MetroFocus: May 28, 2020

Last week, President Trump declared houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques, “essential places” and urged Governors to “do the right thing and allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now.” Governor Cuomo responded with a new state policy allowing houses of worship to resume religious gatherings under strict safety guidelines. This week, Mayor De Blasio joined the conversation saying he supported both of Cuomo’s directives but that he and faith leaders across the city, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, do not agree that large scale religious services should be permitted here. The Cardinal, along with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn-Queens diocese have laid out a five-phase “Faith Forward” plan for reopening church services. Tonight, Father Sam Sawyer, an Executive Editor of America Magazine, examines the plans in a candid discussion on navigating church, state and coronavirus.

For over six decades, the Ailey organization has brought people together through dance performances and programs manifesting founder Alvin Ailey’s belief that “dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.” Today his mission is carried forward during these challenging times with Ailey All Access, an online series featuring free weekly performance broadcasts, Ailey dancer-curated content, and an assortment of dance and fitness classes that have already reached over 13 million people since launching in late-March. Robert Battle, the organization’s artistic director, joins us to discuss the ongoing effort to bring dance into people’s homes as well as Alvin Ailey’s potential reopening.

Aired on May 28, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

CHURCHES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL AND SHOULD BE OPENED IMMEDIATELY, THE SPIKE IN AREAS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

LEGAL SCHOLAR ASSUMPTION HE HAS THE POWER TO ALLOW TO LET SEARCH SERVICES TO OCCUR BUT ON THE HARDIST HIT AREAS, THE REAL QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER SEARCHES CAN BEGIN, RATHER, HOW THEY SHOULD DO SO, IN NEW YORK CITY, THE ARCH DYSON HAS RELEASED A PLAN TO SLOWLY REOPEN DOORS AND AREAS IN THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY.

JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THAT PLAN AND FUTURE UNDER THE CORONAVIRUS.

IT IS FATHER SAWYER, WELCOME BACK ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU.

THANKS, GOOD TO JOIN US, EVEN VIRTUALLY LIKE THIS.

OKAY, FATHER, YOU KNOW, EARLIER THIS WEEK MAYOR de BLASIO CALLED PRESIDENT TRUMP TO REOPEN CHURCHES AND OTHER PLACES OF WORSHIP DANGEROUS, WAS IT DANGEROUS OR WAS IT WELCOME?

WELL, SO, LET ME TAKE A STEP BACK FROM IT BECAUSE I THINK AT THE ONE LEVEL A LOT OF IT JUST HAS TO DO WITH WHAT YOU MEAN BY THE WORD ESSENTIAL, SO IF IT MEANS IMPORTANT, CRUCIAL, YOU KNOW, VERY, VERY DEAR TO US, THEN, YES, CERTAINLY CHURCHES ARE ESSENTIAL AND OF COURSE PEOPLE WANT TO GET TOGETHER SOON AS POSSIBLE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, USUALLY UNDER THE CORONAVIRUS AND PANDEMIC CONDITIONS WHEN WE SEE ESSENTIAL WE MEAN THINGS LIKE HOW TO GET FOOD OR OTHER THINGS.

PARISHES I'M WORKING WITH WE'VE BEEN DOING LIVE STREAM GROUPS AND HAVEN'T BEEN CLOSED AND ONE OF THE REASONS WE DON'T NEED TO RUSH TO REOPEN THE PHYSICAL BUILDINGS BECAUSE UNLIKE OTHER ESSENTIAL SERVICES WE HAVE OTHER OPTIONS HOW WE CAN CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.

THEY'RE NOT PERFECT OPTIONS.

THEY'RE NOT EVERYTHING WE WANT.

WE WANT TO GET TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENTS WITH PEOPLE BUT WE'RE NOT COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN, WE'VE NEVER BEEN COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN.

BUT THE MAYOR AND OTHERS HAVE CALLED THE PRESIDENT'S DECLARATION DANGEROUS BECAUSE THEY SAY ENDANGER LIVES, RIGHT.

