"I was doing ballet class from my living room, we were all dancing in our kitchens trying to make the most of the time in quarantine," said Skylar Brandt, Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theater.
After almost a year of darkness, Brandt will be back in the spotlight this Sunday.
"I will be dancing the Dying Swan variation," Brandt said. "It's going to be a wonderful return to the stage after many months of blocking performance opportunities."
Brandt is one of several dancers who will be part of a four-performance series on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Guests will be socially distant and required to wear masks.
The lineup is part of Melissa Gerstein and Kimberly Gianellis' new initiative called "We Heart Dance New York City."
"It's a celebration of all types of dance from Broadway to ballet," Gerstein said. "The dance community from the Tri-State area is going to bring dance back to life in New York City."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings last month, allowing plays, concerts, and other performances to start again on April 2 at a limited capacity. But Gerstein says the We Heart Dance initiative gives dancers a better opportunity to regain their footing.
"We started We Heart Dance because we were frustrated with the lack of resources for dancers," she said. "Not just performing opportunities, but financial reasons. Dancers need support. This is a fund so dancers can apply for emergency relief."
"In the past year, dancers were jobless, most dancers had to leave New York City because they couldn't afford rent," said Christine Shevchenko, Principal Ballerina of the American Ballet Theater.
Shevchenko says she kept busy by finding performances outside the country and teaching. Last fall, she got into Harvard University. But there is nothing like her first love.
"It feels kind of like a homecoming and I am just so excited to perform live in the city," Shevchenko said.
They will breathe new life into the dance scene.
Click here for ticket information.
ALSO READ | Data suggests 'breakthrough' COVID-19 cases in the thousands across US
MORE ABC 7 UNITE
See more stories at abc7NY.com/unite
SEND STORY IDEAS TO EYEWITNESS NEWS
Watch Here & Now
Here & Now episode archive
We are also publishing resources in a range of areas, which will grow and can be found below:
Ways to Help
Black Lives Matter
Black Voters Matter Fund
National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform
Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY)
Black LGBTQIA + Migrants Project
Teaching the Next Generation
Black Lives Matter at School
Creating Space To Talk About Racism At Your School
Teaching for Black Lives - Rethinking Schools
Black-Owned Bookstores in New York and New Jersey
Cafe con Libros (Brooklyn)
Grandma's Place (Harlem)
Sister's Uptown (Manhattan)
Source of Knowledge (Newark)
The Lit. Bar (Bronx)
The Little Boho Bookshop (Bayonne)
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Black Wall Street 1921
Jemele Hill is Unbothered
American Son: Available on Netflix
If Beale Street Could Talk: Available on Hulu
Just Mercy: Available on Amazon Prime
Selma: Available on Amazon Prime
The Hate U Give: Available on Amazon Prime
When They See Us: Available on Netflix
13th: Available on Netflix
America Inside Out with Katie Couric: Available on National Geographic
Becoming: Available on Netflix
I am Not Your Negro: Available on YouTube