“Dreams”

"Dreams" of Amherst Ballet

Remember the days when you had to stay in your room almost all day to avoid catching COVID-19? How did you cope with the boredom, anxiety, and depression from being so alone and isolated?

Our spring online performance, “Dreams” captures the imaginative worlds in the mind of a girl cooped up in her bedroom. Through painting, dancing, and reading, that is, through the magic of art, she rediscovers colors and meaning in her surroundings.

The idea came to Artistic Director Madeleine Bonn early on in the pandemic when she hosted the Social Dis-Dance Project. With the intention of providing dancers with a creative outlet, social connection, and feeling of unity and support, the project called for and received short original videos from dancers all over the world. The creative energy represented in the entries helped Madeleine realize the power of dance in this troubled environment of the pandemic. “Dance, painting, and literature can always serve as a refuge – even an escape – in times of difficulty. Art and culture give us a way to connect, even when there is no one around,” says Madeleine.

For this show, dancers worked as hard as any other years despite added challenges. They spent many hours rehearsing in the studio with masks on, windows open, and safe distance always kept in between them.

 

Dreams Rehearsal
Noe Rueschemeyer-Bailey and Caleb Ballantine Rehearsing with Madeleine Bonn; Photo by Reiko Sono
Elizabeth Pangburn
Elizabeth Pangburn with Rhiannon Kusleika; Photo by Reiko Sono

One important feature of this project was the costume. Dispersed throughout the “dreams” are COVID fairies including those of “zoom.” With her expertise, Elizabeth Pangburn created fairies with laptop heads using wires and foam.

On the day of the performance, dancers were thrilled to see their rehearsal space converted into a filming studio with white backdrops and professional lighting. The bedroom set constructed and created by Benjamin Bailey and Mary Bonn occupied a corner of it.

Filming was done by videographers, Liam Fitzpatrick and Derek Taylor of Liam Fitzpatrick Productions, LLC.  

Liam Fitzpatrick, Derek Taylor, and Shotaro Sessions filming Olivia Daman; Photo by Reiko Sono

Reiko Sono edited the footage into a performance film. Though an experienced photographer, Reiko had never done film editing at this scale. “It was not easy. I had to watch tutorial videos every time I wanted to use a new trick and ended up spending hours and hours editing and learning how to edit at the same time. It was worth it, however. Derek used a hand-held camera and got very close to dancers, giving his footage a very personal feeling that one can never get from watching a performance on stage. I think I was able to make the best of it and successfully created a dreamlike atmosphere throughout the film. I’m really grateful that Madeleine gave me this opportunity,” says Reiko.

The film premieres at 6:00 pm on Saturday, July 24 at https://youtu.be/78psxLqtUg4

This performance was supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council and Hadley Cultural Council, a local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

As well as the following sponsors:

Cindy Owens Realtor
Atkins Farms Country Market
Amherst Martial Arts
Attorney Julia Rueschemeyer
Mary Ann's Dance and More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *