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July 10, 2020 Update:
Although lockdown is lifting in stages, I’m still ‘bubbling’ with J and the in-laws. (I’ve been here for more than 100 days, people!) I originally created this lockdown dance diary to prove that my home dance activities were plausible. In fact, I’ve completed 31/66 suggestions. I cut off the diary on Day 100, since things are slowly opening back up – and now dance studios in the UK are to open at the end of the month.
To sum it up, my time in lockdown has been spent watching an insane amount of dance shows, participating in some online dance classes (like these online Gaga technique dance classes), attending one virtual dance party, cross-training a bit, writing a ton (for Dance Dispatches, obviously) and performing self-care, while dreaming I could get a massage at a spa. I also launched the Dance Passport challenge – and got to chat to Nicky Patrick about it on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex! So, it’s not all bad.
What have you gotten up to since self-quarantine began? Let us know in the comments below.
Hello, dance family. I hope you’re staying well as you dutifully self-isolate and social distance. A few days ago, we shared a list of 60+ at-home dance-related activities, from taking online ballet barre classes to dance business tasks, to help you keep busy while COVID-19 looms large. I’d be remiss to ignore my own advice, so this is how I’m keeping busy: dancing, connecting with the dance community and practicing self-care. Let’s see how many activities I can complete from the list before social restrictions become unnecessary.
Day 1. March 20, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 1]
Today sets the pace as I settle into self-isolation. I froze my rolling monthly gym membership yesterday – and I spent my first day working from home. In bed. So, naturally, I feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. My inner sloth pleads me to start Day 1 tomorrow, but we compromise.
I complete 30 minutes of Pilates in the living room and tick off one of my favorite suggestions.
60. Treat yourself to an at-home massage.
Day 2. Mar 21, 2020. [Tasks: 2, Total: 3]
Today’s dance task was fulfilled as I obnoxiously paraded in front of the television to grab J’s attention. Lo and behold, I had invented my silly walk!
27. Develop the stride you’d represent in the ‘silly walks’ parade.
Should I ever have the chance to join a parade with The Ministry of Silly Walks (as seen in this Monty Python skit), I’ll pitch my torso forward and walk sideways, swinging my arms like a very determined goofball, as shown in the video below while we wait at the trout farm. ? Sometimes dance is about looking incredible – and sometimes it’s about letting go of your ego.
Then, to end a day full of ‘hard work’, I treated myself to a some self-care.
61. Soak in the tub.
Perhaps tomorrow I should try some more actual dancing…
Day 3. Mar 22, 2020. [Tasks: 2, Total: 5]
I crept downstairs early this morning to watch dance videos on the living room TV before anyone else got up.
59. Stretch it out.
I tuned into a short video that combined a jazz warm-up with stretch session from Italia Conti. Rapid cardio got the blood flowing, followed by isolations, contractions and exercises to lengthen the muscles. (I hadn’t expected penché practice before breakfast!)
49. Lay down… for floor barre.
Then I flipped on a floor barre from Alessia Lugoboni, co-founder of Lazy Dancer Tips. Hello hip flexors! It was also the first time I tried floor barre exercises on my stomach… Eep.
Day 4. Mar 23, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 6]
There’s not too much to say; today was a dance business day.
37. Keep track of your finances in preparation for tax season.
I sent a campaign report and invoice for our latest social media campaign. And if you’re looking for a way to connect with the larger dance community, learn about exciting collaboration opportunities on our Work With Us page.
Day 5. Mar 24, 2020. [Tasks: 3, Total: 9]
When you’re a dance dabbler, it can be a little tricky to find a dance genre you’ve never tried before. But I found a way to:
52. Try a new dance style.
Despite having very poor hand-eye coordination, I fished out a hula hoop to learn a little hoop dance. Good thing my hoop is lightweight, since I may have flung it towards the TV a few times…! But I had a lot of fun, and I was so excited to develop my skills, I practiced for nearly an hour in the backyard.
Deanne Love (above) has tons of great tutorials on her YouTube channel.
