N.B. group brings ballet from the theatres to the shorelines

When COVID-19 caused curtains to close on live, in-person performances last year, the Atlantic Ballet Canada, like many other arts and culture organizations in the Maritimes, had to get creative and pivot.

The result was an idea to bring the ballet from the theatre to the shorelines – through a new series called Ballet by the Ocean where the dancers perform choreography against a scenic seaside backdrop.

"It's actually very majesteuse and it's magical," says board chair Rachel Maillet-Bard.

"You're sitting there, and you have professional dancers making beautiful scenes and so forth, but in addition to that, then you hear the birds and you see the water."

The series takes place on a protected wetland in the area of Grand-Digue, N.B., with choreography that was inspired and created specifically for the location. It also takes inspiration from the pandemic that led to this venture.

"We have boxes with clear panelling all around the stage," says dancer Cameron Fraser-Monroe.

"Where we would normally have wings when we exit the stage, and when we leave we end up going into these boxes and I think for (choreographer Igor Dobrovolskiy) that was inspired by that isolation."

There are some unique challenges too for the dancers when contending with the elements, with the breeze blowing off the water making balancing more difficult.

"One of the things that's very different to the years I've spent as a professional ballet dancer is the amount of sunscreen, bug spray and hair spray that goes into this performance," says Fraser-Monroe.

The dancer says it's a very nice experience to be able to get outside and perform once again.

The next series is coming up from September 4 to the 19th. Details are available on the Ballet By The Ocean website.