As we get closer to the start of the new term, with our students returning to classes shortly, we have reached out to some of our graduate students currently working in the industry to see how the pandemic has affected their lives, how they have found the positives in these unprecedented times and what they are doing to ensure they are ready for when they able to return to the studio/stage.
First we spoke with Ebony Kitts who was due to fly to the states only days after the lockdown was imposed to begin rehearsals for Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical Cats, where she would have been performing the role of Victoria the White Cat. When talking with Ebony she said,
“After hearing the news of the lockdown I was deverstated but I had to try and focus on something postivie. I used my time in lockdown to not only keep in shape but also to practise sections of the show. I have also worked on singing so I feel as confident as I can when rehearsals eventually begin. I am lucky enough to have access to a room which is big enough for me to do daily ballet classes, even if I have been using a radiator as a barre! I have took part in many online classes and workouts. Lockdown has highlighted how beneficial the internet can be for performers; so many big industry professionals have teamed together to create a platform that brings free class content to dancers all around the world so that we can keep in shape and constantly inspired.”
When reflecting on the positives Ebony adds,
“On the other hand, this time has allowed me to slow down and appreciate life away from performing too. I live near a beautiful lake and forest, which I walk to every day and spend some time grounding myself in nature, sometimes even doing a yoga class by the lakeside. It has also brought me time I wouldn’t usually have to spend with family, and made me appreciate the importance of a daily routine. I still don’t know when it will be safe for rehearsals to begin, but I am hoping to be there around September. For now, I will continue spending my days being proactive, watching as much art as I can online, and learning about myself as a person. Performing is really just giving, therefore I believe that this time away from the stage will only make us stronger and more passionate when we finally do get to return to our homes at the theatre.”
In contract to Ebony, who was about to begin a new chapter in her dance career, her class mate Megan Phillips was already working in Germany when the pandemic hit. Megan adds,
“I’m currently in my second season dancing with Sorbisches National Ensemble just outside of Dresden, Germany. We were in full lockdown for 9 weeks with no access to the ballet studio but as dancers we needed to keep in shape. To do this I took to online classes being taught by other industry professionals and by doing my own home workouts, this also gave me a chance to explore other genres of dance again that I haven’t done since my training at BTUK, like taking online jazz and contemporary classes alongside my daily ballet class. Now thankfully we are back to work in small groups to do our class and short, socially distanced rehearsals which is a blessing for our company to be back together in the studio. Being stuck in quarantine abroad has definitely had its ups and downs but it’s also allowed me to slow down life, rekindle close friendships with some of my old classmates and taught me that I’ll never take dancing in a studio for granted ever again.”
We are so proud to see the strength and resilience shown by not only our students but graduates working around the world. This year has been so challenging for everyone and we couldn’t be prouder of our graduates representing the school in such a mature and dedicated way. We hope things return to normal soon and you, along with your peers, can return to work and the stage once more. Keep in touch, keep positive and most of all stay safe.