Watch the behind-the-scenes video we made for Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Table of Silence Project in 2016!

A Reimagined Table of Silence Project | Live-Streaming With COVID-19 Guidelines

by | Sep 8, 2020 | Livestream, Virtual Events

I’ll never forget the morning of September 11, 2001.

I had just moved to New York City only a few days before. The city I was so excited to be living in had been destroyed both physically and emotionally. I was devastated.

I’ll also never forget the moment Jacqulyn Buglisi of Buglisi Dance Theatre asked me to stream the Table of Silence Project as a tribute of peace.

I didn’t even hesitate when I told her I would film it. To help bring peace to what was a horrible day means a lot, and I feel more than privileged to be a part of this project with the intention to help spread the message around the world with a livestream of the performance.

This year marks the 10th year that we will be streaming Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Table of Silence Project.

Exactly one decade ago, I was up until 3am prepping for our first-ever stream together. I remember this because I had a 5am call time at Lincoln Center and I was too anxious to sleep. The internet back then wasn’t great for streaming, and I was very new to streaming. I was beyond nervous.

To all of our relief, it worked!! We had successfully streamed from Lincoln Center that morning. From then on, every morning on September 11, my team and I live-streamed Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Table of Silence Project from the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center.

This year is no different, only it is. While the Table of Silence Project is still happening as planned, we will be streaming a reimagined version of it. 

It was very important to Jacqulyn and her team for all of us to come together on the morning of September 11 for a meditation of healing and peace, even if it meant that the event had to be scaled down to meet COVID-19 guidelines.

Instead of hundreds of dancers, there will be 25 (all wearing masks, of course). Instead of multiple musicians, the impressive Daniel Bernard Romain will play solo. Instead of an entire film team with multiple cameras, I will be on my own, behind a single camera.

Nel Shelby Productions | Live-streaming with COVID-19 Guidelines the Table of Silence Project
Nel Shelby Productions | Live-streaming with COVID-19 Guidelines the Table of Silence Project
Nel Shelby Productions | Live-streaming with COVID-19 Guidelines the Table of Silence Project

I will miss the energy of all of the performers, my team and the people of New York City who stop by to reflect on what happened 19 years ago during their morning commute.

There are many things that needed to be changed to meet COVID-19 guidelines, but if you know me, you know I like to find the light during challenging times. Jacqulyn and Suzanne put out a call for dancers from all over the world to send in self-made videos of their own meditations so we can include their footage into the livestream. Get ready for some beauty from around the globe because I just worked on editing it all together and it is breathtaking!!

The reimagined Table of Silence Project will be a mix of pre-recorded moments and live-streamed, but the overall purpose is the same: to recognize a wounded world’s continuous hope for compassion, unity, healing, and peace.

Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.