Refuge Through Dance: Toledo Ballet classes, performances renewed

The past year has been one of pauses, cancellations and closings for many entities which provide entertainment and enrichment. As the pandemic moved beyond the one-year mark, many cherished cultural and entertainment options are still closed or curtailed. Except one. “We never went away,” said Vanessa Gardner, Toledo Ballet director of marketing and communications. “We’ve been pretty much in full swing, performing virtually and in the studio throughout the last year.”

Established in 1939, the Toledo Ballet hosts the longest consecutive running production of “The Nutcracker” in the nation, continuing a beloved tradition that has become synonymous with the holidays in Toledo. And in 2020, the Toledo Ballet continued that streak, the only ballet company to do so. Originally scheduled for in-person and virtual performance (an uptick in COVID-19 cases required performances to be virtual only), but the show continued.

Carrying On Performances and Classes

“We’ve been able to continue with our regular schedule by using distanced in-person or virtual presentations,” Gardner said. In-person performances have been held at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle or in the Ballet’s studio, and most in-person performances have also been available virtually. In addition, the Ballet’s summer dance intensives program last year was held outdoors, weather permitting, in cooperation with Metroparks Toledo.

The Ballet offered in-person performances until November of last year, and then began again in March. The most recent in-person performances were April’s “Moving Soliloquies,” an original production from Michael Lang, Toledo Ballet resident Director / Choreographer, and May’s “Dancing Fairy Tales,” featuring the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and others.

Ballet classes have continued on a regular schedule, offered in person and virtually. According to Zac Vasser, Ballet President and CEO, maintaining the schedule has been critical. “Continuing our classes reinforces the values that matter to us: hard work, creativity and instilling a sense of confidence in our students,” he said.

This summer, the schedule for the Toledo Ballet is devoted to camps and intensives.

Summer Intensives:

The Broadway DANCE Experience with the Toledo Ballet’s Artistic Director Lisa Mayer-Lang and Director / Choreographer Michael Lang – June 28 – July 2

Summer Ballet Intensives

Melissa Gelfin DePoli, Principal Dancer of the Cincinnati Ballet – June 21-25

Renato Penteado, Former Principal Dancer of the Miami City Ballet – July 26-30

Lauren Fadeley, Principal Soloist of the Miami City Ballet – August 2-6

Summer Camps:

Alice in Wonderland & Other Fairy Tales Camp (ages 4-5) – June 21-25

Jungle Book & Animals of the Wild Camp (ages 4-5) – July 12-16

Dance Exploration Camp (ages 6-8) – June 21-25 and July 12-16

The Nutcracker Camp (ages 7-12) – July 19-23

Toledo Ballet looks forward to, and is preparing for, another season this fall. And note on your calendar now,  the 81st annual performance of “The Nutcracker” will take place on December 10-12.