The arts in Philadelphia have always been an important part of not only the city’s identity but also its cultural landscape. In this era of coronavirus craziness, several local artists are doing their part to make sure that doesn’t change. Pennsylvania Ballet First Soloist Nayara Lopes is one of those artists. Lopes and other dancers are offering online ballet classes every day at 11 a.m. ET via Instagram.

“It was an idea from our director and he contacted Sterling Baca, our principal dancer with the company to reach out to the dancers and see who would volunteer themselves to help the community to keep intact with the dancers, with the dance and, you know, for us to be alive. It’s a difficult time. Sterling reached out for us to keep dancing so that we could keep dancing alive somehow,” says Lopes.

Whether you’re an experienced dancer or just curious about ballet, the class has something to offer.

“We cannot do anything that is too hard. People watching are learning from the beginning to the end. We try and do simple combinations that work for every age. It’s quite good to be challenged sometimes. It’s a good level for beginners to challenge themselves and for professionals to keep in shape,” Lopes says.

Lopes said it was easy to go online with classes since she and her fellow dancers try to challenge themselves every day even when they are not in the studio.

“These are our routines. We are doing them in our houses so definitely we have to adjust but it’s something that we do every day. You’re going to see us stretching, warming up, doing barre, doing center, jumping and even turning. We’re taking it seriously because ballet is such a thing that if you stop, you start to feel like you’re losing a lot of your technique. Like most of the ballet world, I joined those classes to keep in shape. It’s not just this easy thing or easy class. We’re actually sweating and we’re taking this serious to keep in shape for real,” she says.

So far, the Pennsylvania Ballet has a few digital classes online and is happy with the response thus far.

“We’ve had a bigger response than we expected. There’s a lot of positivity. There was a lot of friends from other companies like the Houston Ballet or Sarasota. My boyfriend, Sterling Baca and I know a lot of people abroad so we could push them virtually and it was really, really nice to see the results,” Lopes says.

If you want to join one of the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Instagram live classes, there’s still time.

“We’re definitely going to keep doing it because I feel like the community in Philly needs to see us instead of other companies. We need to have a company here to represent us. The Pennsylvania ballet is alive and we will be here with all of you,” Lopes says.

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