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Connecting during COVID-19: Royal New Zealand Ballet

Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services and innovative initiatives online, and over the phone.

This story is part of Rātā’s Connecting during COVID-19 series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.

Feel like getting all dressed up for a night at the ballet? The Royal New Zealand Ballet have got just the thing.

While they can’t invite guests to a live performance, The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) have launched ‘Live in your Living Room’, an initiative to entertain and inspire families stuck at home in their bubbles during COVID-19.

Each weekend RNZB streams a free online performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week from their back catalogue in an effort to connect dance-lovers across the world.

RNZB Executive Director Lester McGrath says he has been amazed at the positive response they have had from viewers, with more than five million minutes  watched over the last five weeks.

He says stories have flooded in of people getting dressed to the nines and sharing the experience with friends via Zoom, and whānau snuggling up on the couch to watch with their tamariki.

Lester says dancers had been taking part in classes over Zoom during the lockdown, but now that Level Three has come into effect RNZB have opened their studios.

Strict safety guidelines and social distancing are being adhered to, he says, and the dancers are working hard to stay strong and flexible in anticipation of shows starting up once the Alert Levels drop.

He says RNZB has also adapted their education and community programme to support young people who are studying dance and movement while the Alert Levels are in place.

Classes and workshops are being held online, and a number of helpful resources are available on their website.

Lester says the dramatic shift in the way they work on digital platforms has given light to opportunities to deliver their services in new ways.

While they are looking forward to being able to host live performances on the stage in the near future, he says RNZB will continue to explore opportunities to utilise technology as they move forward.

Rātā Foundation provides funding to the Royal New ZEaland Ballet under the Participate focus area, which aims to create opportunities for participation and learning in creative activities.

To see what’s coming up for Live in your Living Room, click here:

For more on the Royal New Zealand Ballet visit the website: