

DAVID F. ASHTON - As dancers interpreted a segment of the Swan Lake ballet, bystanders gathered to take in the free performance in this unique setting. A most unique ballet event occurred in the Eastmoreland neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, June 12, along S.E. Reed College Place – as the Classical Ballet Academy of Sellwood welcomed the public to a one-day-only "Open Air Performance Series", free of charge.

Eight stages were set up in the wide grassy median of this split boulevard -- there to offer scenes from eight famous classical ballets: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Alice in Wonderland, Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Firebird, Cinderella, and Snow White.

"Our students – all 250 of them, ranging in age from age from 3 to 18 – have been isolated at home, and doing everything online, both academic school and dance instruction," explained the academy's director, Sarah Rigles.

"Last December we really wanted to do something 'in person', and we came up with what we called 'Nutcracker Vignettes' that we presented in the same neighborhood. Now, in June, with the support of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, we were also able to put on more shows here along Reed College Place," Rigles told THE BEE.

DAVID F. ASHTON - As seen from backstage, spectators gathered in the street to enjoy the ballet dancers performing an excerpt from Coppelia. "Our students were so excited about the opportunity to perform again for live audiences!" Rigles continued. "I believe we succeeded in our mission of bringing the community together, and giving hope – both to our dancers, and to the community at large."

Since the stages were spread out over two city blocks, an audience estimate was difficult to make, Rigles remarked. "Our volunteers say they believe approximately 1,000 people viewed at least some of the programs on our eight stages, presenting twelve different classical scenes, and two contemporary dances."

"We thank our key volunteers: Lindsay Lichtenwalter, JoAnne Cheechov, Kris Marcus, Matt Marcus, Tracie Erlandson, Sissy Dawson, Jason Davis, Ralph Welker, Mark Molchan, and Kayla Scrivner," Rigles acknowledged. "And, we're also so grateful for the Eastmoreland neighbors who were very accommodating and kind to allow us to hold this event, almost in their front yards!"

Learn more about Classical Ballet Academy by going online – www.classicalballet.net


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