Coronavirus precautions are spreading throughout the U.S. and the world, and the dance community is feeling the effects. As schools and public gatherings are being shut down, dancers are forced to take time away from the barre and postpone performances. It's been heartbreaking to hear about almost every company of every size cancel upcoming performances, stop classes and rehearsals, and temporarily lay off dancers with no solidified end date.As a dancer with Los Angeles Ballet, in a city where the spread of COVID-19 is rampant, I've had to adjust to this new reality. Somewhat thankfully, the company is already on a previously scheduled lay-off right now through April 13. Our season will continue through June, and we have yet to cancel shows or weeks of work, which hopefully will remain the case. Los Angeles Ballet School and our A Chance to Dance community outreach program, which hosts a day of free classes taught by LAB dancers every month, are on hiatus.
The author (left) and Julianne Kinasiewicz grand jeté during a performance of L.A. Ballet's Nutcracker.
Reed Hutchinson, Courtesy L.A. Ballet
Caitlin McAvoy in Alabama Ballet's Nutcracker
Melissa Dooley, Courtesy Alabama Ballet<p>At Alabama Ballet, dancers learned that their performances of <em>Romeo and Juliet </em>would be postponed on the afternoon of opening night. Company dancer Caitlin McAvoy admits she was surprised and disappointed. But, she says, "I feel it was the right thing to do to protect the dancers, staff, crew and community. I know it was a tough call to make and we are sad to not be performing, but I think we all know it was the best decision." Now, like most other companies, the dancers are not rehearsing, and <em>Romeo and Juliet</em> will be rescheduled for next season, sometime in early spring of 2021.</p><p>So now that seemingly everyone is forced to stay at home, how are we staying active and motivated? The outpouring of dancers and teachers who are <a href="https://www.pointemagazine.com/online-ballet-class-2645499567.html" target="_blank">posting class videos</a> online or hosting live streams has been a great learning opportunity. "I'm taking class from all different people via their live stream, like my old coach from The Rock School, Mariaelena Ruiz," says Rathbun. "I also took Ashley Bouder's class, and Tiler Peck's!" It's also worth seeing if there are local teachers in your area to take class from and work out with via streaming services, so that we can continue to support them.</p>