VICTORIA -- Ballet Victoria has come up with an innovative way to return dancers to center stage in a pandemic-proof setting for its 2020-2021 season.

The company will present 12 performances in the newly renovated Kirk Hall Gymnasium at St. Andrew’s Church, hoping to draw community support for its artists and their newest creations.

Ballet Victoria has turned the 5,000-square-foot space into its new theatre venue, equipped with lighting, sound and physically-distanced seating.

The performances will include two premiere works – including "The Little Prince," "Polovstian Dance" and “Wistful” – choreographed by artistic director Paul Destrooper and international choreographer Peter Quanz.

Ballet Victoria says its new stage will allow for just 30 audience members – creating an intimate connection between artists and spectators.

“The third wall isn’t quite there anymore,” said principal dancer Andrea Bayne. “So having that experience and that translation, I think there’s going to be a different connection and I’m hoping I can play off that.”

The show debuts Thursday night and will run until Oct. 25.

The company says their new seating arrangement and stage meet the BCCDC’s COVID-19 safety protocols, with a lot more leg room to spare.

“For us it’s paramount to our survival to do this and we think we have a creative solution and we worked hard to build it,” said Destrooper.

“We worked hard to ensure a safe space for both our performers and for the audience,” he said.

For those who would like to watch from the comfort of their homes, the ballet will also stream performances virtually in exchange for a $15 donation.

For more information on tickets and performances, visit Ballet Victoria’s website here.