BUT WHAT THEY DON'T SAY IS DECLARATION WAS A COMPANY BY CDC GUIDELINES AND WEARING MASKS AND LIMITING THOSE ALLOWED AND PROTOCOLS AMONG OTHER THINGS, NOT LIKE OPENING THE CHURCHES UP LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS, THAT MAC MAKES A DIFFERENCE DOESN'T IT.

IT DOES.

I I'D SAY THE MOST DANGEROUS THING WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE WAY CHURCHES REOPEN IS IF CHURCHES BECOME A POLITICAL FOOTBALL ABOUT ENTER INTO THESE FIGHT S ABOUT WHEN WE'RE GOING TO REOPEN, HOW SOON WE'RE GOING TO REOPEN, WHO IS REALLY IN CHARGE, THAT'S ACTUALLY WHAT'S DANGEROUS, IF THE QUESTION OF CHURCH REOPENING BECOMES IDEALOGICAL AND ANOTHER MARKER OF WHICH PARTY YOU'RE IDENTIFYING WITH OR WHICH POLITICIAN YOU'RE TRYING TO SUPPORT.

AS YOU POINTED OUT THERE'S A WHOLE COMPLICATED SET OF QUESTIONS AND CHURCHES REOPENING WILL HAPPEN IN BITS AND PIECES, IT WILL BE PHASED IN.

WE WILL NOT GO BACK IMMEDIATELY TO EVERYONE BEING PACKED TOGETHER.

IN FACT THE ARCHDIOCESE PLAN IS LIMIT IT TO 20% CAPACITY.

IT WILL BE A NUMBER OF ADJUSTMENTS AS WE ROLL IT OUT AND LEARN FROM WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T WORK.

WE HOPE THIS WON'T HAPPEN TOO MUCH BUT WE CERTAINLY WILL LEARN FROM IF THERE ARE EXPOSURES AND INFECTIONS THAT ARE CONNECTED WITH PEOPLE RETURNING TO CHURCH AND WE'LL HAVE TO ADAPT TO ALL OF THOSE.

SO I DON'T THINK THERE'S -- THERE'S NEVER BEEN A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL POLICY.

I THINK THE MOST DANGEROUS WOULD BE THERE'S ANY SUGGESTION THAT THERE'S A YES, EVERYBODY GO BACK RIGHT AWAY, OR NO NOBODY GO BACK FOR SIX MONTHS UNTIL WE GET A VACCINE OR SOMETHING.

IT'S GOT TO BE MORE FINE-TUNED THAN THAT.

AND YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT THE POLITICS BECAUSE YOU USUALLY CAN TELL WHERE PEOPLE STAND, UNFORTUNATELY.

ON CHURCH ISSUES NOW BY HOW THEY STAND POLITICALLY.

UNFORTUNATELY.

THAT'S THE CASE.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS.

IN MINNESOTA THE BISHOPS WERE NOT KNOWN FOR BEING RADICAL.

LAST WEEK ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO OPEN UP THE CHURCHES ALONG WITH THEIR BREATHEN, IN DEFIANCE OF THE GOVERNOR'S LOCKDOWN POLICY BECAUSE THEY FELT THEY WERE BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, BARS, AND MALLS, THEY SAID, WE'VE HAD IT, WE'RE GOING TO OPEN IT.

LUCKILY THEY GOT TOGETHER WITH THE GOVERNOR AND THEY SPOKE AND THEY CUT A DEAL.

BUT YOU KNOW, THEY KIND OF ECHOED WHAT BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID, HE WAS WARNING GOVERNORS NOT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HOUSES OF WORSHIP.

WHAT DO YOU THINK, HAS THAT BEEN HAPPEN SFG.

SO I'M NOT SURE -- I DON'T THINK I WOULD CALL IT DISCRIMINATION AS SUCH.

I DO THINK THERE HAVE BEEN QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EQUITY OF VARIOUS POLICIES AND HOW THEY EFFECT CHURCHES AND OTHER FORMS OF GATHERING IN COMMON AS COMPARED TO THINGS LIKE RETAIL BUT THE PROBLEM IS THOSE AREN'T EXACTLY APPLES TO APPLES CONSIDERATIONS, RIGHT.

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO A MALL OR WALMART OR SOMETHING CERTAINLY THERE'S LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE THERE BUT THERE AREN'T LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE SITTING NEXT TO EACH OTHER SHARING THE SAME SPACE AND BREATHING THE SAME AIR FOR 45 MINUTES TO AN HOUR.

AND FACT OF THE MATTER IS, WE KNOW, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF REPORTS FROM A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, IN FACT 'AMERICA' THE MAGAZINE WHERE I WORK JUST PUBLISHED A INTERVIEW WITH DR. FAUCI HE POINTS OUT WE HAVE DOCUMENTED CASES OF TRANSMISSIONS HAPPENING IN THE CONTEXT OF CHURCH HAPPENINGS, SPECIFICALLY, A NUMBER OF TIMES.

WE KNOW THIS IS A REAL RISK.

SO WHILE CERTAINLY THERE NEEDS TO BE -- AND SOUNDS LIKE IN MINNESOTA THERE NEEDED TO BE SOME PUSH TO GET THE GOVERNOR TO ENGAGE MORE WITH THE RELIGIOUS APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF REOPENING WAS AND HOW IT COULD BEGIN TO BE PHASED IN.

IT'S NOT A PERFECT COMPARISON TO SAY IF THIS KIND OF RETAIL IS OPEN THEN CHURCHES SHOULD BE OPEN.

INSTEAD I THINK IT'S A QUESTION OF WHAT LEVEL OF GATHERING, HOW MANY PEOPLE, WHAT KIND OF PRECAUTIONS, WHEN DO YOU PHASE IT IN, HOW DO YOU MOVE ON TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO GATHER MORE AND MORE.

BY THE WAY, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW, BUT I'D WONDERED AS I WAS PREPARE FORGE -- WAS PREPARING FOR THIS, HOW CHURCHES AND OTHER COUNTRIES WERE HIT HARD, LIKE ITALY AND SPAIN, HOW ARE THEY DOING IN REGARDS TO REOPENING COMPARED TO US.

DO YOU KNOW.

I'M CERTAINLY NOT AN EXPERT IN ALL OF THE DETAILS BUT I KNOW IN ITALY SPECIFICALLY THEY HAVE THE ITALIAN BISHOPS REACH A SET OF AGREEMENTS WITH THE GOVERNMENT HOW TO BEGIN TO REOPEN AND THEY HAVE BEGUN TO RESUME SOME LEVEL OF CELEBRATION, SACRAMENTS, UNDER EXTRAORDINARY ARRAY OF PRECAUTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS ON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO COULD GATHER, ET CETERA.

THEY'RE FINDING THEIR WAY FORWARD.

I THINK ONE THING DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR AND I THINK WILL ALSO BE DIFFICULT AS WE'RE GOING THROUGH IT IS THAT THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF ADJUSTMENTS TO BE MADE AS WE'RE DOING THIS.

SO THE RULES THAT APPLY ONE DAY IN ONE PLACE WILL PROBABLY CHANGE AND WON'T APPLY IN QUITE THE SAME WAY IN OTHER PLACES OR TWO WEEKS LATER OR THREE WEEKS AFTER THAT.

IT'S GOING TO BE FRUSTRATING BECAUSE OFTEN TIMES WE WANT A BRIGHT LINE ANSWER AND I THINK ONE OF THES -- THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IS IT BECOMES AN IDENTITY MARKER AS OPPOSED TO HOW TO DO IT IN THE SAFEST WAY POSSIBLE.

IT'S GOING TO BE PARTIAL AND FRUSTRATING AND PHASED IN FOR MONTHS.

I THINK WE SIMPLY HAVE TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE'RE WILLING TO LIVE WITH THAT AND WE'RE WILLING TO SAY WE WON'T KNOW AN EXACT RIGHT ANSWER AND WE'LL HAVE TO TRY AND WE'LL HAVE TO ADJUST AND ADJUST AGAIN.

WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PLAN THAT CARDINAL DOLE AN ALONG WITH BISHOP IN BROOKLYN, QUEENS, CAME UP WITH TOGETHER, THEY'RE A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK AND OF BROOKLYN, ESSENTIALLY, TALK ABOUT THIS, GOVERNOR CUOMO HAD HIS PLAN THAT PUT THE REOPENING ON THE CHURCH AT THE LAST PHASE.

