Arlington, VA

Dancing Upstream

This Community Post was written by BalletNova Center for Dance and underwritten by The Fred Schnider Investment Group/Fred Schnider Gallery of Art and Embracing Arlington Arts supporter Annie Sweeney.)

When BalletNova paused in-person classes due to COVID-19, staff looked at one another and said, “We need to live-stream classes,” and on Saturday the 14th, armed with an iPhone, tripod and microphone, three of us joined together in a typically bustling dance studio to figure it out. By the end of the afternoon, we recorded a message debuting “BalletNova Live” and two days later, the first two of many free classes were streamed to nearly 2000 people across the globe, increasing our followers from 800 to 30,000.

The messages of gratitude pouring in lifted our spirits and indicated this was the right path. People from across the US, Portugal, Israel, Italy and more took these classes for their physical and mental health and a sense of community. We stayed with the model of free classes online, knowing that many couldn’t afford to pay as jobless numbers rose. The community grew.

As a stay at home order was announced, teachers adapted to different technology, rearranging furniture to teach from their homes. Students scrambled for space, taking care to not kick over lamps during virtual classes. We carry on.

Moving forward, the path is a mystery. But, we learn that creativity, flexibility and a strong community can help weather the storm. We look forward to dancing together again. Upstream or not.

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