Updated: Jul 23, 2020
This summer MBDT initiated its virtual dance classes and workshops based on my desperate need to connect with other fellow dancers. Our culture is now five months into COVID-19 quarantine, and it has had a significant impact on all performing arts. The first blow of the pandemic was breath-taking. Major performing arts venues shut down for the next year? Classes cancelled? No regular dance rehearsals? These are major identifiers for dance and for dancers. College dance professors, K-12 educators, and private dance studio owners - hurry up and learn how to conduct your classes online if you want to survive. And who is able to show up to these dance classes? Very few individuals. It is still hard to breathe, but we are too far along and heading towards August to keep our heads in the sand - my head in the sand. The minute I started the virtual dance classes through MBDT, connecting with my former dance students online, my spirit lifted and my depression diminished. Authentic dance community engagement can be cultivated online, and it has its rewards for the participants and the instructor. Additionally, there are many aspects of the computer perspective that imitate structures in our dance culture: mirrors, stage space (including good lighting) and performance behavior. Luckily, if the band width gods are in a good mood, we even have nearly real time response allowing for the most important aspect of all - live dialogue and collaborative movement exchange. Many artists out there have voiced the terrible limitations of conducting virtual performing arts, but there can be some delightful benefits, and if we are in this for the long haul we might want to grow our embrace around this new way of communicating our art.
Virtual Ballet Class, July 2020