After canceling its spring tours due to COVID-19, American Ballet Theatre recently announced that it's also calling off its eight-week season at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House.
It's going to be a huge hit to the company's bottom line. Nevertheless, ABT decided to send its dancers a gift last week: a piece of vinyl flooring from Harlequin Floors. Although company members might be confined to dancing at home for the foreseeable future, at least they'll have the proper surface.
ABT corps member Patrick Frenette
Other major ballet companies have started similar initiatives, and Harlequin is busy fulfilling the influx of orders with a skeleton crew that's keeping social distance inside its New Jersey warehouse.
ABT director of production James Whitehill says the idea to send its dancers flooring came from corps de ballet member Luigi Crispino, who found out that Harlequin was selling small sections for home studios. Crispino asked if company management could help the dancers navigate that process.
ABT polled the dancers to find out how many would be interested. Then they placed a single order for 68 pieces, paid for it all and shipped them out to company members isolating everywhere from Australia to Hawaii. They've also since offered a free code for ballet masters and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School faculty members to order floors from Harlequin directly.
The floor ABT sent is Harlequin's Cascade surface—the same one the company uses in its studios and onstage. The total cost, including shipping, averaged out to about $100 per floor.
"The dancers will be able to keep them for good," says Whitehill, "and use them hopefully not during another pandemic, but during happier times when they're just looking for something to do on the weekends."