With live performances being canceled all over the world, the art of Ballet is adapting rapidly. As my dear friend Kevin McKenzie (Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre ) puts it: “…the art form of ballet, until it returns to theaters or live performance, will take a secondary role to the art form of filming it for the foreseeable future.”
At SNB we are fortunate to have found two very skilled, imaginative young men (Lyric Burt and Taylor Wilson of TL Solutions) to tackle the job of filming dance for virtual performances.
TL Solutions offers services that include photography, video production, web design, digital and social media, marketing, and financial processes. Taylor is the “left brained” member of the team with a background in business, financial analysis and technology while Lyric is “right brained” and killed in storytelling, editing, photography, and developing marketing campaigns that captivate audiences and promote brand-awareness for clients.
I had the good fortune to meet Lyric when SNB began to present Brew, Brats and Ballet annually at the Reno Little Theater, where Lyric was in charge of creating digital marketing campaigns to attract audiences. At the same time, Taylor hired a Financial Intern at Crisis Support Services of Nevada who happened to be married to one of our SNB dancers. Lyric told me: “Taylor and I immediately fell in love with SNB as we are both dance fans thanks to our mentor, Bruce Keller, at Portland State University’s College of the Arts: School of Theater & Film. We spent many nights at Bruce’s house sipping bourbon and talking set and lighting design for dance productions that Bruce had worked on. The work TL Solutions is doing with SNB
feels like one of the most natural paths we have taken. We have the education and background to appreciate the art of what SNB does and to translate that to a digital platform.”
Working in the theater is a natural fit for Lyric: “My family first moved to the Reno area in the early 1990’s when I was about eight years old. My father is a musician and my mother loved the theatre, so I was put on a stage as soon as I could walk.” In elementary school, Lyric became part of the TMCC Talent Academy, performed on stage throughout middle and high school and in his senior year went back to the TMCC campus to study video broadcasting and media production. “This program changed my life and gave me the fundamental skills to build a career in media production,” he told me.
In 2010 Lyric and his partner, Taylor, moved to Oregon to attend Portland State University’s College of the Arts: School of Theatre & Film. Lyric shared that they both chose to earn degrees together in the same program: “It was our dream to work together in theater and media production.”
After graduation, the pair moved back to Reno, and Lyric was “blessed” to be hired as Company Manager at Reno Little Theater where he learned what it takes to run a theatre production company. After almost five years with Reno Little Theater, the couple were in a financial position to start their own corporation and invest in high-quality media production equipment.
TL Solutions has converted Reno Little Theater’s rehearsal hall into their temporary studio while the theatre is shuttered because of COVID-19. Lyric said: “We’re doing our best to make lemonade from lemons to provide new and innovative solutions for our clients.”
SNB is presently working on creating two virtual productions with TL Solutions for 2020 and early 2021. Editing a virtual dance production presents quite a challenge for Lyric, especially when dancers meet on Zoom: “Not every phone and laptop records video at the same frame rate, so that has contributed to the dancers seeming out of sync, and I have to compensate for that in editing.”
Despite all the challenges, Lyric and Taylor are very inspired and optimistic about their work: “We’ve looked COVID in the face and are finding solutions that will ensure our clients are able to weather the storm until we can once again gather together in person to present live performances.”
Besides working with SNB, TL Solutions (TLSNV.co) works with the Reno Little Theater, Crisis Support Services of Nevada and TMCC to produce virtual content to be distributed to audiences via platforms like Vimeo On-Demand, virtual classes, and live-streamed events.
To find out more about SNB virtual programming or SNB Academy Hybrid and Zoom classes, visit www.sierranevadaballet.org.