As we approach the end of November and the holiday season, we would normally be preparing for our biannual performance at Meridian Theatres. Last year around this time, we performed a new production of 'The Nutcracker' with choreography by Emily Rudenberg. The performances were a big success and we all were looking forward to performing it again this year. Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented this from happening and many of us are understandably disappointed.
How can we stay motivated and inspired during this time of uncertainty when we no longer have a show to prepare for and look forward to?
The keys to surviving this time and coming out stronger in the end, are mindfulness and having a flexible mindset - something that can be quite difficult for dancers despite being flexible physically!
In terms of mindset, we need to practice acceptance. The pandemic is here and we will be dealing with it for the foreseeable future. This does not mean that we cannot make progress in our dancing and within ourselves. Think about different things that have changed in a positive manner. In reference to dance, perhaps this time focusing on technique will bring you back to the stage as a stronger, cleaner technician? Perhaps increased time at home allows you more free time to stretch and practice?
In our practice of mindfulness, we can accept that we will not be performing on stage this year, but this doesn't mean that we have to stop performing! In class, think about different ways you can interpret the music, or how you would perform a particular step if it was part of the choreography of a production. Think about how you can relate to your imaginary audience. Dance bigger, work on dynamics and artistry - this can all be done in the studio. By the time we get back on stage, we will be ready to blow the audience away!
In addition, be kind to yourself. The pandemic has brought on a whole new load of stresses to add to our already stressful lives. There will be days that feel overwhelming and it's especially important to listen to our bodies and mind when feeling this way. Hard work is fantastic, but only as long as it is accompanied with proper rest. Give yourself a day off and do something you love. You deserve it!