In general, although it’s only March, 2020 has been a stressful year. So I decided to:
I joined a group meditation session, where we focused on loving kindness for others. I combined this with additional heart-opening on my yoga wheel, bringing my daily dance ‘task’ total up to three with:
63. Decompress your spine.
Day 8. Mar 27, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 10]
In addition to Friday, today was World Theatre day – a conspicuous day for a few arts organizations to launch their new digital seasons and programs. This gave me the perfect opportunity to:
12. Watch full-length dance productions.
I joined ‘Live’ streaming performances of Peter and the Wolf by The Royal Ballet / The Royal Ballet School, hosted by the Royal Opera House – followed by BalletBoyz’ Deluxe show, moderated by Sadler’s Wells. You might even spy us commenting in the live discussion on Facebook some day!
Day 10. Mar 29, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 11]
This was really a three-day task, but I wrote a new blog post, which counts as:
29. Update your dance website.
I compiled a massive list of dance at home resources that outlines the best places to find live shows and classes amid self isolation for Covid-19.
Day 11. Mar 30, 2020. [Tasks: 2, Total: 13]
3. Check out dance trends on TikTok.
In writing this post about fun 2020 dance challenges, I had to do a little research, so I had to venture into the world of TikTok.
For those of you who are also a little behind the times, ‘the floss’ and the ‘triangle’ jumping dance, have been replaced by the #GhenCovyChallenge about washing your hands, as well as the three-person #BlindingLightsChallenge. If you’re curious, but don’t feel like logging into TikTok, you can read about 19 top Tik Tok dances on Insider.
I’ve been meaning to improvise for more than a week now, but today was the day, since I was invited to join the #danceitout2020 challenge.
You can see our improv video in the full list of current dance challenges, as mentioned above. The song: Trouble by Ray LaMontagne.
Day 15. Apr 3, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 14]
I have been so excited about our upcoming posts and collaborations on Dance Dispatches, my regular bedtime has crept past 1:00am. Tonight, I am tucking myself in more than an hour before midnight. Zzzzz…
66. Go to bed early.
Day 17. Apr 5, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 15]
Since lockdown, I’ve found it much harder to concentrate than normal on some days; so I was quite glad to:
2. Get lost watching dance videos on YouTube.
Somehow, I came across this incredible Indian-modern fusion dance to this popular Carnatic remix of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. Check out this video by Amit Patel below. (If you enjoyed Akram Khan’s Until the Lions, I think you’re going to like it.) And there are many more impressive dance covers to the song, too.
Day 16. Apr 4, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 16]
In preparation for our big, new dance challenge… I’ve had to:
10. Read about the global dance traditions and attractions.
I’ve only told a few people about the project, but I can’t wait to share it with you during the official launch! Soon enough, we’ll unveil our dance passport. #DDdancepassport.
Day 18. Apr 6, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 16]
During quarantine, I’ve gone from worrying about finding digital dance resources to keep me connected – to stressing about how I can take advantage of the classes and performances to which I wouldn’t normally have access.
Day 19. Apr 7, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 16]
Although I was late to the watch party, I took the time to watch Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Línea Recta on Ballet Hispánico’s Facebook page, where powerful flamenco influences are fused with beautiful balletic partnering. ?
I found out that the NYC-based company is planning to show Michelle Manzanales’ Con Brazos Abiertos soon. We saw it in November, alongside Lopez Ochoa’s Tiburones in The Power of the Latina Voice, and we’re glad you’ll get the opportunity, too!
Day 20. Apr 8, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 17]
It’s kind of amazing how tense the muscles can get – mostly from sitting at home. I think my downfall has been working from home without a proper desk set up.
After my bath I gathered my cups from Hong Kong to:
62. Try cupping. (Even though I’ve done it before.)
It’s an especially good time to use cups, so no one can see bruises that unintentionally form and mistake them for hickeys. I’m looking forward to more self treatments.
Day 21. Apr 9, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 17]
I’ve realized that there are an abundance of dance resources. And it’s fantastic. But now it’s just as easy to get FOMO, even in lockdown.
So I narrowed down all of the options into a list of the absolute best online dance activities for quarantine.
