Brian Wallenberg was an Atlanta Ballet company dancer when he developed an interest in filming rehearsals and behind-the-scenes footage of his colleagues. When he stopped dancing in 2011, he was positioned him to become the ballet’s official visual storyteller. Wallenberg’s most ambitious project, Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker Drive-In Movie, replaced live performances last month. His backstage documentary about the production is available on YouTube. (Photo by Kevin Garett)
My first thought when the pandemic hit was, “This is a time to truly evolve as an artist.” And that’s exactly what I’ve done. I am not the same digital creator I was before we started sheltering in place. I’m learning new skills, filming with three cameras and more, and I have added audio equipment to my arsenal. Being able to meet new challenges so quickly showed me that we are all capable of adapting to situations and making the best of less-than-ideal circumstances. While I never anticipated the need for digital content exploding the way it has over the last nine months, in hindsight it feels like I was waiting in the wings for things to pivot . . . and I’m so grateful I was ready.
My work will always be a priority for me and I know how lucky I am to work for an arts organization that’s kept us employed despite the odds. By the same token, I see the value in being able to pause occasionally and step back because that will enhance my work moving forward.
The brightest spot in 2020 for me was getting married to the most supportive person on the planet, Paul Conroy. We have been together for more than seven years and planned to get married last July. When the pandemic hit, we moved our wedding date up to May and got married in our friends’ backyard. It was a very small affair and the weather was perfect. The impact of any marriage is profound, but after seeing how the pandemic tested many relationships for better and worse, I’m especially mindful of the fact that my relationship was made stronger. And, once again . . . I am so grateful.