Culture Writer Ella Kipling tells us how professional ballet dancers are getting productive in lockdown, encouraging everyone to try ballet at home
Finding the motivation to exercise during lockdown has been a problem for many. Whether you’re a gym-goer and are struggling to adapt to a lack of equipment, or you tended to rely on walking to campus and back to get in your daily workout, quarantine has changed lots of aspects of our life we normally take for granted, and exercise is no exception.
While the government has now announced that unlimited exercise is permitted, cardio may not be for everyone, and with that in mind, some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers have put together some routines and workouts for you to follow along to at home.
Ashley Bouder, a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet offers live streams on Youtube of her ballet classes. She has filmed several of her advanced classes, as well as intermediate classes, and uploaded them to Youtube as live videos, though they are still available to view. There are also short videos on her Youtube account of her daughter, Violet Storm, working on her own ballet technique.
While some of her class live streams take place in a studio, Bouder also caters to those stuck at home with less space, by teaching barre work in her hallway utilising her bannister. Her videos are nice and long in length (most are about one hour long) and this is a perfect opportunity to learn from such an esteemed dancer.
Isabella Boylston and James B Whiteside, also known as the Cindies, have been live streaming dance classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 pm EST on Instagram. The Friday classes are themed, with previous themes being Star Wars, which saw Whiteside dressed as Emperor Palpatine and Boylston as Princess Leia and superheroes. If ballet isn’t your style, Whiteside also offers a 90’s Jazz Class every Tuesday and previous classes are available to view on his Instagram TV.
Tiler Peck, principal dancer at the New York City Ballet has been offering daily ballet classes on Instagram Live at 1EST. The classes are called #turnitoutwithtiler and often feature other dancers, including choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, ballerina Julie Kent, and tap dancer Michelle Dorrance. The lessons are all available to watch on her IGTV so don’t fret if you’ve missed some.
Peck and Boylston were both also part of the ‘Swans for Relief’ performance organised by Misty Copeland and Joseph Phillips who have launched the fundraiser to support dancers worldwide suffering financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Copeland and 31 other female ballet dancers from companies around the globe filmed themselves performing Mikhail Fokine’s Le Cygne from isolation.
Viewers are encouraged to donate to the GoFundMe, which distributes the money among the relief funds at individual dance companies, managed by the non-profit Entertainment Industry Foundation.
GoFundMe has said that ‘for [them], the idea of 32 beautiful and strong women from different walks of life coming together to speak the common language of dance felt so unifying and empowering in these uncertain times.’ This powerful sense of community extends to more than just ballet, it is testament to the power of dance and its ability to band people together when unity is most needed.
Read more of Culture’s features on how the arts are adapting to lockdown: