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Online Dance Classes during CoronaVirus Isolation

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I don't know how many of you are dancers, or know young dancers who might be at home while dance studios are closed, but a few NYCB ballerinas (and others) have online offerings. There is such a sense of community and people being creative to help each other out in our new shared circumstances.

BRAVO DANCE WORLD!

Ashley Bouder youtube channel offers classes live at 11 am, the classes remain on her youtube channel

 

Tiler Peck is doing a class via Instagram Live, at 1 pm EST/10 am Pacific Time

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9z-kFtFSv8/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Over at Juilliard, Alicia Graf Mack, head of the Dance Division, offers class via Instagram each morning, M_F at 8:15 AM. Those classes remain online for 24 hours.  https://www.instagram.com/tv/B9y06YtjVDD/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

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Francis Veyette and Lauren Fadeley were ahead of the curve, having launched Veyette Virtual Ballet School in 2018.  (I only learned about it since they became a sponsor of Conversations on Dance.)

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My social media feeds are full of teachers migrating their studio practice to the internet.  Yoga, martial arts, Pilates, ballet, modern, hip hop -- even Kate Wallich, a local dance artist who runs a weekly "everyone come" practice called Dance Church, is streaming like mad.

Hoping that we learn some lessons about outreach from this, when we're back on a more even keel.

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Sara Mearns has been posting hints that  the spring season will be cancelled on her Instagram, like on her stories she says it’s her last time in the studio for a while, etc

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    PNB just posted this video of Kyle Davis and Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan taking class at home:

    

     

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I love the slice of life there, with the dogs clamoring on the sideline!

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This is such a fabulous, creative, generous thing!  I will say that, as a teacher in a neighborhood ballet school, most schools in our area are having their teachers film classes that they can email to their enrolled students.  I'm preparing to do this myself!  I know many of my students are taking advantage of the generosity of all the professional dancers posting class or barre on Instagram!

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16 hours ago, Leah said:

Sara Mearns has been posting hints that  the spring season will be cancelled on her Instagram, like on her stories she says it’s her last time in the studio for a while, etc

 

She says "I don't know, at this moment, when the next time will be..." Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We don't know. 

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9 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

 

She says "I don't know, at this moment, when the next time will be..." Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We don't know. 

That and her stories yesterday seemed pretty bleak. In addition, NYCB's website states that because the CDC is recommending an eight week suspension "for venues our size" it is currently "assessing our upcoming performance currently scheduled from late April through the end of May."

I think it's pretty safe to say that there's a strong possibility that NYCB will be affected. Given that other institutions are postponing until May 10 I think it's a safe bet that there'll be a reduced season at least. ABT starts on May 11 so hopefully that season will remain intact. 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/18/2020 at 2:39 PM, Leah said:

That and her stories yesterday seemed pretty bleak. In addition, NYCB's website states that because the CDC is recommending an eight week suspension "for venues our size" it is currently "assessing our upcoming performance currently scheduled from late April through the end of May."

I think it's pretty safe to say that there's a strong possibility that NYCB will be affected. Given that other institutions are postponing until May 10 I think it's a safe bet that there'll be a reduced season at least. ABT starts on May 11 so hopefully that season will remain intact. 

Sorry to say so, but it seems really unlikely that either company can resume their seasons until, as the medical experts put it, we "flatten the curve". Meaning, the number of new Covid-19 cases is brought to a virtual halt for a period, and the hospitals, clinics, etc. are able to restock and resupply their personnel with the necessary protective equipment, and create bed space for the sick. Right now we're in a situation where the nurses, doctors, EMT's and everyone else in direct contact with the sick (or possible carriers) often don't have the proper gear to keep themselves from getting sick and becoming carriers. Production is ramping up on medical supplies, but it's going to take time to hit necessary levels. And creating lots of quarantine sites is going to take still longer...

Virtual ballet classes is an idea whose time has come!

Edited by pherank

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I am addicted to Frances Chung's Instagram where she and her son, Forest, do stretching exercises.  (And he is wearing a Vancouver T-shirt!)  But watching Chung, I can see how dancers would be able to maintain flexibility and basic technique, even if jumping is limited, but active recovery, endurance and pacing are other challenges, especially as gyms and PT/Feldenkrais/Pilates sessions are closed.