Day 22. Apr 10, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 18]
Although dancers are staying at home, the dance news hasn’t stopped. New digital dance resources pop up daily, so it’s good to:
15. Keep up on dance news.
In addition to checking out our dance blog for news, you can also check for dance stories on our Flipboard magazines. You can also sign up for dance Google Alerts.
Day 23. Apr 11, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 18]
It took three days of sneaking down to the living room before everyone else woke up to watch it on a screen larger than my laptop, but I finished Royal Ballet’s Mayerling show – just before it expired.
Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling is a fascinating ballet, based on the life of Austria-Hungary’s Crown Prince Rudolf. Steven McRae artfully plays the perturbed protagonist in the macabre plot. You’ll be enthralled by the intricate choreography from beginning to end.
Day 24. Apr 12, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 18]
I indulged in a few more online dance performances today, this time precariously viewed from the tub: Carmen.maquia by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano on Ballet Hispánico and Crystal Pite’s The Statement on Nederlands Dans Theater.
Day 26. Apr 14, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 19]
I launched the Dance Passport challenge, so we made sure to:
35. Talk to [our] followers on social media.
Day 30. Apr 18, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 19]
Day 33. Apr 19, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 19]
I filmed myself line dancing for the Dance Passport challenge, line dancing to the Footloose theme song by Kenny Loggins in the sunshine. Quarantine or not – not a bad way to spend my time.
Day 34. Apr 22, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 19]
I tuned in for the English National Ballet’s live watch party of Broken Wings, choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (whose work we saw live in Ballet Hispánico’s The Power of the Latina Voice). The fascinating piece traces the life events of famed artist Frida Kahlo, and the moving choreography is complemented by fanciful costumes and staging elements.
One of my comments even managed to garner a ‘laugh’ from whoever was running the ENB Facebook account:
‘I love how Frida was acting as a wing woman for herself (x 3) ?’
“Broken Wings may be full of skeletons, but it’s bursting with life. It demonstrates Kahlo’s tremendous strength as she deals with physical pain, betrayal and grief.”– Dance Dispatches
Day 36. Apr 24, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 19]
I watched Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Night Creature – a delightfully jazzy piece that lasts about 15 minutes. After viewing so many narrative dances (primarily ballets), it was freeing to simply appreciate the gorgeous movement and the dancers’ individual styles.
Mmm, mmm, good.
Day 37. Apr 25, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 20]
I’ve been posting regularly on the Dance Dispatches social media channels – sharing dates and times for upcoming performances. I’m happy to do this, too. But today, I took time to individually message friends about the online shows I think they will enjoy.
16. Message your dance friends to see how they’re coping at home.
When you move abroad and change jobs, it’s easy for friendships to fizzle out. You rarely see each other and you don’t have as much in common as you did in the past. But I received a handful of grateful replies (from both dance friends and other friends that simply appreciate performance art), and it was a nice way re-start conversations.
Day 38. Apr 26, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 21]
Since I’ve been doing a lot more dance writing than dancing, I haven’t thought much about my dance goals lately.
44. Set new dance goals.
But today, I’ve come up with the somewhat silly goal of regaining my splits. Whenever I re-watch this killer heels choreography to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl by Marissa Heart, the ability to do the splits seems more and more necessary…
Day 39. Apr 27, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 22]
English National Ballet Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo, has recorded 23 ballet classes since March 20. I recommended her classes as one of the best dance activities online, and I’m glad I finally got around to taking class this morning.
48. Take an online ballet barre class.
I only had enough non-carpeted space for the barre portion (40 minutes of the 60-minute video), but I felt reinvigorated afterwards. Let’s hope I can keep the momentum going – like when I danced ballet every day for 10 days in a row on my mini ballet journey.
Day 40. Apr 28, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 23]
Another day, another dance interview published.
14. Get into the heads of dance artists and choreographers.
I interviewed Raymond Sweetman, founder of the Purple A K-pop group in London to find out more about beginning dance as an adult.
Day 41. Apr 29, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 23]
Happy International Dance Day!
(Confession: I danced the two days previously, but not today. Ah well, that’s life.)
Day 42. Apr 30, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 23]
I joined a Graham modern dance class (at least the floor work bit).