PHASE FOUR.

ALONG WITH ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS.

BUT THE CARDINAL WANTED TO BRING IT UP TO PHASE TWO AND TO THAT END CREATED THIS MULTI STEP PROGRAM CALLED FAITH FORWARD.

I BELIEVE.

I WONDER IF YOU CAN TALK ABOUT THAT.

SO I WOULD SAY THAT IT'S A COMPLICATED PLAN.

I WILL SAY UP FRONT.

I HAVEN'T FULLY DIGESTED IT MYSELF.

IT SAYS STARTING WITH THE PHASE TWO REOPENING OF THE CITY WILL BEGIN A PHASED REOPENING OF CHURCHES, SO THE BEGINNING OF THAT IS REOPENING CHURCHES TO PRIVATE PRAYER AND DEVOTION.

SOME HAVE BEEN OPEN UNDER THESE CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT BUT MAKING SURE EVERY CHURCH THROUGHOUT THE ARCHDIOCESE WILL BE ABLE TO WELCOME PEOPLE IN TO COME IN AND PRAY INDIVIDUALLY AND FOLLOWING THAT RESUMING THE SACRAMENTS LIKE BAPTISM AND MARRIAGES AND EVENTUALLY MOVING TOWARDS A MORE LIMITED WAY BASED ON CAPACITY, THE BUILDINGS, PEOPLE COMING BACK TO A FULL CELEBRATION OF MASS AND THEN FOR SUNDAY MASS AND EVENTUALLY DAILY MASS, ET CETERA.

SO STEPPING THROUGH THESE PHASED REOPENINGS, MATCHING IN A SENSE THE WAY THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT IS PHASING THE REOPENING OF THE WHOLE CITY.

SO I THINK WHAT IT ACKNOWLEDGES PROPERLY IS, YEAH, IF WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO ZERO TO EVERYBODY BACK IN THE CHURCH WHICH IS PHASE FOUR BACK IN STADIUMS AND THEATERS, ET CETERA, BUT THERE ARE STEPS WE CAN TAKE ON THE WAY THAT WILL RESTORE SOME MORE NORMAL SACRAMENTAL LIFE TO THE CHURCH BUT WILL LET US GET USED TO HOW IT WORKS AND GIVE US TIME TO ADJUST IF WE LEARN IT'S NOT WORKING WELL.

FEW WEEKS BEFORE SUNDAY MASSES REOPEN, I'M GUESSING.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT.

RIGHT NOW MY GUESS IS PHASE TWO IN THE CITY WOULD HAPPEN TWO WEEKS AFTER THE INITIAL REOPENING WHICH WE'RE OPENING FOR MID JUNE ON RIGHT NOW.

SO I WOULD SAY THAT SOUNDS LIKE WE'D BE LOOKING AT PUBLIC MASS SOME TIME AROUND THEN ED OF THE SUMMER.

WE HAVE A LITTLE LESS THAN A MINUTE LESS.

I JUST WANT TO ASK YOU THIS, ONE OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PLAN IS THAT THE CONGREGATION DOESN'T ADD UP TO MORE THAN 25% OF THE CAPACITY OF THE PARTICULAR CHURCH.

MAYBE IT'S JUST MY EXPERIENCE BUT WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A FEW CHURCHILLS MY EXPERIENCE IS MOST OF THE SUNDAY MASS JUST REACHED 25% CAPACITY UNFORTUNATELY, I WONDER WHAT YOU THINK IN ABOUT 30 SECONDS, IS COVID GOING TO CHANGE THAT AND BRING CATHOLICS BACK TO THE CHURCH OR HAVE THE OPPOSITE EFFECT.

IN ABOUT 30 SECONDS, I'M SORRY.

I THINK IT WILL BRING SOME PEOPLE BACK.

I THINK SOME HAVE BEEN ENGAGING DEEPLY THROUGH VIRTUAL AND LIVE STREAM MASSES BUT I THINK THIS HAS PEAKED OUR HUNGER FOR THE SACRAMENTS FOR MANY OF US SO I HOPE IT WILL BRING PEOPLE BACK AND PULL PEOPLE BACK INTO CHURCH.

