by Emily Bufferd
While I would be lying if I didn’t openly admit that I am currently experiencing a bit of Zoom fatigue, in order to check myself back in, I decided that this week’s blog is going to be a shortlist of things I see as positives of the virtual dancing we’ve been doing for so many months now. I see it in my students, and also in myself, that things that were a bit stagnant in the actual studio have not only not gotten worse during this interesting moment in time, but have significantly improved.
- Balance. A lack of mirror has forced all of us onto our leg, correctly. Staring longingly into the mirror at a specific body part hoping it is magically going to create stability is a thing of the past, and actually finding your alignment and placement to be on top of your leg is super in. It’s a big highlight of this whole virtual dancing school thing to see that our balance points have improved, even though we might not be actually turning as much on them right now.
- Projection. Having to connect to each other through a screen is hard, and a skill that is often underdeveloped when more-so training dancers for stage. The energy offering required for your intention to be read well through a screen is high, and this has created a perfect opportunity to work on being generous at that level and build dancers who will be viable for both stage and screen when the time comes.
- Quality over quantity. Many of us are dancing in unconventional spaces… my studio apartment, your garage, someone’s kitchen, a basement, possibly somewhere in nature… none of which are ideal for what we do. No sprung floor, carpet, slick surfaces, the great outdoors; all of which have lent themselves to focusing back in on the quality of our work. You might not be able to safely execute multiple pirouettes or petite allegro where you happen to be dancing right now, but you can absolutely work on the breakdowns and articulations. I am certain this fine-tuning is going to translate when we’re back into studios after this.
- Judgment free environments. No one and I truly mean no one, is judging you in your little Zoom window. They are either watching the teacher or themselves, and it has created the safest of safe spaces to let loose for yourself, while still having the feel of community and support. The ability to try new genres/styles/teachers from behind your camera has made it as safe as it will ever be, and allowed a sense of freedom to actually be brave enough to do it.
- Joy. There is so much of it in virtual class! We are tuned back into each other and the humanity we’re able to share in dance. I don’t know about you, but sometimes (often) in class we’re so in our heads and stressed about our work, that we forget to enjoy it… now we’ve remembered and I hope we’ll bring it back with us to the studios when we’re safe there once again.