The future of dance

The pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs or be put on furlough. One profession in particular that has been tragically affected throughout the pandemic is dancers. Dancers are not key workers, and so their inability to work for the past year comes as no surprise. However, this doesn’t mean that they haven’t experienced a lot of struggles. The future of dance remains uncertain for the time being.

Taking a year out of your dancing career can have detrimental impacts. It is vital for dancers to keep up their skills if they are to return to dancing

For many artists, including dancers, what they do for a living is not just a job, it is a way of life. This is why the pandemic has been so difficult for many people. On top of the financial struggles that people are experiencing, some are physically unable to carry on doing what they love. For dancers in particular, it has been extremely hard to keep on going. Many dancers are in lockdown in their homes, which do not have the adequate space to allow them to dance. On top of this, for those that dance in groups, it is almost impossible to recreate the feeling and experience when all of your dance mates are on Zoom rather than around you. Although all this may not seem like much, taking a year out of a dancing career can have detrimental impacts. It is vital for dancers to keep up their skills if they are to return to dancing.

The pandemic has been hard on all dancers. For newcomers, it has hindered the training and lessons that they desperately need. For those in the prime of their career, it has halted all the shows and tours that they were involved in and love. And for those heading towards the end of their career, it has taken away the opportunity to have a farewell, and they may never dance on a stage again.

Of course, dance hasn’t stopped altogether. Dance schools and companies are working hard to provide some sort of online classes to keep the dancing spirit alive. However, as mentioned previously, this is not always possible. It is also worth noting that the opportunity for online classes and support for dancers has varied massively throughout the world. Carlos Acosta, who is considered one of the greatest dancers of all time, has highlighted this in a recent interview where he spoke about the situation in his home country, Cuba: “They’ve been hit really hard by the virus. They quickly went from just 20 cases a day to 1,000. It’s been terrible for dancers who are confined in a small flat. They can’t get together and there is no real Zoom or anything like that in Cuba; it’s almost like a third world country in many ways. My heart goes out to them.” There have been a few online dance shows throughout the pandemic, but definitely nothing close to the scale and experience that you would get from going to a live performance. Like many others, dancers and their teams have had to adapt to the situation as best as they can.

We are still living through unprecedented times, but unlike this time last year, we now have the end in sight. It is important to remain hopeful and keep dancing as best as you can

Dance will return, but how long it will take before things go back to how to they used to be and big shows can go ahead again remains unclear. The success of the return of dance will also depend on the audience, as Acosta suggests: “We will get back and vaccination will help, but there will also be some element of risk and we may have smaller audiences. Some people will remain cautious.”

Acosta, who now directs the Royal Ballet company in Birmingham, tells his dancers to “stick with it”. We are still living through unprecedented times, but unlike this time last year, we now have the end in sight. It is important to remain hopeful and keep dancing as best as you can.

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