ALL RIGHT, FATHER, WE'LL HAVE TO END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S ALWAYS SO GREAT TO TALK TO YOU.

THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANKS A LOT.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' I'M JACK FORD.

LEGENDARY CHOREOGRAPHER AND DANCER ALVIN ALY BELIEVED DANCE KAEL FROM THE PEOPLE AND CAME FROM THE PEOPLE AND SHOULD BE DELIVERED BACK TO THE PEOPLE.

DECADES AFTER HIS PASSING THE ALVIN ALY THEATER CONTINUES TO EMBRACE THAT BELIEF, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, FINDING NEW WAYS TO GET DANCE BACK TO THE THEATER.

NOW THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE DANCE THEATER, IN HIS OWN RIGHT, ACCLAIMED AND POWERFUL FORCE IN THE DANCE WORLD.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE HIM BACK VISITING WITH US AT 'METROFOCUS.'

WELCOME.

NICE TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU.

NICE TO SEE YOU AS WELL.

AND I HOPE YOU AND EVERYBODY CLOSE TO YOU ARE ALL SAFE AND HEALTHY.

THEY ARE.

A LITTLE BIT BEWILDERED BUT WE'RE OKAY.

MAYBE BEWILDERED IS ONE OF THE WORDS TO CAPTURE ALL OF THIS.

LET ME START OFF WITH WHEN YOU ALL FOUND OUT THAT EVERYTHING WAS SHUTTING DOWN, YOU HAD DANCE TROOPS OUT ON THE ROAD, YOU WERE PLANNING OTHER TYPES OF THINGS, WHAT DID YOU DO TO GET EVERYBODY BACK SAFELY?

WELL, I MEAN, WE WERE ON OUR NATIONAL TOUR WHICH USUALLY STARTS IN FEBRUARY AND GOES THROUGH MAY.

SO, WE HAD COMPLETED A FEW STOPS ON THE TOUR.

WE HAD A LOT TO GO.

RIGHT.

POTENTIALLY ON THE WEST COASTAL, ALL THAT.

SO WE JUST SAW THINGS GOT WORSE AND WORSE AND FELT IT WAS JUST PRUDENT TO BRING EVERYBODY, THE DANCERS AND THE CREW BACK HOME.

IT WAS REALLY TRICKY, I MEAN, JUST MANAGING 50 PEOPLE ON TOUR, GETTING THEM OFF THE ROAD.

I CAN'T IMAGINE THE DIFFICULTIES, THE LOGISTICAL DIFFICULTIES INVOLVED IN GETTING THEM BACK.

BUT I WAS FASCINATED TO SEE, ONCE THEY ALL GOT BACK AND THEY STARTED CONNECTING, RECONNECTING WITH EACH OTHER, IT GAVE RISE TO WHAT HAS NOW BEEN A SERIES OF PERFORMANCES.

YES.

THAT HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO THE PUBLIC.

TELL ME HOW THAT ALL CAME ABOUT.

YES IT WAS SO INTERESTING.

AS DANCERS DO, THEY FIND A WAY TO CREATE.

THEY GOT BACK, ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS WORKS BY ALVIN IS 'REVELATIONS' IT'S ON ALMOST EVERY PROGRAM WE DO, IT CLOSER, SO A NEW DANCER, QUINN, GOT THE IDEA OF LIKE THE BRADY BUNCH WHICH WE'RE ALL EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW IN DIFFERENT NUMBERS SHALL, SO THEY WERE ALL YOU IN THEIR SEPARATE HOMES AND SURROUNDED BY DOGS, CHILDREN, WHAT HAVE YOU AND THEY STARTED THE NOTION OF DANCING ALONE TOGETHER AND IT DEVELOPED INTO ONLINE CONTACT CALLED ALY ALL-ACCESS.

AND TELL ME HOW FOLKS OUT THERE WATCHING RIGHT NOW MIGHT BE SAYING THAT'S MARVELOUS HOW CAN I FIND THAT.

WHERE DO THEY GO?

