TRD and VBT Ensemble Virtual Summer Solo Concert

Words by Dr. Lynette Hauser,
Associate Director TRDance Ensemble, and 
Jaime Simpson, Associate Director VBT Ensemble
and TRDance Academy Director
Images by Sara Bobulinski

Todd Rosenlieb Dance Ensemble and the Virginia Ballet Theater Ensemble will be performing their Summer Solo Concert virtually this year. Ticket holders will be able to view the concert from Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 8 pm through Monday August 17, 2020 at 10 pm.

The dancers of the Todd Rosenlieb Dance Ensemble and Virginia Ballet Theatre Ensemble consist of high school, college and post college graduates. They will be performing solo works in both modern and ballet. 

The concert is a collection of mostly new original pieces, along with one solo variation from a full length classical ballet. The original works were choreographed by current TRD and VBT company members, TRD Academy instructors, GSA graduates, and other Hampton Roads locals. In May, both Ensembles put out a call for choreographers, who then submitted a video of their concept. A virtual audition for dancers followed, and the choreographers were able to work with the Ensemble Directors to cast their dancers from those selected. The pieces are quite diverse in theme and character, and were inspired by personal experiences, music, nature, and current political and social themes. 

The majority of the pieces in the concert were recorded in the Benjack Studio Theater inside the TRDance Center, and one was filmed on location in Norfolk. 

A male dancer in black pants and a white t-shirt appears to be running while leaning backwards, giving the impression of a grand movement.

The ensemble concert is an annual summer occurrence at the Benjack Studio Theater, although this year we had to reimagine the concept in order to put together a performance without a live audience. We knew that dancers and choreographers were itching to move and create; we were excited to establish this virtual performance that allowed a safe space for them to share their artistry.

In the initial stage of this process, virtual auditions were definitely an adjustment; seeing multiple dancers on a screen is a significant change from seeing them dancing in person. During filming, we discovered just how much stage lighting for video differs from how lighting would be used for a live performance. What looks dim and muted in person is much brighter on video, so we changed how we used the lights and adjusted costumes as a result. 

We are thankful to have the opportunity to bring a performance to the community this summer. The arts are such an amazing way to relate and connect; though we may not all be in the same space for this concert, we are thrilled to still have the chance to share the art of dance.

Anyone looking to purchase tickets can do so here.