What does it mean to dance and write dance in the midst of COVID-19? Here are just a few reflections, snippets of thoughts that meander across different experiences and readings. This kind of writing, for me, seems most fitting given how I seem to be living in fragments of one sort or another.
I had tickets. I was excited to share San Francisco Ballet’s Midsummer’s Night Dream with my family and dear friends. Instead, I got a code to watch a pre-recorded version and was sent a hard copy of the program in the mail. We watched on the wall in our living room, taking pauses to explain the storyline to my daughter. I’ve never seen a ballet production of Midsummer’s Night Dream so I didn’t know what to expect. As always the SF Ballet orchestra was divine. I was glad to have seen it but also sad. When will dance return to the theaters? When will audiences be back in their seats? What happens now?
Dance moves online. I am almost used to taking ballet barre online. All kinds of dance classes are now online – universities, private studios, dance companies. Dancing Alone Together offers a list of classes streaming on Instagram, Facebook, Zoom, etc. The site also offers choreographic prompts and a list of sites to watch dance online. I haven’t had time to dig around much more than looking for classes to take in my home office space but I wonder how this shift might impact the future of dance and how dance studios are deeply felt places of community.
Dance writing still happens. It’s been curious to see how COVID-19 has pushed dance writers into different modes and content. Stance on Dance has a series of posts interviewing “dance friends and colleagues” to find out how they are coping and how social distancing has impacted their practice. Jill Randall, Life as a Modern Dancer curator and writer, has been sharing daily movement poems and started a blog series titled “Why improv?”. Sima Belmar, ODC Writer in Residence, has been posting regularly on ODC Dance Stories – interviews with dance writers, personal reflections, etc. These just scratch the surface; what else is out there? I am curious.
This begs the question: what to do about my dance writing?