olivia ilano davis
Dancing During Quarantine
It is time to dance.
Now more than any other time, it is time to gather en masse to seek solace and peace of mind; to reach to others, to give & to receive comfort and the space to be and feel safe. This is what we do. This is what Spectrum brings. We create a safe place to land. This is what dance gives; a journey to self – discovery through mentoring and sequential learning and developing relationships and building community. Through our rigorous training, we raise dancers. Their training provides them with skill sets and a language of movement and ultimately life lessons, a window to their own individual development. Each lesson is manifested in the day to day from homework completion to overcoming a plethora of fears to simply loving who we are; how we look, how our bodies are shaped, and how we fit in the world. How do we belong?
Now more than any other time, it is time to dance. When we dance, we can speak in multitude of languages. When our emotions are at its height of varying degrees from uncertainty to blissful joy, our language of movement is universal.
Now more than any other time, it is time to dance. The daily practice of moving through space has the full natural benefit of releasing endorphins; more than simply exercising. Dance uplifts our spirits, a fulfillment of self – expression, and the unifying force of camaraderie. We dance in groups, from duets to ensemble work, even as a soloist, we are part of a whole.
This is what we do. Through our tailor- made instruments, our mantra is Every “bodies” should be dancing.
We completed our school year via ZOOM. As we found ourselves with minute to every minute changes in decisions regarding COVID 19, we as dancers were vigilant and stubbornly hopeful that we can get through the school year as we wait for what the summer might look like. It was incumbent upon us to keep schedule and expectations normal. It was the least of which we could bring to our students and families. In dance terms, we brought ourselves Back to Center. Now more than any other time, we danced. From the shortest to the tallest, we maintained a schedule of classes whereby there was consistency in seeing the same faces, doing structured artistic activities, solidifying our foundation and aiming for that full range of movement.
As we embark into summer, now more than any other time, we will dance. Our students ache to come together. The foremost question through the weeks of quarantine has been “WHEN”??? When will we be together again? The response is simple, we are together now. We are learning together now. We are dancing together now.
Now more than ever, we must dance. Current events of our times COVID 19 living in quarantine compounded with the social and civil unrest, our children have questions. The hard questions with no direct answers and resolve. We will engage in this conversation. We will look at the past and we will not shy away from what is present. We will commit to bringing ourselves back to center”.
Years from now, our wish is for the children to remember how during these times of uncertainty, they stayed connected, comforted & nourished in the midst of all of this:
· The shortest of all (Group 1) felt good about their bodies- how it works and how it moves through the space.
· The middle ones (Group 2), the busy bodies, learned to balance and to harness their energy through thoughtful self- investigation of what they can do, what they aspire to do, and what goals to meet.
· The in-betweens not yet teens (Group 3), the most curious, had the safety net of knowing they are not alone and it is okay to be awkward, and it is always good to ask for help.
· The new teens (Group 4), the most vulnerable and yet invincible gained the valuable lesson of resilience. As a team, they found themselves sturdy and durable and capable.
· The young interns (rising high school seniors & graduating seniors) found hope mentoring younger students. They were empowered with their own self – worth.
· The junior faculty (BFA – UHARTT students – rising seniors) discovered their voice and gained immeasurable tenacity in their chosen field of dance.
· They ALL were introduced to new faces and made friends from faraway places.
· They ALL were given permission to have fun and enjoy a summer filled with learning about themselves and others.
Now more than any other time, we will dance.