Since the first self-isolation orders went into effect, artists, comedians, musicians, and other performers have been compelled to find ways to continue making their art available to the public. The students at the Juilliard School arts conservatory, who are currently unable to attend classes as the school is closed, are no different. This week, thanks to the hard work of producers and faculty members behind the scenes, these students were able to put together a stirring performance of Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro,” complete with modern dance accompaniment and some at-home touches.
Juilliard alumni like Jon Batiste, Laura Linney, Patti Lupone, Yo-Yo Ma, Bradley Whitford, and Itzhak Perlman joined the students for the sprawling 9-and-a-half-minute rendition, which evolves from a traditional arrangement to a jazz tune and then back again. Visual components like choreographed dance routines, short silent act-outs, and the occasional coffee maker are provided by the non-instrument-playing students.
“Keigwin and his co-choreographer, Nicole Wolcott, created a storyboard based on states of being and emotional concepts like ‘Interior Lives’ or ‘Soothing,’” writes faculty member Benjamin Sosland on the Juilliard website. He goes on to explain that the dancers learned the choreography during Zoom sessions and their videos were then pieced together later to give the impression of unity. Similarly, the musicians recorded their lines individually and the audio was then cut together to create the full song.
“The scale of the production is huge, with literally hundreds of short videos and dozens of audio tracks being layered together to create an online art piece,” Sosland writes. “It is a collective endeavor that captures a snapshot of a specific global moment and the possibilities of creative connection in an uncertain world.”
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