Celebrating superheroes and day-to-day warriors
Heroes vs Villains is the name of Jackson’s School of Performing Arts’ latest recital.
It celebrates the “fantastical” characters created by Marvel Comics as well as “everyday” people – healthcare workers, teachers, parents and guardians.
The unmentioned villain is Covid-19 which, for the second year running, prevented a live performance by the roughly 200-strong dance troupe.
“When Bermuda closed down again this spring, our heads just started spinning: not again, not again,” said Brittany Adams, the dance school’s director. “But we knew that we always had the back-up plan of the virtual recital.”
The group used iPhone 11 Pros and shipped in blue and green screens from a production company in Baltimore, Maryland to ensure a professional show in 2020.
This year, Ms Adams was determined to get back on stage.
“I remember the producer of the company contacted us asking if we were interested in getting on their list for this year because they were quite busy. I was like, ‘No way, we’re going to have a live show. Covid is not a problem in Bermuda. Thanks for thinking of us.’”
A week later government announced that social gatherings were limited to groups of ten.
Said Ms Adams: “I was like Philip, we need to talk ….
“We looked at our options; most of our kids were unvaccinated … was a live show really the safe choice? Were we being compliant? The last thing we wanted to do was give our community the image that we were trying to cheat a little bit, skirt around the government guidelines.”
Ultimately, the decision for a virtual recital was made because it was the safest option for the students.
“We decided that if we’re able to do a live show at the end of this, great. But let’s make sure we have something in place so that our kids can showcase all of their hard work again this year.
“So we decided we would definitely do the virtual recital and if things opened up, we would do the live show. And then it got to the point where City Hall had specific numbers, other groups had not gotten exemption permission … we decided to stick with the live show. The kids were bummed but we knew it was the right thing and they all agreed it was the best Plan B.”
It helped greatly that last year’s show had worked out so well, Ms Adams said.
“People were definitely bummed because they couldn’t see their kids live but the kids all got to perform and they all enjoyed seeing themselves.
“The footage was such good quality compared to when they [typically] get filmed being on the stage. They could really see themselves, they could see their expressions, and they enjoyed that. So it became a Hollywood experience rather than a theatre experience and the parents were really thankful. It’s not something we want as our Plan A but it’s always the best Plan B in our opinion.”
Especially grateful were the families who would have otherwise missed out because they were travelling.
“They were able to log in and get a link ticket and watch it. We had a family in Sweden. We had a family in Australia … they were grateful for just being able to participate in it where normally they wouldn’t be able to.
“It’s amazing that this was all done on our iPhones. All the footage is captured on our iPhones. Thank goodness this pandemic occurred in 2020/2021; the technology we have made it accessible to us. Zoom and everything else has given us these opportunities for sure.”
Holding classes online was necessary, but challenging for many families. Ms Adams, a full-time teacher at Saltus Grammar School, also found them “pretty tough”. Fortunately the dance school was only closed for a month as compared with last year when it shut for an entire term.
She said: “The kids were doing all of their schooling online, all of their socialising online, so of course some families just couldn’t do it because the kids were just online too much; especially some of the younger ones.
“But some of the older ones said it gave them something on their schedule to look forward to. Every day was blending into the next and it gave them a chance to see their dance friends and just have a change of pace.”
With all that behind them Ms Adams’ hope is that “people come out and support us”. She is thankful for the support Jackson’s has had from parent patrons and corporate sponsors, Aeolus Re Ltd, BF&M, Chubb and Horti-Tec Bermuda.
“We just love to be able to showcase to our community what we’ve been up to and how hard the kids and teachers have been working,” she said. “Our students and teachers continue to embrace every challenge thrown their way and we could not be prouder.”
Heroes vs Villains will stream live on Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Tickets are available at www.bdatix.bm. Registration for Jackson’s School of Performing Arts’ fall term is now open. For more information visit www.jspabermuda.com. Follow @jacksons_school on Instagram and Jackson’s School of Performing Arts on Facebook