Ketchikan Theatre Ballet is set to bring back the energy of performing live with its annual autumn showcase.

The event is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center, and will feature KTB students in the company’s jazz and tap programs, KTB Artistic Director Zachary Leighton and instructor Jess Berto told the Daily News during a Thursday afternoon interview.

“It’s just an opportunity for our jazz and tap dancers to have another performing opportunity, I guess, because they don’t get to perform typically in Nutcracker (the next upcoming show) unless they’re also in ballet,” Berto explained. “So this gives them a second opportunity (for) performance.”

The performers are all between the ages of eight and 18, Berto said.

The autumn showcase, which has been a KTB staple since 2013, aims to provide a variety of numbers and dance styles, and show off what the dancers have been working on throughout the year.

Seven different dance pieces were incorporated into the showcase this year.

“I would say there's a big variety,” Berto commented. “We have for instance, my jazz (level) three classes dancing to ‘Run’ by One Republic and it's just super upbeat. They're running all over the place, jumping, it's super energized. And then my jazz (level) six piece is Cruella. And so it has a very different vibe; they're kind of sneaking in and trying to steal jewels kind of deal.”

“We started rehearsing basically the first week of classes because there’s only five and a half weeks between the start of classes and when the show is, it’s a very quick turnaround,” Berto said.

“And the biggest challenge has been trying to figure out how to social distance and create choreography that does not have dancers coming into contact with each other, which is a struggle,” she added.

It’s also the first performance to hit the stage since Leighton took over as KTB’s executive artistic director this summer.

“It feels really good to start the season off, I should say with a fun show, like this,” Leighton said. “It's different, it showcases all the dancers’ different talents because you know, we are Ketchikan Theatre Ballet, and so people always think, ‘Oh, we're just ballerinas and just do ballet and ‘Nutcracker’ and things like that.’ So it's a really great opportunity.”

He also noted that the showcase provides a good opportunity to show how much the dancers improve during their time with KTB.

“(The showcase) gets to establish a baseline that we get to build on,” Leighton said. “When we come around to Spring Gala and maybe you get to see the growth that they've done over the year in their various classes,” he said. “And so that's a really fun thing to see happen and start.”

And with KTB only being allowed in-person audiences for two performances last year due to community mitigation measures put in place by the then-activated Emergency Operations Center, there are some dancers who have yet to take the stage in front of an audience.

Berto said that performing live for an audience has “such a different feel” than for a live-streamed audience, or an empty room.

“It makes me so happy,” Berto said. “These girls … had a live audience once last year. Some of them did, not all of them. In fact, I have a couple students who started dance in 2019 and their parents have not seen them dance on stage yet.”

“It’s great to be able to bring live dance to Ketchikan,” Leighton added. “And jumping through all of the hoops is definitely worthwhile if it means to put on a production.So even though there are lots of challenges given the current climate, it’s all worth it to be able to give the kids the opportunity to perform on stage in front of their friends and family.”

KTB sold out of tickets — 136 total — in about a week. The show is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. There will be assigned seating at the show, and masks are required for attendees.

“It is awesome — I know it’s artificial in a way — but it is awesome to start the season with a sold out show,” Leighton said. “And it’s fantastic, the demand for live art and live dance in Ketchikan was overwhelmingly sold out.”