Winter 2021 In Dance


I n March, when we perately in need of a break. I couldn’t have imagined when we received that first Stay at Home order on March 16 that we would be here now. It’s January 2021 as you read this, but I’m writing to you on an early December morning of clear blue skies and crisp air, having just looked at a map that describes 99% of the popu- lation of California in places of wide- spread transmission, the highest tier. We are on the precipice of another sweeping Stay at Home Order, with hospitals nearing capacity. For some of us, this does not affect us - we have not been leaving our houses for nonessen- tial purposes so we will continue to not leave our homes for nonessential pur- poses. For some, this may mean loss: of work or otherwise. For others, this received the Stay at Home Order, I was burnt out. Most days, I was driving in circles around the Bay to keep up with my free- lance gigs, eating peanut butter sandwiches in my car between jobs, and des- could mean something else entirely. A few days into the Stay at Home Order, I started writing. I thought it might be interesting to have a written account of what being at home was like, but it turned into a time cap- sule of sorts with notes from almost everything I’ve done this year: classes and workshops online, zoom happy hours, meetings. The desire to write has come and gone in waves - some days the notes are detailed and copi- ous, others there is only a line or two - but it does give me a picture of how

I’ve spent my time this year. I hope that you’ll go on this journey with me and perhaps even take stock of what you’ve done this year, and feel proud that despite it all, we have kept going. March THE MONTH STARTED with live performances. I remem- ber sitting in a theater. I remember hugging friends afterwards. I remember a friend sharing a piece where paper cascaded from a shredder that was suspended on a ledge above the stage space. And then we were told we had to stay at home. We were told there was a virus that was infecting people all over the globe. Infectious disease researchers told us this was their worst nightmare: a respiratory illness that spreads through vapor particles in the air. I saw a mobilization in the dance community that I didn’t expect. Almost overnight, I could suddenly get on my computer and take classes with Movement Research in New York, with Gaga teachers in Tel Aviv and New York, with legends in our field like Debbie Allen in Los Angeles. I saw our Bay Area dance com- munity pivot swiftly to continue classes and train- ing online. Our dance homes, Shawl-Anderson, ODC, LINES, and many more, created free and accessible at home pre-recorded and live content. My dance educa- tor friends cleared entire rooms in their apartments to take and teach class. And to tell you the truth: I didn’t do any of it. The first days of the pandemic involved paint- ing miniature watercolors on my couch and watch- ing terrible sitcoms. Those days involved two hour walks around my neighborhood looking at chalk art and blooming flowers. They involved 7-minute yoga classes on an app that lifted their paywall because of the pandemic. But I didn’t dance. I couldn’t. April AS MARCH FLUTTERED AWAY INTO APRIL, we thought that we would be back to teaching in person after Spring Break. We thought that we would finish the

school year strong. We thought that our students would still get to participate in their graduation ceremonies. I hadn’t lost any of my work yet. My undergraduate Mod- ern and Jazz class shifted to be online. We took a differ- ent approach to moving. We moved in the space we had available to us, we created tiny dances, we listened to music, took walks, and observed the natural world around us. The young students I taught got to see videos of my dog walking through the frame while I made lots of silly shapes with my body and asked them to do the same. And while I was teaching online, I still didn’t take class. Instead I took embodied singing classes. I participated in a series called “Empty and Full” which pretty accurately described what those early weeks in the pandemic felt like. I belted sounds and syllables and only half heartedly wondered if my neighbors could hear me singing. I wrote that I was starting to feel like I had space in my lungs again, like a tightness of worry was unwinding. May IN HINDSIGHT, I’D LIKE TO CALL MAY: I will begrudgingly and selectively take class online, if I have to. And I’ll like it, dammit. The unwinding led to a return of the desire to move. I took a virtual workshop and started rehearsing again for a performance that was moved to an online platform for June. It was bizarre to work on zoom. I found myself writ- ing about the loss of my back space in an effort to lean toward the movement to see or understand it in ways that are just unknowable through my screen. I had virtual conversations with other movers about hierarchies and values, ambitions and curiosities, pedagogy and the pan- demic. I facilitated a conversation about racial equity in dance. I was starting to feel momentum again. June THE MOST PREVALENT FEELING IN JUNE WAS THIS: flooded. After the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests for racial justice, nearly every presenter, institu- tion, studio, and organization sent out an email notify- ing me that they were going to learn about equity and

I Wonder if My Neighbors Can Hear Me Singing



WINTER 2021 in dance 9

in dance WINTER 2021




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In Dance | May 2014 |

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