WHERE DO THEY DISCOVER IT?

WHAT IS SCHEDULED IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.

THEY CAN GO TO ALVIN ALY.ORG OUR WEBSITE AND WE'RE ON INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK.

WE DO SHOW LIVE -- NOT A LIVE PERFORMANCE, A LIVE PERFORMANCE BUT VIRTUALLY.

AND WE HAVE A HUGE ORGANIZATION NOT ONLY THE FIRST COMPANY, BUT THE ARTS AND EDUCATION COMPONENT.

ALSO ALY EXTENSION, WHICH IS CLASSES FOR EVERYBODY.

SO YOU HAVE DANCE AND DANCE FITNESS CLASSES.

THAT CAN ALL BE FOUND.

BUT EVERY THURSDAY WE SHOW A WORK INNENT WORK IN ITS ENTIRETY ONLINE.

IT'S REALLY BROAD, TAKE A LOOK AT IT.

TALK ABOUT HOW YOU'RE ALL ABLE TO PRODUCE THAT. IF YOU THINK OF DANCE IT'S SO HIGHLY CHOREOGRAPHIED, INMATT, SO MANY MOVES INVOLVED, SOME COLLECTIVE MOVEMENTS, HOW DO YOU PUT THAT INTO A AS YOU SAID A BRADY BUNCH SCREEN.

VERY CAREFULLY.

I MEAN, THE WONDERFUL THING THIS COMPANY, IN A WAY IT'S PART OF OUR MANTRA, RIGHT, YOU SET THE QUOTE EARLIER.

BUT ALSO THIS NOTION OF ACCESSIBILITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN PART OF OUR DNA.

BUT THE DANCERS ARE SO CREATIVE.

AND THEY'VE BEEN EXTREMELY CREATEDIVE IN THIS PROCESS.

CREATIVE IN THIS PROCESS.

I'M NOT VERY CREATIVE WITH THE PROCESS I'M LEARNING A LOT.

ZOOM.

AN THE DANCERS ARE COMING UP WITH WAYS TO BE CREATIVE TOGETHER.

THEY HAVE A COMMITTEE.

IT'S WONDERFUL TO SEE IT IS TRUE THAT THE CREATIVE SPIRIT WAS BORN OUT OF NECESSITY AND THAT STILL GOES IN TIMES LIKE THESE THAT WE STILL KNOW WE HAVE A PURPOSE AS ARTISTS TO BRING SOME JOY OR SOME REFLECTIVE SOMETHING THAT FEEDS THE SOUL.

ARE THE ARTISTS ALL MAN ADJECTIVING TO STAY -- MANAGING TO STAY IN SHAPE?

I'VE SAID THIS BEFORE, I'M AN OLD COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER AND ALWAYS HAD GREAT RESPECT FOR THE DANCERS AND THEIR ATHLETIC ABILITY.

YOU MENTIONED BEFORE, LYNN SWANN GREAT WIDE RECEIVER FOR THE STEELERS USED TO TAKE DANCE CLASSES IN THE OFF SEASON AND WAS AN ACROBATIC RECEIVER.

IT'S EXTRAORDINARY WHAT THEY DO.

HOW ARE THEY ABLE TO KEEP IN SHAPE.

IT'S NOT IDEAL, TO SAY THE LEAST.

AND THE NOTION OF COMMUNITY IT'S LIKE 20 PEOPLE IN A CLASS, THAT -- THAT IS PART OF THE EXPERIENCE BECAUSE YOU'RE SORT OF CHALLENGING ONE ANOTHER.

EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY TO DO YOUR BEST.

BUT WHAT WE DID WAS WE BOUGHT EACH DANCER THE COMPANY PAID FOR THEM TO HAVE A STRIP OF MARLEY, THAT RUBBER LOOKING FLOOR THAT DANCERS DANCE ON.

SO THEY HAVE A FIVE BY SIX PIECE IN THEIR APARTMENTS OR HOMES AND THEN THEY TAKE CLASS TOGETHER ON ZOOM.

SOMEONE TEACHES THE CLASS FOR THEM MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY, I BELIEVE.

