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COVID-19 means changes for Tulsa Ballet

Posted at 2:52 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 09:08:32-04

TULSA, Okla. — The pandemic caused stress and anxiety for people across the nation fighting to keep jobs, food on the table, and so much more.

Slowly, small businesses, restaurants, and others are beginning to recover, but it is taking longer for the entertainment industry..

2 Works for You sat down with Tulsa Ballet Dancer Jaimi Cullen to hear her experience and about how things changed due to COVID-19.

Cullen started dancing when she was four years old. After 24 years of training, March 2020 was supposed to be her first time in a principal role, but the dream was snatched away as that performance was canceled due to COVID-19.

“It was a really terrible feeling,” Cullen said.

She spent months in the studio, rehearsing and preparing for this big day.

“It was my first principal role, it’s something I had been working my entire career for and I was so ready and so excited. Now I am going to have to wait to do that for a while,” Cullen said.

Cullen didn't just lose her lead role in "Vendetta, A Mafia Story." She also canceled her wedding day.

“I just really had to tell myself stay positive and stay hopeful and do one thing at a time. It’s very easy get ahead of myself and start stressing about things that haven’t even happened yet,” Cullen said.

After filing for unemployment, Cullen didn't know how long she would be at home, away from her passion.

It took nearly eight months, but now she's back in he studio preparing for the first show from the Tulsa Ballet since March, but things have changed.

The choreographer is teaching from his home in Boston and dancers are learning through video chat.

Masks are required during practice, and after seven months at home, the dancers eased back into their norm.

“As a dancer, this time was especially hard because our bodies aren’t really just supposed to stop for 6 months. So trying to stay in shape at home, without a dance studio, or a gym was very hard," Cullen said.

After so much uncertainty in a career, completely reliant on the people who come to see the show, the dancers at the Tulsa Ballet are happy to be back doing what they love to do.

"I am just really thankful for every day I have in the studio and I am grateful for every performance,” Cullen said.

The first show is Friday, October 30th.

Audiences can purchase $25 tickets to watch virtually during one of the three live stream nights on Friday, November 6th at 8:00 pm, Saturday, November 14th at 3:00 pm, and Sunday, November 22nd at 5:00 pm. Viewers can purchase virtual tickets here.

The live performance is available to subscribers only. To subscribe and see it live, click here.

To learn more about the performance click here.

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