This past month has been a strange time for people all over the world. The dance community, full of innovators and outside-of-the-box thinkers, has responded by coming together in unique and creative ways that are truly impressive. While professionals and students alike are unable to dance in a traditional studio setting, we are all finding ways to adapt. At a time where it is challenging to stay motivated, I have been inspired to dig deeper and discover what really drives me to dance.
My day-to-day has been altered greatly, like most other people. I've gone from 5-7 hours of structured dance classes and rehearsals a day to being on my own. It is now up to me to manage how I divide my day between dancing, conditioning, academic obligations, family time, and free time. Sometimes dancing just doesn't seem like the most attractive option when you know you'll be doing it alone in your basement. What I've found has helped me is finding a few things that I ask myself to do every day, consistently. This routine offers me an incentive to stay disciplined both physically and mentally.
Bright and Early!
I usually start my day off with going on a run on my treadmill, or outdoors when the weather permits. Running allows me to get my heart rate up and get some endorphins flowing! Then, I do a short core workout followed by some stretching. This first phase of my daily routine helps me feel energized and focused the rest of the day, which is important because the next thing I do is school!
After I've completed a few academic assignments, I usually take a break to join an online dance class. Getting up and moving after sitting at a computer for so long feels great for my body and helps my brain rejuvenate. Like I mentioned earlier, the dance community has united to help us all address our lack of studio time. Live and pre-recorded classes are available in an abundance all over the internet right now and I've really enjoyed taking advantage of them. I think there is something very special about dancers from all across the world coming together to take an online class from wherever they may be. Once I get some movement in, it's usually back to the books for me!
Hanging Out at the Barre After Dark
Something this time has allowed me to do is rediscover how much I love doing ballet late at night! It has brought me back to the nights I would spend in the studio until 10:00pm or later rehearsing my YAGP solo. One of my favorite parts of doing ballet at night is that my body feels very prepared for it after my earlier activities in the day; it has a relaxed strength that I really enjoy working with. There is a point where you push past exhaustion and elation replaces it.
It is no surprise to find me in my basement with my pointe shoes strapped on at 11:00pm recently!
Even though there are many difficulties presented to dancers during this time, I think there are even more opportunities that have been made available. With all of the time on our hands free from outside distractions we are able to open our minds up to more creativity. We are able to consume more dance, film, writing, music, and other arts that will allow us to form new ideas which can be put into motion even while we are still apart. Most of all, we are able to rely on the unity dancers are finding in separation to keep us all motivated. We can take this time to focus on our technique, explore new realms, and come back to the studio stronger.