For many students, adjusting to a college education online for the remaining semester has been a bit of a shift. Biology majors have resorted to doing labs at home, journalism majors have continued to write online, but for dance majors, the adjustment has been more intense.
In the blink of an eye, Marymount dance majors were exempt from the studios. They were told that in the coming weeks, ballet classes, modern classes, and even jazz classes would resume via video calls. Dancing in their kitchen and living room has become the new normal, but with all of the adjusting taking place they have learned one important lesson. They are more than just dancers, they are artists.
“My experience dancing at home has been both positive and negative,” said sophomore, Amanda Meder. “It has been nice to keep moving and connecting with the Marymount community, and usually dancing leaves me feeling fulfilled and productive.”
On the other hand, Meder says that internet connection and smaller spaces at home have been challenging. It has not been ideal, but it has stretched her and her dancing in ways she never thought possible.
Meghan Keeney, a senior at MMC, acknowledged that it has been frustrating and depressing.
“I think it’s really hard because we had so much change overnight and we had so many emotions to deal with because we are dealing with the uncertainty of this virus,” said Keeney. “We are dealing with the uncertainty of the dance industry. We don’t know when it’s going to open back up.”
Along with colleges, specifically dance colleges, the entire dance industry has been put on hold. Many professional companies have shut down, Broadway remains closed, and the future for all is uncertain. But the dance world has been creative. Online zoom classes and Instagram live classes have become a new normal.
Although this situation has not been ideal, dance has continued to press on. Movement might be restricted due to small dance spaces, and people may feel distant, but dance remains. There is nothing that can take away dance Keeney says. Through wars and even the AIDS crisis. Dance continues to rise above.
“Some days I will feel fine and have a positive outlook and other days I will feel stuck and feel immeasurable sadness for what is happening in our world,” said Sam Behrens, a sophomore at Marymount. “I have definitely dealt with the situation by creating as much as I can and using it as an outlet for everything I am feeling.”
When talking about Dancers At Work, one of the productions put on each semester by the dance department, Meder emphasized how much she has learned from creating a piece with her cast virtually. She has appreciated the chance to step away from the daily zoom technique classes and create something that has moved her in the process. Along with fellow artists, her cast has worked to record personal videos and edit them together to make a cohesive piece. Through it all, she has learned how important it is to never take anything for granted.
A dancer’s space and the energy of people around them are extremely influential. Moving forward we will realize the importance said, Keeney. Although the transition to virtual classes took place overnight, the transition back will take much longer.
“It is definitely going to be difficult coming back after the financial setback for so many dance companies, but with the dance community’s resilience and creativity, I have no doubt that we will come back stronger than ever,” said Meder.
The dance industry may never be the same for obvious reasons, but if anything, love for the arts will have only increased.
“I have learned a lot about myself, seen clarity in my love for dance and my love for people in my life,” said Behrens.