Milwaukee Ballet preps for Feb. 25 return to stage

Dancers with the Milwaukee Ballet

Milwaukee Ballet announced Wednesday, Feb. 10 that it will open its doors to approximately 50 people per show for the first time in a year -- bringing performances back later this month.

Milwaukee's newest public health order -- Order 4.4 -- relaxes gathering restrictions from 10 people to 25% of capacity, where space allows, and gives Milwaukee Ballet new opportunities to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.  

"Returning to the stage during this pandemic is like recovering from injury," said Michael Pink, Milwaukee Ballet artistic director. "Rehabilitation is slow and steady, you must commit to a goal and keep working diligently towards it. That’s what we’re doing here at Milwaukee Ballet."

Milwaukee Ballet made a step towards returning to live performances in December 2020 with an abbreviated adaptation of The Nutcracker, presenting 26 shows to 10 subscribers per performance at its new Baumgartner Center for Dance. 

"We went into that production knowing the audience size would be small, but our dancers were grateful to perform live, and we were committed to providing inspiration to those who were comfortable joining us at the theater," Pink said.

Pink said Milwaukee Ballet resumed school and academy operations in July 2020 and, to date, has experienced "zero transmission." That, coupled with The Nutcracker running without incident, gives the organization confidence in its health and safety protocols, he said.

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Milwaukee Ballet’s next production, To The Pointe  -- Feb. 25 to March 7 -- offers audience members an up-close look at the technical expertise of its dancers and excerpts from world-famous classical ballets. 

Milwaukee Ballet’s health and safety protocols, developed by its own committee in consultation with the City of Milwaukee, require masks in Baumgartner Center for Dance for all audience members, dancers, and staff at all times. The show is one hour with no intermission. 

To the Pointe will also be filmed and available On Demand thanks in part to support from United Performing Arts Fund Kasey’s Fund. 

For full details of Milwaukee Ballet’s reimagined 2020-21 Season, visit milwaukeeballet.org

'The Nutcracker' takes virtual stage for Milwaukee Ballet

The COVID-19 pandemic can't stop the decades-long Milwaukee tradition, though it is taking a different form than past performances.