Day 43. May 1, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 24]
Have you noticed there is an abundance of online dance resources now? I’ve had to make a schedule of when each performance will be live, so I don’t miss out – which is pretty similar to:
9. Organize a dance movie marathon.
Today, I watched Akram Khan’s Dust on the English National Ballet – and New York City Ballet’s Apollo by George Balanchine. (This is the NYCB’s oldest piece of Balanchine repertory!)
Day 45. May 3, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 24]
The performance watching marathon continues with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Ode and a double bill from New York City Ballet: the jubilant Ballo Della Regina (George Balanchine) and the pas de deux from After the Rain (Christopher Wheeldon).
I had a feeling that Wheeldon’s duet would be a treat, after viewing the touching Us pas de deux for BalletBoyz – and my hunch was correct.
Day 46. May 4, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 25]
Hooray, I recorded income and expenses today. (Not hooray because it was fun – rather because it’s done for a month.)
37. Keep track of your finances in preparation for tax season.
Day 48. May 6, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
I tuned into English National Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet, which reminded me of learning the Romeo and Juliet repertory with London Ballet Masterclasses.
Day 50. May 8, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
Friday night – and another show: Ballet Black’s Ingoma by Mthuthuzeli November. I’d really like to see this one in person.
Day 52. May 10, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
I saw the Paris Opera Ballet in Chicago during 2012, and I never imagined that I’d enjoy watching another one of their shows, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from home.
Admittedly, all of the action from the play was shoved into the first half of the ballet; so I only watched a tiny bit of the wedding act. I feel like I have spent too much time watching performances on my laptop lately, for fear of missing out.
Day 53. May 11, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
Afterwards, I tuned into NYCB’s Concerto DSCH.
Day 55. May 13, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
Day 56. May 14, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
Did you know it’s Asian American Pacific Islander month? I was very happy to interview Bollywood choreographer Joya Kazi – and to learn her experience working on the set of Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever show.
Day 57. May 15, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
I never read Franz Kafka’s most famous work, so I watched Arthur Pita’s The Metamorphosis ballet for the Royal Opera House. It was more like dance theater than ballet, but well worth a watch. I honestly hadn’t imagined a story about turning into a bug would be so relatable.
I also viewed Christopher Wheeldon’s A Winter’s Tale for the Royal Ballet, which deservedly received a high recommendation from a friend.
Day 60. May 18, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 25]
I took my second online Gaga dance class, so that I could accurately compare the Gaga people sessions to the Gaga dancer sessions. They are similar, but the differences were noticeable.
Day 61. May 19, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 26]
I watched the Lin Hwai-Min’s serene Moon Water danced by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. The stunning moonlit set, paired with the martial arts influence, makes this one of the company’s most memorable productions. I saw it a few years ago (on screen, too), but it was nice to:
8. Relive [my] favorite dance performance.
Day 63. May 21, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
Although I had seen her as Myrtha in Akram Khan’s Giselle, I hadn’t previously seen any of Stina Quagebeur’s work. Her piece, Nora, for the English National Ballet was based on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House play. It was a truly captivating blend of ballet and modern dance – with a gorgeous score to match.
I also stumbled upon a Vogue dance class with Birmingham DanceXchange, led by Jason Andrew Guest. I’ve always wanted to try vogue – and I loved it! Now I just need to find a vogue ball to attend…
Day 65. May 23, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
It’s a Saturday, and yes, I’m still working on dance stuff. Maintaining a dance blog / dance website really is a labor of love!
Today, I’m excited to have published an interview with Phil Chan, co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface. He talks about Asian representation in dance and how artists and companies can be more thoughtful in presenting characters instead of gross caricatures.
Day 66. May 24, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I caught Scottish Ballet’s Snow Queen just before it came down from BBC iPlayer. It’s a wintry, family friendly show – with a strong cast of female leads. What’s to like?
Day 68. May 26, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I got a good workout filming my samba, which you can see in the ‘behind the scenes‘ post.
And don’t forget, you can join the Dance Passport challenge here.
