Ride 2020! Disney's new roller coaster... Just kidding, but it makes me as sick as the real ones! I tend to try to find a solution to my issues and that was the sole motivation to create this blog, so I could potentially help someone, wherever you are, who maybe had that same problem. But this time, I'm a little bit at a loss...
So with this post, I simply want to express my thoughts on how I am trying to cope with these oh so strange times. Sometimes you just need to recognize your emotions. Talking about them might be as therapeutic as trying to find a way out...
When the Covid first confinement started back in March for us in France, we were 3 weeks away from my favorite program of the season here with the Opera de Nice. I had been waiting for it for months. I was over the moon as I was casted in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante with a principal as my partner and Lucinda Childs' Oceana's main pas de deux with another principal dancer as my partner. I was so overjoyed and couldn't wait to rehearse Allegro as it felt like "being back home". I was a little nostalgic on my roots😉. I had danced it at Ballet Chicago years ago and revisiting it here in Nice felt like full circle. We started working on both ballets pretty intensely. I just couldn't wait to be on stage. Then, quarantine happened. A very strict one may I add. I have to say it took me time to process the reality of it. You feel so conflicted with your thoughts because, on one end I was telling myself it was selfish of me being so upset of not performing those ballets while people were so ill yet I couldn't help but feel so sad and discouraged. Honestly, if you found or find yourself having the same sentiments, accept them. It's ok to experience them. You can't punish yourself to feel this. And what I recognized also was that so many more artists were in the same situation all around the world... So no, I wasn't the only one downhearted.
After going through 2.5 months of confinement, trying to stay motivated, we started working again. We found ways to still be present in the community by doing public classes outdoors, mini shows in front of our Opera and even short excerpts of ballets in an outdoor theater. I thought our April program could hopefully be moved to October but to my biggest disappointed, it wasn't. It was too complicated for sanitary reasons. I had to put an end to that dream, and yes, it was hard.
However, in September and October, we finally got back INSIDE our Opera house and performed for a real masked 😷 audience (only 40% of seats allowed). It felt good to put make up on again and hopefully let the audience members escape reality for a short hour.
Then a second confinement happened... Back to our apartments trying to keep stretching and doing barre as we had already been starting to rehearse for Don Quijote and were back to being "in shape". The government announced around the end of November that theaters would open on the 15th of December IF certain sanitary numbers were met. Our opening night was the 18th. Again, we came back to work, rehearse different casts, tried our costumes on, did full out run throughs in the studios, moved to the theater, had our first on stage rehearsals for 2 days THEN, last week, the numbers weren't as good as hoped. Theaters now have to stay closed until January 2021. We were so close we could taste it... Now, the only thing that keeps us going this month, like many other companies worldwide is a filming of the ballet which will be broadcasted on TV.
But today, I treated myself to watching Paris Opera Ballet's Bayadère. A throwback to a dear childhood memory as I'll always remember going to watch this magnificent ballet for the first time with my parents in Paris. The company did a live streaming of the ballet with a different set of principals for each act.. I could tell some dancers were a tiny bit nervous, how could you not in this unique situation. They graciously did their usual bows to silence... It tore my heart a little BUT, I quickly realized I was completely transported by it all... The gorgeous sets, the costumes, the dancers, the emotions. I clapped from my couch hoping they would somehow feel it regardless! (Here are Dorothée Gilbert and Amandine Albisson.. and my Christmas tree♥️)
I admire all the artists around the world who just keep making us dream, no matter little or big, we stay present. To you all, just realize your impact is so grand and vital to our souls' happiness so as your favorite Target coffee mug would say "Keep calm and carry on"♥️✨.