On the silver lining side, there are going to be dancers who are going to get much-needed healing time that they can't afford to take during an active season.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I am addicted to Frances Chung's Instagram where she and her son, Forest, do stretching exercises.  (And he is wearing a Vancouver T-shirt!)  But watching Chung, I can see how dancers would be able to maintain flexibility and basic technique, even if jumping is limited, but active recovery, endurance and pacing are other challenges, especially as gyms and PT/Feldenkrais/Pilates sessions are closed.

Forest may be the first danseur to master Terpsichore's "swimming lesson".

Misa Kuranaga just posted about her issue of not having a proper surface to do pointe work on. Alas, most people don't choose a place to live based on how perfectly it replicates their work environment.

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In order to hold remote company class, the dancer participants need to start using their computers with online video conferencing (and presumably the class leader needs to have a built-in camera on their computer like Apple Mac's have).

I was emailing with an old friend (who is a corporate VP), and he recommends Zoom for online video conferencing. But there are quite a few online apps for video conferencing - Google has one, Adobe, there's FreeConferenceCall.com, UberConference -  and those are just some of the ones that have a good reputation.

Zoom has a "Support during the COVID-19 pandemic" web page:
This site is here to help you most effectively use Zoom as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

But the dancers would likely need technical help just to get things going, which is why everyone ends up doing Facebook and Instagram video which tends to be small and low-quality. And you would be supporting Facebook, which is its own issue, imo.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, pherank said:

In order to hold remote company class, the dancer participants need to start using their computers with online video conferencing (and presumably the class leader needs to have a built-in camera on their computer like Apple Mac's have).

I was emailing with an old friend (who is a corporate VP), and he recommends Zoom for online video conferencing. But there are quite a few online apps for video conferencing - Google has one, Adobe, there's FreeConferenceCall.com, UberConference -  and those are just some of the ones that have a good reputation.

Zoom has a "Support during the COVID-19 pandemic" web page:
This site is here to help you most effectively use Zoom as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

But the dancers would likely need technical help just to get things going, which is why everyone ends up doing Facebook and Instagram video which tends to be small and low-quality. And you would be supporting Facebook, which is its own issue, imo.

I suspect we're seeing dancers using Facebook and Instagram not so much because they lack technical help but more because those platforms are where they already have social media communities established.

Zoom has quickly become ubiquitous; lots of people who'd never heard of it two weeks ago are now either using it or at least aware of it. If the priority now were for something more high-tech or high-quality, I think they'd be using it — and if there ever are actual remote professional company classes, I would expect them to be held on a platform such as that.

But I think this is a time when the more pressing priorities are connectedness, community cultivation, interactivity (e.g. comments, @s, #s, reposts), and finding new ways to use the platforms that are already familiar.

ETA:  And it looks like there is indeed a regular Zoom class for NYCB dancers (and some ABT guests) occurring every day now, according to numerous affiliated social media accounts. Different platforms are being used for different purposes.

Edited by nanushka

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15 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I suspect we're seeing dancers using Facebook and Instagram not so much because they lack technical help but more because those platforms are where they already have social media communities established.

Yes, people will tend to stick to something they already know, that's human nature. But sometimes circumstances force a change. It will be interesting to see how this remote class thing develops.

One thing I'm realizing is that few dancers have access to decent, safe flooring (that can be danced upon without injury) while at home. Even performing basic barre exercises can be difficult in some living spaces. It's hard to participate in a "class" if the exercise surface is inadequate, and possibly dangerous. I hope we don't see a rise in foot and ankle injuries just because the dancers want to stay in shape. The dancers probably feel that a layoff period is not a good time to spend money on a ballet flooring surface.

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7 minutes ago, pherank said:

Yes, people will tend to stick to something they already know, that's human nature. But sometimes circumstances force a change.

It's because they already know it, but I think it's also because Facebook, Instagram, etc. offer important things that platforms like Zoom do not.

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Posted (edited)

Tamara Rojo led a tiny group of English National Ballet dancers in class today.

 

Edited by volcanohunter

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A lot of ballet schools and Pilates studios are using Zoom to teach classes. I think the Instagram classes serve a purpose as well—they were up quickly before many studios had their classes up and running and they also made dancers feel less alone. The situation is obviously not ideal, especially for people who tend to be perfectionists used to working many hours a day, nearly every day, but feeling a sense that they are all in this together has eased some very real anxieties. 

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Sasha Mukhamedov posted this time-lapse video of her online class with other SFB dancers - it looks like she may be using Zoom, but it's hard to see the screen in detail:

 

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