Technical translation: Sarasota Ballet adapts to the filmed performances | Arts and entertainment

Technical translation: Sarasota Ballet adapts to the filmed performances |  Arts and entertainment

When he is on stage, the ballet dancer Daniel Pratt feels completely in his element.

The 30-year-old Sarasota Ballet Coryphee dancer says there are times when he performs in front of a live audience when he feels absolutely beautiful and satisfied that he is giving it his all.

If he gets off the stage and sees himself on video, it may be a different story. With a live performance, Pratt knows that he has the only chance to show a good performance and leave everything outside. But with a video recording, Pratt can focus on small details in his dance that rub him in the wrong direction.

It may not always feel right, but it’s usually exactly what the ballet technical team needs. For much of the pandemic, the Sarasota Ballet switched to a digital format, with the company’s dancers performing a series of filmed performances streamed by the organization’s typical personal audience at home.

“At first I didn’t like watching myself,” said Pratt. “It’s like listening to voicemail. That was an obstacle, but now I’m in a place where I can’t say I enjoy it, but I use it as a learning tool to watch what I’m doing. “

While Pratt and other dancers learned to play a different type of performance, ballet technical staff had to learn how to properly videotape that performance.

“Everything was completely different before the pandemic,” said Andres Paz, a videographer who is now helping to edit the program videos together for the ballet. “After the pandemic, everything was broadcast digitally so the dancers could keep dancing.”

The company’s sixth digital program, due to premiere April 23, is a collection of works by Sir Frederick Ashton. The preparation for “Valses nobles et sentimentales”, “The Path to the Garden of Paradise” and “Façade” requires a joint effort by the ballet lighting specialist, the videographers, choreographers and actors so that the video looks exactly right.

Staff strive for authenticity when lining up the performers and turning on the lights. You want the video to feel like it would in person on the audience’s screens. Much of the company’s long-term employees require different skills and approaches.

Assistant producer Margaret Barbieri directs the cast from their seats.

Assistant producer Margaret Barbieri, who staged the performances for the sixth program, leads the stage performers at a distance with a microphone. It’s her favorite job, but she admits the new approach has been a trial and a tribulation.

“You can’t say, ‘Oh, this was the last time I applied to this (program),'” said Barbieri. “Every ballet is different.”

Much of that difference and focus is on getting the right amount of color and lighting. This is where the resident lighting designer Aaron Muhl comes into play. He describes his current job as a rotating process of monitoring both the live stage and the video coming through the cameras making sure the right amount of light and color is shown on the stage for it to be in Video looks authentic. Often times, the end result is that performers go through their movements on a brightly lit stage that looks correct on video.

Increasing and decreasing the intensity and color of the light to match the mood and emotion of a production is Muhl’s goal in every production.

“The camera is very sensitive to some colors and not as sensitive to others,” said Muhl. “I find that, in contrast to the live stage, I saturate colors for the camera. It has to do with the balance between what is on stage and what it should look like and what the camera is actually recording. Sometimes the changes are minimal. And sometimes there are extraordinarily drastic changes. “

Paz looks at the filmed result during rehearsal and makes sure that the light, color and sound are as they should be, as if you were on a live show. Everyone’s retina is different, and everyone has a different type of screen – be it a laptop, iPhone, tablet, or more – to watch the shows, and Paz and the videography team work hard to make the programs consistent on everyone look device.

“Every time something changes, we immediately see it on the computer to make sure we stay true to the vision of the choreographer who created the ballet,” said Paz. “… these are moving bodies. What you want to do with the shot is make sure you are getting the best light. “

Aaron Muhl is on hand to make sure the lighting feels right and to adjust the levels to get it there.

Lauren Ostrander, a Coryphee dancer performing in the sixth program, says she is learning visually and has tried to look at her performance videos with a more objective eye.

“I’m going to literally close one eye and move the phone very far away from me and try to see it the way the majority of the audience might see it,” Ostrander said. “I realized that they weren’t taking apart every single movement of the little finger.”

It cannot be denied that Pratt, Ostrander and many other artists and staff are looking forward to dancing in front of an audience again, but at this moment they feel generally good about dancing at all.

“I love … to see the product of your hard work,” said Ostrander. “We’re definitely doing our best. Reason enough to get up and work every day. “

Joseph Hubbard

Joseph Hubbard is a seasoned journalist passionate about uncovering stories and reporting on events that shape our world. With a strong background in journalism, he has dedicated his career to providing accurate, unbiased, and insightful news coverage to the public.

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