Dance in the Time of the Coronavirus

During the summer of 2020, as we were just (barely) emerging from the lockdown, Amanda Sieradzki and I were commiserating about the state (lack) of live dance in these (early) stages of the coronavirus pandemic. There was an absolute breakdown in local, live dance infrastructure – we weren’t allowed to be in the studio together, theaters were shut down, dancers weren’t making money from performing or teaching or choreographing; it was all so dire. We desperately wanted to find a way to make some dance together – to connect with our community – so we decided that we would co-found and co-direct a socially-distanced dance performance series that would be safe for the performers and the audience.

There were six “episodes” or dances in the series; we created three dances apiece. Safety was our highest priority, and it was a great and wonderful challenge to figure out different ways to create socially-distanced dances. For Episode 1, I created Reverberation, a dance “flip-book” for an audience of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other passersby. Over twenty dancers were spaced 10 feet apart over 4 ½ city blocks, dancing in canon for one hour as the audience watched from across the street.

We rehearsed over Zoom – by this time we were pros at remote learning! Amanda came up with the idea of assigning each dancer a specific location pin so that they could go directly to their spot on performance day so we could maintain social distancing at all times. We began at 11a, and they danced continuously for an hour. It was a really beautiful event that brought out so many members of the arts community here in St. Pete, some for the first time during lockdown. We did another version of Reverberation at twilight on the sidewalk in front of the Tropicana Stadium, and the dancers were lit by the lights of the passing cars. I am very proud of this work – to give dancers the opportunity to participate in their craft and earn money for their labor, while also creating work that challenges me as an artist, was incredibly rewarding.

Here’s a video from the performance. Enjoy!
Reverberation Night Light

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