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Discovering What's Essential

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, our society was stripped down to the “essentials.” Trapped in isolation and limited to only the bare necessities needed to keep the lights on and food on the table. During this time of darkness, we realized that there is so much more we need to, not just survive, but to thrive and flourish - as people and as a society.

For many of us, the pandemic made clear that we need some aspect of the arts in our lives to be completely human – to get true satisfaction and joy from life. We needed to sing, paint, play an instrument, draw, sculpt, design, write, create... dance! And we found that our creations are best celebrated, not in isolation, but with our community. Art is an expression of our soul and an opportunity to find a deep connection with others through it. These are not extra things we do – they are essential.

COVID was difficult for us at Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo (BT-SLO). We struggled through the ever-changing maze of regulations, shrinking classes due to distancing requirements, and restrictions that threatened our ability to keep our doors open. But we persevered through it all.

What kept our instructors and leadership team going through the darkest times of COVID was knowing that what we were doing at BT-SLO mattered in the lives of so many students and families.

What BT-SLO brings to people has deep value and lasting meaning. We see it every day at our ballet school and Performing Company: when a student masters a step, when a new student takes their first ballet class, when a dance artist takes on the challenge of a new role, when a parent cheers for their child on stage, when our alumni reflect fondly on their dance journey with us.

The art and community we have created at BT-SLO are indeed essential.

COVID took away a lot from all arts & culture organizations. It will take years for organizations like ours to recover and restabilize. We need to rebuild our student base, encourage people back to the seats of our shows, and regrow our depleted resources. But COVID did have a silver lining, it brought into clear focus that arts & culture are essential and worth fighting for.

Call to Action: Donate annually, take classes at our studio, buy tickets to our shows, volunteer your time, advocate for the arts - help us nurture and grow BT-SLO so that we can continue to bring the light, color, energy, movement, and joy that is so essential to our community.

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