Day 70. May 28, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I have seen so many beautiful shows during lockdown. Today’s feature was Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia on the Royal Ballet. The first two scenes are very balletic, while the third is more modern in nature.
Day 72. May 30, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I’ve been active on Twitter a lot recently, connecting with artists worried about the future of their professions and livelihoods. Today, my thoughts coalesced in this post about the state of the performing arts industry and the importance of remaining connected.
Day 73. May 31, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
Another day, another ballet. This time it was Cathy Marston’s The Cellist ballet at the Royal Opera House. It’s a biographical piece about Jacqueline du Pré.
Day 75. Jun 2, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I found Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Terrain available through the Sydney Opera House. The company represents Aboriginal culture, and the piece focuses on Lake Eyre from the perspective of the Arabunna (or Arabana) tribe.
Day 80. Jun 7, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
Dance Theatre of Harlem put up a recording of Creole Giselle with an all black cast that takes place in Louisiana, USA. Naturally, I watched it.
Day 82. Jun 9, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
GRIMM is a fairy tale dance show put on by ISH Dance Collective and the Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet. Naturally, I watched this, too.
Day 84. Jun 11, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
I’m still keeping up on dance news, and I compiled the sweetest heartwarming dance stories that emerged during lockdown. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 favorite stories every month.
Day 86. Jun 13, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 26]
We’ve already seen so many recordings of dance shows, so it was exciting to watch the Beyond Words ballet film, by BalletBoyz directors and Royal Ballet dancers. The work can be categorized as screen dance – dance made specifically for film.
Day 87. Jun 14, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 27]
I created my own screendance video from site-specific improvisation clips on a windowsill. I’m actually quite pleased with the end product, too… 🙂 And interestingly, I’ve come across two other dance videos that feature windowsills.
20. Choreograph a dance for video (screendance) – check.
Day 92. Jun 19, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 27]
2020 has been hectic to say the least. So it was a welcome escape to join San Francisco Ballet on ‘planet Bjork’ with Arthur Pita’s Bjork Ballet.
Day 93. Jun 20, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 27]
The Frederick Ashton’s comedic La Fille Mal Gardee was also a pretty good way to temporarily escape some real life problems.
Day 94. Jun 21, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 27]
Twitter laments the doom and gloom for the theater industry, while the news promotes happy little snippets that show dancers and artists still training or performing at home.
I wrote about the challenges online dance businesses will face, since I think some people are blind to how difficult earning income will be when everyone shifts to digital at the same time.
Day 96. Jun 23, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 27]
I tuned into Shobana Jeysasingh Dance Company’s TooMortal piece, which takes place in the wooden pews of a church. It’s a quick one – just 20 minutes – and there are some very lovely images.
Day 97. Jun 24, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 28]
I’ve let my fitness slide over the past few weeks. So I’ve reintegrated a more intense workout to:
51. Improve upper body strength.
This will definitely help when I get back to practicing inversions.
Day 98. Jun 25, 2020. [Tasks: 0, Total: 28]
The Royal Ballet presented quite a few works by Kenneth MacMillan – and now the English National Ballet shared MacMillan’s Manon, I had to tune in.
Day 99. Jun 26, 2020. [Tasks: 1, Total: 29]
Continuing on the fitness kick, I’ve been getting into Just Dance and I tried a BollyX digital dance fitness workout.
53. Get moving with an online dance fitness class.
Day 100. Jun 27, 2020. [Tasks: 2, Total: 31]
And rounding the 100th day off with two tasks, I’m getting ready to appear on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex to talk about the Dance Passport challenge with Nicky Patrick. And I’m getting the email announcement ready. So, I’ve ticked off:
30. Plan your PR strategy.
36. Put together your next e-newsletter.
Unfortunately, I was unable to complete some of the activities. I couldn’t excavate ancient dance videos of myself (5), since they’re a few thousands miles away – and I couldn’t review my New Year’s resolutions, since I uncharacteristically didn’t make any this year. I also didn’t update my dance reel (28), since I don’t have any new dance footage. And I technically curled up with a dance book (1), but didn’t manage to finish it.
… But finally, enough about me! What have you gotten up to since lockdown began? Let us know in the comments below.