While we may not know what the future holds, we know this: we can’t figure it out unless we keep talking about it.
DancerMusic is proud to support the incredible artists whose creativity, passion, determination and spirit give life to the world of concert dance. We’ve spoken to dancers, choreographers, costumers, lighting designers, composers, and so many who are essential to the magic we witness on stage. But life as we know it has changed, and thus, dance as we know it is changing as well.
While we may not know what the future holds, we know this: we can’t figure it out unless we keep talking about it. That means talking about every aspect of what we face. It means telling each other about our triumphs, as well as discussing the hardships that we endure. It means sharing ideas of how we can be more effective virtual communicators and creators. We must talk about the future of our industry and our community so that we can ensure not only its survival through the pandemic, but that it will be here for the generations of dancers that follow.
All of this is easier said than done, but the important thing is that we start somewhere. And for us here at DancerMusic, we art starting with an honest and concise reflection of what quarantine has been like so far for DancerMusic Editor and Chicago-based dancer Kristi Licera. Here’s what she told us:
Today I woke up, looked at my calendar, and counted back how many Mondays I have officially been sheltered in place. Eight. Eight weeks of being in my apartment more than I have in 5 years. Eight weeks of teaching Zoom classes on my crooked wooden floor, grateful that my neighbors have not filed noise complaints as I bellow corrections at my computer screen. Eight weeks of dancing, training, intensive lesson planning and keeping my physical body moving to avoid the anxiety that pulls on my heartstrings and lingers in too many places in my mind. Eight weeks of spending way too much time with myself.
But the reality is, like pretty much everyone else in the world, I am struggling.
For some, this quarantine has created space to tackle those projects on the back burner, to reconnect with people that became lost to us, to find new appreciation for simple pleasures. There is more movement in my life, more music, more creation, more time to soak in the tub and more home cooked meals. For that, and so much more, I am thankful.
But the reality is, like pretty much everyone else in the world, I am struggling. I am someone who loves to make plans, who has the incessant need to have calendar dates confirmed as far in advance as possible and who, since childhood, has always looked to the future to inform the present. This is certainly true of my dance career, and even more so of my place in our community as a dance writer.
Perhaps you noticed that my writing has nearly come to a complete halt. In the beginning of this quarantine, I tried to pivot, to find and create new ways to help share what our brilliant artists are doing as they do what they can to feed their creativity at home. But I could not maintain it. After a couple of years writing nearly an article a week, my heart fell out of my hands. I could not bring myself to my keyboard or put pen to paper unless it was to send an email or write and doodle greeting cards to family and friends. I could not write about dance, and frankly I would not let myself. I did not want to face the uncertainty of our arts future, so instead, I busied my body, filled my days with workouts, walks, virtual classes, way too much video streaming and made plans only for the few days ahead. And while my body has prevailed and gained strength, my mind and heart have felt lonely and stuck.
I have renewed hope… I am ready to help and have the space in my heart to do it the right way.
But this week, there is change in my mentality and in my spirit. I owe it to the people who love me, who continue to show me love and support even when I let myself drift away, who are patient enough to allow me the time it takes to open up. I still have moments where my anxiety shuts me off. I still have days where one thing goes wrong and it takes me the rest of the day to recover. But now, I have renewed hope. Now, I am ready to face reality and figure out what my responsibility to my community truly is. I am ready to reach out. I am ready to help and have the space in my heart to do it the right way.
I have hope. I have faith. I have love. And that’s more than enough to get started. If you need some of that too, reach out. Let’s talk about it, and let’s figure it out together.
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