Coronavirus News: American Ballet Theater brings magic of music to kids in hospital

ByLucy Yang and Eyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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Lucy Yang has more on how the ballet is bringing joy and music to those who need it most.

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- While the American Ballet Theater is shut down due to COVID-19, they are instead bringing the magic of music to those who could truly use it.

Twice a week, the youngest patients at Mt. Sinai Hospital are taken from their hospital beds, from their pain and suffering, to the beautiful world of ballet.

For the last five weeks, ABT has been putting together two specials every week for the pediatric ward.

It's not a full-out ballet because those have been canceled during COVID, but the program features talks, small videos by the dancers and live performances by the musicians: Ballet 101 if you will.

Matt Dine is the principal oboist in the orchestra and the personnel manager.

"It's just great to make kids happy who are in the hospital," Dine said. "That's the last place anyone wants to be. If we can bring a little music and entertainment into their lives, that's just wonderful."

The summer series is in honor of Dr. Barry Webber, a surgeon at Mt. Sinai who died from COVID-19 in April.

He loved classical music and the ballet. In fact, his wife, a former dancer, is now a principal teacher ABT's children's division.

"He's living on through this program," said dance teacher Harriet Clark.

As doctors and nurses treat the patient's illness, ABT Heals is trying to lift spirits -- one pirouette at a time.

"Watching a ballet basically transports the viewer to another world," said Dr. Lisa Satlin.

The program was designed for the pediatric wing, but all patients and staff can enjoy the Zoom performance if they like. The hope is to bring the ballet to other hospitals as well.

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