During our Covid19-pandemic I have been struggling to keep practicing my art form. I am a dancer, I love to move, I love to spend all my physical energy on making impossible things possible. I keep seeing posts on social media saying how important it is to keep practicing and then there are the people who set themselves crazy goals to reach before the end of quarantine. Well, guess what? Doing a simple ballet barre or a few minutes of improvisation a day, it’s bloody hard.
I am writing this from my tiny room in a tiny Amsterdam apartment which currently functions as both my bedroom and my improvised dance studio. Both of those things in 9m2. It works, but it’s interesting. It has taught me a lot of self-discipline because before every Zoom class I am having this argument with myself whether I should do it and persist or just have a good nap. I am tired, tired of feeling trapped. It’s like I am doing a normal class but the person at the barre is a tendu removed from you and you are wearing 25kg weights on every limb. I am tired of this restricting training regime.
I don’t mean to completely bash at-home training. One of the things that has motivated me a lot to get started again is this one sentence that I keep seeing on social media: ‘you owe it to yourself to keep practicing’. They couldn’t be truer. I love dance, I love moving, and not doing that deprives me of one of my most wanted needs.
However, it is bloody stressful and draining. And so here I am, turning my face to find other things. Long lost art practices that I loved years ago, new ways of working that I have never done before, and probably never would have if it wasn’t for this pandemic and utter boredom.
Dance is beautiful, it has so many different sides to it. It covers whatever you want it to cover and so much is involved with it. It can be very storytelling; it can be as abstract as possible, and it can be everything in between. Dance is liberating, emotional and exhausting at the same time. But it is also very limiting; you work mainly with your body, maybe some fun lights and decor on stage. A site if you’re doing some site-responsive work, but that’s about it. Endless possibilities, but not really endless. I think that’s why I enjoy ensemble so much, it’s different art forms coming together, and you have more possibilities to play with.
Anyway, getting to my point. Recently I have been drawing and painting again. I have been sewing clothes, instead of just pointe shoes. I have been doing your fun little arts and crafts projects. These are all things I used to do in my childhood; I used to make clothes for my dolls, my mum has a massive map full of all my drawings and paintings and the curtains are, to this day, still evidence of my love for painting. I have also discovered watercolouring, embroidery and I have gotten myself some clay, to hopefully uncover the inner fine artist in me.
All these art forms have their own little charms. They make you look at depth, shadows, composition, placement, differentiate colours; they give you awareness of details that you maybe wouldn’t normally focus on as a dancer. I chose Vincent van Gogh and his paintings for a unit at college, a great painter, but only now I really start to understand what he was doing. I always observe things, I objectify things, I put things into little boxes, and I try to get inspiration from that. It doesn’t give me inspiration, I always come up with the same things.
I am happy that I am starting to explore and uncover new ways of being creative that have nothing to do with dance. I am happy to go on a journey that even leads away from dance a bit, so I can one day combine both my experiences and become a greater artist out of it.
Or not. I might just end up being a dancer with weird deformed clay sculptures and some toddler-like paintings in my house.
Time will tell.