Amid the coronavirus outbreak and shutdown, a lot of New Yorkers have had to adjust to a new work at home lifestyle. But what if your profession is not conducive to a cramped New York City apartment?
NY1 Arts Reporter Stephanie Simon spoke with principal dancer James Whiteside of the American Ballet Theatre about how he is adjusting.
"Some of these people can do their jobs at home, but most of us can't. My dancing cannot be an email practice," Whiteside said.
For ballet dancers, taking daily class is essential. It’s the secret behind how they make super human movements look effortless.
"I practice about every day. I take ballet class almost every day," said Whiteside. "We're extreme athletes as well as artists, so it's like training for a marathon. You've got to train every day."
Whiteside said he's feeling anxiety and stress, and is worried how this temporary pause on daily life will impact his technique.
"I've rehearsed every single day to be able to do what I do," he said. "So to have an indefinite amount of time where I can't really, I mean, you see my apartment, it's not very big, so I can't really rehearse here, and I'm not allowed to gather anywhere. So I don't know. It's unprecedented."
In order to combat this, many of the dance world’s brightest and best have started giving free classes via Instagram, notably Juilliard's dance director Alicia Graf Mack and New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck. Even American Ballet Theatre's ballet master Carlos Lopez streamed company class. But it still doesn’t make things easy.
"Well, there's not really much room for me to practice in my apartment, but I suppose I could stretch and pretend this is a bar in my house slippers," Whiteside said. "You know, I really don't know what to do. Maybe just a little toe touch. It doesn't really work so well. I'm afraid I'm going to kick the lamp."
Whiteside says there aren't only technical implications, but financial ones.
"I mean, my fears really envelop the whole arts community," he said. "Performing arts are going to be completely decimated by this, and I'm really hoping that in the aftermath, people are generous. We have incredible institutions here in New York City, and I would be so heartbroken to see them, you know, lose steam and possibly even fold."