SO THAT WAY THEY'RE STILL HAVING A LITTLE BIT OF THAT COMMUNITY.

ABLE TO DO SOMETHING TO STAY IN SHAPE AND SOME PEOPLE JUST TIKTOK, THEY JUST MAKE VIDEO OF THEMSELVES DANCING.

SO WE'RE STILL FINDING A WAY.

IT'S INCREDIBLE HOW WE'VE HAD TO ADJUST SO QUICKLY.

WE'RE TALKING WITH ROBERT BATTLE, THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR THE ALVIN ALY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER ABOUT WHAT THEY'VE BEEN DOING IN SO MANY CREATIVE WAYS TO BRING DANCE TO THE PEOPLE.

YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT LESSONS THAT YOUR DANCERS AND ARTISTS ARE TAKING, YOU HAVE CREATE AID FORMAT TO PROVIDE LESSONS TO PEOPLE AT HOME WHO ARE SAYING MAYBE THIS SAY GOOD TIME TO DO THIS.

HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

YES, WELL, WE HAVE A WONDERFUL COMPONENT TO ALL OF OUR PROGRAMS.

ONE OF THEM IS CALLED ALY EXTENSION.

WE CALL IT REAL CLASSES FOR REAL PEOPLE.

AND THAT WAS A WAY OF GETTING THE COMMUNITY INVOLVED SO THAT THIS WONDERFUL BUILDING 55th AND 9th AVENUE IN NEW YORK CITY, THEY ARE ABLE TO SEE THE DANCE GOING ON.

THIS IS A I WAY TO BRING THE OUTSIDE IN.

WE OFFER ONLINE AND DANCE AND FITNESS CLASSES AND TO SENIOR CITIZENS, ALL THAT, BECAUSE SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE SHY ABOUT DANCING, SO THIS WAY IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME, YOU CAN CLOSE THE DRAPES AND GET YOUR DANCE ON.

AND MAYBE WHEN WE COME OUT OF THIS YOU MIGHT BE EMBOLDENED TO COME INTO THE BUILDING AND TAKE A CLASS.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE HEARD PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT IS THIS NOTION OF EXPERIMENT.

134 SOME THINGS THEY -- SOME THINGS THEY ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY TO DO BUT DIDN'T HAVE THE TIME OR THE OPPORTUNITIES, AND I THINK IT'S A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO SAY TO PEOPLE HEY NOW IS YOUR TIME, NOW'S YOUR OPPORTUNITY.

IS THERE A BETTER WAY TO START DABBLING IN THIS THEN TO BE TAUGHT BY THE PERFORMERS, THE ARTISTS PART OF THE ALVIN ALY DANCE THEATERS.

IT'S A FABULOUS THING YOU'RE DOING WITH THEM.

LET'S TALK ABOUT MOVING FORWARD.

YES.

WHAT IS YOUR SENSE, AND I KNOW THIS IS JUST A SENSE, JUST UNCERTAINTY HERE, WHAT'S YOUR SENSE AS TO HOW AND IN WHAT FASHION YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET THE DANCE THEATER BACK UP AND PROVIDE PERFORMANCES IN THEATERS, GET BACK OUT ON THE ROAD, HOW ARE YOU LOOKING AT THIS RIGHT NOW?

WELL, THERE'S SUCH UNCERTAINTY AS YOU KNOW.

AND WE'RE ALL SORT OF COMMUNICATING.

NOT ONLY OUR COMPANY, BUT OTHER COMPANIES, BROADWAY, WHAT HAVE YOU, OF HOW TO MOVE FORWARD.

OF COURSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE DISTANCING AND THE THEATER.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MODIFYING SOME OF THE DANCE BECAUSE A LOT OF THE DANCERS HAVE PARTNERING WHERE WE HAVE TO BE TACTILE WITH ONE OF IF ANOTHER SO HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THAT.

SO IT'S DIFFICULT TO ANSWER, AS YOU SAID, BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY.

BECAUSE ANY ANSWER I GIVE COULD CHANGE IN A WEEK OR IN A DAY OR IN A MONTH OR IN A FEW MONTHS AND I HOPE THAT IS ACTUALLY TRUE, CHANGE FOR THE BETTER, THAT THERE'S A VACCINE OR SOME WAY THAT WE CAN KIND OF MANAGE IT.

