Kathleen Liechtenstein of Ballet Philippines on the Future
Ballet Philippines (BP) kicked off its 52nd season via âBP On Streamâ (via https://ballet.ph), showcasing the resilience of the Filipino artist through these very difficult times. This type of digital platform is among the few of its kind in the world.
BP’s website brings the arts to the public at home, in the office, in schools around the world, through educational and entertaining content.
I had the chance to interview the hardworking President of Ballet Philippines, Kathleen Liechtenstein, where she explained how BP has remained resilient.
How was BP’s 52nd season conceptualized, discussed and implemented?
Taking off from a very difficult 51st season brought on by the pandemic, like everyone else, we struggled, but with courage and hope, we are proud to have kept the ballet alive by launching our BP Onstream website. Our entire team, dancers, artistic and executive staff, all had to pivot and embrace new technologies to keep us in touch with our audience and with each other. We had to learn quickly and master the online lessons – our dancers had to learn to film themselves at home while virtually dancing together!
Our dancers continue to diligently follow the company’s classes to keep themselves in top form when the stage is once again available for live performances. We continued to create new works that we filmed in safe spaces while following strict health protocols. It is not an easy task, but we have accepted the challenges and achieved admirable results.
We quickly discovered that technology also erased all boundaries and allowed us to collaborate with teachers, choreographers and other creatives around the world, which gave birth to our Master Class series. As we continue with even greater determination in our 52nd season, we want to continue to raise morale through the arts and so we invite everyone to #KeepDancing with us on the virtual stage, BP OnStream.
Most private companies are going through financial difficulties because of the pandemic, how is BP surviving?
At BP, we also have financial challenges. We had to tighten our already very tight belts even more and think of ways outside the box in which we can continue to create works on rudimentary budgets. Thanks to our Board of Directors, our sponsors and donors, as well as other artists and creators who have generously shared their time and talent to collaborate with us, we continue to have the chance to shine a light. hope for those who need it through our video creations that we share on our virtual stage.
What are the highlights of the 52nd season?
We will showcase more compelling productions as part of the âOur Video Creationsâ section on our online platform, and invite more ballet masters who will continue to teach in their own online classrooms through BP Masterclasses.
Speaking of masters, we are privileged to welcome John McFall as a guest artist to come for Ballet Philippines this 52nd season. It is a true honor to work with such a visionary who, beyond his experience as artistic director, teacher, choreographer for the past 38 years, has also advocated and promoted engagement in the arts while helping to define and shape the future of the arts. .
Likewise, we continue to expand our section of the âEn Pointeâ website with relevant content from our network of contributors to offer useful and valuable information from which our audience can learn, especially in this time of pandemic. You also expect to see more collaborations with organizations such as the Natasha Goulbourm Foundation, where we address relevant issues such as mental health awareness for suicide prevention. We will take the partnership from the dance floor to the digital space through an online roundtable on Facebook Live.
I would also like to share some updates on BP Dance School. We do everything in the new normal. This means adapting through a full curriculum, our teaching method, our performance and our assessments for distance education. For example, our teachers give homework such as floor exercises and lesson combinations via a pre-recorded video.
Being online also gives us the opportunity to tap into our vast network of global artists, as well as reinforce the rigor and consistency required in dance training. Our young dancers can train consistently and safely, achieve their goals, take milestones and have a unique opportunity to undergo exclusive masterclasses and coaching from global artists.
One of the most important things for us is to reach out and continually deepen our relationship with our students and their parents so that we can respond to their ever-changing needs and situations. We want to reassure all parents and students that we are here. We will provide a consistent and solid dance education, do our best to provide a safe, effective and engaging training program, and be as responsive to students as possible.
Of course, there are exciting activities along the way: taking classes or being coached by world-class performers, video recitals, entry contests, etc. We will be there to help students take each new step and open doors for them.
What is your message to BP audiences, dancers and everyone who enjoys dancing?
We live in difficult times and through dance we share with you, our dear audience, a little respite, a little hope, and a lot of love. Together, we move forward with a renewed spirit, and we invite you to #KeepDancing with us!
Thank you very much for supporting BP! Let us #KeepDancing together its 52nd season!
For more information on Ballet Philippines see www.ballet.ph