Madison Egyud began her formal ballet training at the age of 6 at Princeton Ballet School. She is now a dancer with American Repertory Ballet and a faculty member at PBS, which is the official school of American Repertory Ballet.
It sounds like she made her dream come true. And she did, although, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the dream looks a little different than she might have first imagined.
“It’s obviously different,” said Egyud during an interview during class in the school’s Princeton Shopping Center location, where she and all her young students were wearing masks, as they practice their moves to the accompaniment of a live pianist.
“It’s a challenge having to teach in the studio and on Zoom as well,” she adds, “but I think we’re learning and we’re adjusting and it’s really going great.… It’s fun to be a part of their growth.”
“We are continuing to find new ways to engage the students and create new programs,” said the school’s Executive Director Julie Diana Hench. She added that if there is a silver lining to this new normal, “some students have reported that they feel more comfortable trying new styles in online classes… and we have extended our ability to connect with dancers in Japan and Italy and Brazil.”
Artistic organizations in the community are banding together to find ways to keep to their mission.
“Reaching out to our colleagues, putting our brains together and trying to figure out how to make all of this happen has been pretty wonderful,” Hench said.
Following the lead of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, who last month did a socially-distant live performance outdoors at Palmer Square, the school is doing a similar live recording and later this month will be performing Nutcracker Suite: Scenes from a Holiday Classic, outdoors, in a partnership with Main Street Highland Park.
ARB dancers will also be featured in an upcoming Holiday POPS! virtual concert event in early December.
And the company will announce it’s Spring season soon. Hensch says, “… hopefully doing live performances and also having a digital season as well. Everyone has different comfort levels we’re really trying to work with everyone to meet their needs.”
Please subscribe now and support the local journalism YOU rely on and trust.
Michael Mancuso may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org