• Asya Zlatina

Ballet in Your Backyard, Christmas in July


Atlantic City packs a punch, giving bigger entertainment cities some stiff competition. But did you know that the Arts are alive here, too, with some great ballet dancers right in your backyard? Get to know them better! Founded in 1982 by Phyllis Papa, the Atlantic City Ballet performs at Caesars Circus Maximus, rehearses at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. The company was working on new choreography, Papa and Sinatra, when COVID restrictions placed them on hold. As the temporary stretched on, the artists found ways to survive their circumstances at home. Rebecca Jones (@rebeccajones_) an England native, resumed her ballet barre in her living room, with an opportunity for anyone to join her on her YouTube channel! “My neighbors definitely think I'm insane at this point with the amount of dance and yoga they've seen on my balcony”, she says. In addition to sharing home workouts and classes, she and her boyfriend run “The Healthy Hippo” @thehealthyhippo609 -an açai bowl and smoothie shop in Ventnor, open every day. Tullio Cata, from Rome, also works at home to keep his ballet technique up to level, stretching, doing yoga and live streaming classes. But the cramped spaces don’t give him the freedom to jump and soar. He misses the “allegro” (musical term for upbeat tempo, used to describe the last big jumping portion of a traditional ballet class.) But a plus to the extra time? He’s developed a passion for gardening and started his growing his first vegetables! See him at @tullio16. Caitlin McElroy @caitlinodaimin echoed Tullio’s sentiments on jumping. She says she misses having space to move, and despite creatively turning her bedroom into “a little studio with a piece of “Harlequin Marley” floor and a ballet barre [I] made out of PVC pipe”, it’s just not the same. On her extra time, she’s picked up video editing, even editing the company’s in-quarantine Carmen excerpt, but she’s looking forward to getting back in the studio to continue Papa and Sinatra, which will even have a new group tap number! So you’ll want to check that out in your post-social distancing era.


More to come on these fantastic dancers, but meanwhile you can support the ballet in your city as a win-win: get a chance for some great prizes (get those trendy gift baskets!) by entering their $25 Christmas in July raffle. And see more fun that the dancers are up to with the ballet’s #StayatHome segment by visiting https://www.acballet.org/stayathomewithacballet. Photos by Craig Billow #supportlocal #keeptheartsalive

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