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Local ballet conservatory impacts dancers worldwide with virtual classes

The St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory is using technology to transcend borders and enter dancers' homes, no matter where they might be.


Once schools got shut down because of the coronavirus, the St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory did, too.

“Not just in the ballet studio, I think everybody. Everybody is still in a surreal mindset,” Artistic Director Servy Gallardo said. 

Two weeks ago, the studio was packed. Now, dancers are learning at home. Even though the studio is empty, a projector is on and live streams are up and running. 

“It was strange! It was really like, What? What is happening? How am I supposed to correct the kids?’” Gallardo said.

Ballet classes happen through Zoom and live classes on Facebook and Instagram. Gallardo and student Brianna Melton lead the way. 

“It was a weird feeling because I think dancers are so used to being with each other and close in proximity. Doing a live class is different, but we're grateful,” Melton said.

They found a way to keep students motivated. Technology is allowing the conservatory to transcend borders and enter dancers' homes, no matter where they might be.

“It gives me the opportunity to express myself in a lot of different ways. Even though nobody is watching you can still do it no matter where you are,” dancer Sofia Ferrigno said. 

Ferrigno is watching from New Jersey. Dancers from 14 different countries have tuned in and live classes get more than 13,000 views.

“It's really cool to know this is possible because I think it's something that wouldn't have happened otherwise. There's always a positive in everything,” Melton said.

So far artists from the Netherlands, Turkey, Russia and Cuba have been following these classes. They're free and open to anyone and are inspiring hope. Gallardo says they'll continue doing them even after regular classes start again.

“If we all support each other and we all care for each other we can go through anything,” Gallardo said. 

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