BECAUSE OF COURSE, WHAT WE DO, THAT'S OUR BOTTOM LINE, WE BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER FOR A LIVE PERFORMANCE AND WE DO IT LIKE NO OTHER.

I MEAN, THE SENSE OF SWEATING TOGETHER AND MOVING THE AUDIENCE.

ALL OF THAT IS KIND OF HARD TO IMAGINE RIGHT NOW BUT I KNOW WE WILL GET THERE.

BUT WE ARE SORT OF CHECKING IN REGULARLY, WITH OTHER ARTIST IING INSTITUTION AND THEATERS AND PRESENTERS ON KIND OF HOW WE SHOULD MOVE FORWARD.

IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING THAT I'VE ALWAYS FOUND COMPELLING ABOUT THEATER.

AND YOU CAN CERTAINLY TALK ABOUT DANCE.

AND THAT IS, THAT INTIMACY THE ARTISTS HAVE WITH EACH OTHER AND THE PARTNERING GIVES RISE TO THAT BUT ALSO THAT INTIMACY THEY SHARE WITH THE AUDIENCE.

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE PHYSICAL EXERTION, THE BEAUTY OF THE MOVEMENT, BUT THE REAL LIFE, YOU KNOW, PERSPIRATION AND BREATHING PATTERNS, ALL OF THOSE THINGS, AND I GUESS WHAT I'M SAYING TO YOU IS -- IS -- YOU'RE DOING THE BEST TO GET THAT NOW, ARE YOU HOPEFUL YOU'LL BE ABLE TO ULTIMATELY RECAPTURE ALL OF THAT SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE.

YES, I THINK THAT WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT WE WILL RECAPTURE ALL THAT.

BECAUSE THAT'S PART OF WHAT PEOPLE LOVE ABOUT THIS COMPANY THAT IS NOW 60.

RIGHT.

THERE'S A REASON WE'VE BEEN SEEN BY OVER 25 MILLION PEOPLE, 71 COUNTRIES, 6 CONTINENTS, BUT WHO'S COUNTING?

I THINK PEOPLE HAVE A GREATER APPRECIATION.

I MEAN, THE AUDIENCE AND THE DANCERS DELIVERING THAT, HEARING THE APPLAUSE, FEELING THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY, NOT JUST ON THE STAGE.

HAVE A GREATER APPRECIATION OF HAVING THE ABILITY TO SHOW UP SHEEND OUT.

-- AND SHOW OUT.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO.

LAST QUESTION, GOT ABOUT A MINUTE HERE.

FOLKS WATCHING SAYING, THAT'S SUCH A VALUABLE ORGANIZATION WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP THEM OUT, WHAT'S THE ANSWER BE.

WE HAVE SOMETHING CALLED STILL WE DANCE.

YOU CAN FIND IT ON OUR WEBSITE, ALVINALY.ORG.

IT STANDS FOR WHAT IT SAYS WE'RE CONTINUING TO GIVE YOU FREE ONLINE CONTENT SO YOU REALLY FEEL INCLUDED IN THE JOURNEY WE'RE TAKING.

WE CAN OFFER YOU SOMETHING.

IF PEOPLE COULD GIVE WE APPRECIATE IT.

WE KNOW IT IS A HARD TIME.

BUT ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO KEEP US ABLE TO BRING YOU THAT CONTENT WE GREATLY APPRECIATE.

ONCE AGAIN ROBERT BATTLE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR THE ALVIN ALY DANCE THEATER, YOU'RE ALL DOING WONDERFUL WORK.

NOT NOW WHEN DO WE NEED THE VALUE OF THE ARTS AND THEATER AND DANCE AND YOU'RE DOING HEROIC EFFORTS TO TRY TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE THAT AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING BACK WITH YOU IN THE THEATER.

THANK YOU AND DO WELL.

SEND OUR BEST TO ALL YOUR ARTISTS AND PERFORMERS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

BE WELL.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY VISIT US ON METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SAFE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- ♪♪♪ 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

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