Ballet By The Ocean (Atlantic Ballet of Canada)

Welcome to The Pivot series, where we celebrate the resilience and innovation of Atlantic Canadians entrepreneurs who adapted tremendously to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked business leaders from across the region to tell us in their own words how they navigated the new economy and the lessons they learned along the way. Here is what one entrepreneur had to say.

Susan Chalmers Gauvin
Ballet By The Ocean (Atlantic Ballet of Canada)

We’ve always created original ballets and toured them across Canada and in Europe. That was our model. And then we had to adapt to an ever-changing situation where we couldn’t use that same model anymore. How could we keep everyone employed? We started by making masks during the initial lockdown as a fundraising activity. Everyone participated: dancers were cutting fabric, teachers were sewing and picking up the fabric, and so on. It was a wonderful way to stay connected in a common cause together and to keep in touch with our audience and community. We made over 4,000 masks and raised $50,000 dollars.

Then summer came around and the situation was clearly here to stay a while longer. That’s when Ballet By The Ocean came about. We put a stage in a wetland with the beautiful Northumberland Straight as the backdrop. Audience members experienced a ballet, a locally-sourced meal prepared by award-winning Chef Emmanuel Charretier set in a visually stunning location. We sold out all three performances and received tremendous comments on how much people enjoyed their experience. In 2021, we expanded the production and were able to sell out 10 performances.

We never looked at our company as part of the tourism industry, yet by being able to collectively work toward achieving a united vision, and with the support and advice from the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage, and Culture, we were able to create a tourism destination in Ballet By The Ocean. Our pivot ended up being one of out most successful creations and we are all very proud of it.

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