Ballet dancer

Rochester City Ballet dancer says he’s ‘alive again’ ahead of another performance

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Rochester City Ballet is preparing for its first indoor performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Terrifically Theatrical” will debut Friday, October 8 at Theater @ Innovation Square in Rochester.

Artistic director Robert Gardner looked for the best way to capture the sense of anticipation on Tuesday during News 8 at noon. “It’s almost indescribable,” he said. “It’s been 18 months since we were at the theater in front of an audience. We will still be practicing protocols to be able to bring this entertainment safely but there is nothing like seeing live dancing in a fully produced theatre. We have an incredible program. The dancers are so excited to finally get back on stage in front of an audience.

Dancer Ryo Munakata is among the company members who have been waiting for this day. “It’s very exciting and empowering for me because I never stopped dancing,” he said. “I started ballet at the age of 5 and I never stopped dancing. But when the pandemic hit, I stopped dancing for the first time. I am very, very grateful for this opportunity to play in this theater. I really like to dance. It brings me back to life. It brings me back to life. »

For Munakata, dance is an essential aspect of life. “People are eating. People are sleeping. Dancing for me is part of that. I can’t stop dancing. I have to keep dancing. The pandemic was a time when I had nothing to do and I was sad. It’s very, very good for me.

“Terrifically Theatrical” will challenge the company to be at their best right away. “It’s very ambitious because I wanted to show how hard the company has worked, how determined it is to get through the pandemic,” Gardner explained. “We represent masterpieces by George Balanchine, his ‘Who Cares?’ – a tribute to Gershwin and Broadway. We do ‘Clowns and Others’ – a wonderful work on pleasure and the weaknesses of being human. It’s so much fun. We have a world premiere by choreographer Jamey Leverett, former Artistic Director of Rochester City Ballet, and a piece with live music. We have a guest pianist. His name is Alessio Giacobone. It’s called ‘Extensions’ and it’s very dramatic. It’s about the relationship between a dancer and the music. So it really covers the gamut of what we do, our profession, our life – as Ryo said – and I wanted to show that in this first performance.

Performances will take place October 8-10 at Theater @ Innovation Square in Rochester and October 15-17 at the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua.

Buy your tickets in advance online at

Here’s a preview of upcoming performances by Rochester City Ballet.

Holiday Magic

November 24-28, 2021: Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre, with the RPO

December 10-12, 2021: Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY

Nutcracker returns to the holidays this year. Take a magical journey through the forest of glittering snowflakes with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court of delicious sweets. Create holiday traditions and make memories with your family as you enjoy this Tchaikovsky classic.


March 4-6, 2022 – The Theater @ Innovation Square, Rochester, NY

March 11-13, 2022 – Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY

Carmen – a world premiere by the artistic director, Robert Gardner. A contemporary tale of the passionate and free spirit, Carmen, who is undefined by societal norms. The energy is volcanic, fluid, and their fate is not defined by gender. This dramatic and passionate story is ruled by emotion, whatever the consequences, creating a compelling ballet experience.

Fiercely Fantastic

April 29 – May 1, 2022 – Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua, NY

May 20-22, 2022 – Callahan Theater, Nazareth Arts Center, Rochester, NY

Fire Bird use mystical enchantments to defeat the evil wizard Kastchei and save Prince Igor and the princesses. Robert Gardner brings this Russian folk tale to life through Igor Stravinsky’s monumental score in this family program. Fire Bird is the ballet superhero!