Rochester City Ballet is performing live at the Highland Park Bowl

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City Ballet will perform Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Highland Park Bowl in Rochester May 28-30.

This will be the company’s first live and in-person performance since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artistic Director Robert Gardner and company dancer Shannon Rodriguez discussed the outdoor production Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“For us – for the dance company and the dancers – we’re elated!” said Gardner. “We’ve been offstage since February of 2020. And so for us to have the opportunity to bring this very family-friendly ballet ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to Highland Bowl in such as beautiful setting, live and in person, it is just one of the greatest things that I’ve experienced as an Artistic Director and I know the dancers are so excited to see those faces in front of them and hear their applause.”

For Rodriguez, the pandemic pause has offered time for reflection and renewal. “Not that I think I’ve ever taken this place, Rochester City Ballet, for granted or anything like that but it just really made us realize how much we truly love what we do,” she said. “We love to be in front of an audience. We love to share what we do with the Rochester City Schools and all of the great events that we do during our season. So we really missed that. You know, we missed “Nutcracker.” We missed all of these things in person. We’re just so looking forward to being with an audience again and just to be able to have that interaction because it’s been such a long time for us. A year feels like a decade for a dancer. Our career is short so we’re really looking forward to that.”

The outdoor setting at Highland Bowl will offer a unique opportunity for the dancers. “I think it will be really exciting to be in front of a big field of people,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not used to doing that. We typically perform in a theatre setting. So to be outside and to be able to have all of these families grouped together with their loved ones and just having this huge group of people – obviously socially distanced and practicing our COVID protocols – but that will be really interesting for us. And it will be nice to have some fresh air and just be outside in the sunlight.”

Gardner is grateful for the support Rochester City Ballet has received to make this performance possible. “I do want to thank Monroe County for supporting this project. This is a free event so we are self-producing this and we’ve had a lot of patron and community support, and so we really appreciate Monroe County being a part of us being able to come back like this.”

Get your tickets and more information at

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