Show goes on for Steamboat Dance Theatre |

Show goes on for Steamboat Dance Theatre

Dancers rehearse an African-fusion number for last year's concert at Steamboat Dance Theatre. This year’s outing will be via a virtual format due to the pandemic. (File photo)

The show will go on for Steamboat Dance Theatre’s annual concert — but in its 49th year, it will be in a virtual format. This year’s theme is music videos with a collection of 10 music videos, each featuring a handful of dancers, filmed at multiple locations throughout Steamboat Springs.

Knowing that the organization couldn’t put on a traditional annual concert due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, Steamboat Dance Theatre president Rachel Radetsky had the idea for music videos instead.

“A lot of music videos are heavily dance based, so it was a great fit,” she said. “I think the viewers will be blown away. The videos turned out great, and I don’t think they will be anything like what people might expect from a virtual dance performance.”

The videos will be presented virtually from a streaming service, and the production team will be emceeing the event live and interviewing each choreographer to talk to them about the process this year.

For Jessica Whalen, who is a first time choreographer with Steamboat Dance Theatre, it was the perfect year to try something new and step out of her comfort zone.

“My dancers were supportive, received the choreography well and made light of a situation we were all uncertain of,” Whalen said. “The virtual nature of this year’s show couldn’t have been better timing. A lot of my dancers grew up in the era of watching music videos, dreaming of being on MTV, so when we heard about the theme for the show, it was a no-brainer to make those dreams come true, even if it’s only on Steamboat TV.”

The unique nature of this year’s event allowed for even more creativity from other choreographers.

Chelsea Beers, another choreographer, described the process of choosing her own set and stage — something that she said is completely different.

“We got to choose areas that went with the theme of our pieces, visualize the dance in 3D and use props that we would never be able to use on stage,” Beers said. “A lot of choreographers chose beautiful and well-known areas around town, and our videographer, Ben Saheb, was really able to showcase the beauty of both our town and the dance culture we’ve created.”

This year’s dancers had to be adaptable and flexible, from Zoom rehearsals to dancing with masks on. Rehearsals began in January after being postponed several weeks, and many adjustments were made over the past several months.

Choreographer and dancer Jessica LeBlanc said that it was a group collaboration to get the show ready for the spring.

“The choreographers brought their creativity and vision, and the dancers brought their flexibility, smiling — masked — faces and amazing energy, and together, we created a virtual show capturing the spirit of Steamboat Dance Theatre.”

While Radetsky noted the pivot was a challenge at first, especially after 48 years of a traditional annual performance, she said the creativity this year was unbelievable. In the end, a show came together that the entire organization is proud of.

“We all know that this last year has been tough on everyone,” Beers said. “We proved that no matter the circumstances, the show can go on.”

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