Living room dancing

8 July 2020

Students of the Dance department have recently been learning, rehearsing and performing a new choreography. But because of the Covid-19 epidemic, they have had to do so in their own living rooms. In a project organised with the Dutch National Ballet Academy, the third- and fourth-year students (in the 1st and 2nd class of secondary school) joined the students of the academy in Amsterdam in mastering Impromptus, a new work by Wubkje Kuindersma. The results can be seen in two videos (for third year and fourth year students). We spoke to Charlotte, a student, and her teacher, Tessa Cooke, about the project.

Tessa: ‘The idea for the project came from the fact that we all had to stay at home because of the coronavirus. The goal was to inspire us by giving us a practical way of filling our hunger to be moving and dancing. This project would make sitting (dancing?) out the lockdown far more endurable.’

Charlotte is in the 1st class of the secondary school and joined the other dancers in studying Impromptus. ‘There were about fifty of us. Everyone was practising in their own room, connected by a video link. The choreographer would perform the moves and we would all repeat them at home. Then it was just a question of doing them over and over again. At the end of the project, we had to make a film of the dance. So I moved all the furniture around and filmed myself performing it. The individual clips were then all edited into a single film. I didn’t know the choreographer at the start, but I really like her style,which is neo-classical. It really is a lovely dance and the project was fantastic!’

Tessa: ‘It was tough at times, having to learn each step only by watching it on a small screen, sometimes with shaky internet reception, and with so little room to move. And on top of that, having to quickly master each movement. Two repetiteurs were watching online and they did their best to spot mistakes, for example when a student used their left foot rather than their right. But try doing that when you have to watch fifty small pictures at the same time. The whole thing was a great new venture for the students. But dance students are eager to learn and love new challenges. More than anything else, however, the project made them realise that nothing beats performing on stage – nothing is more exciting than dancing before a live audience!’

Choreography: Wubkje Kuindersma
Pianist: Olga Smirnova
Third- and fourth-year students of the Dance department at the Royal Conservatoire and the Dutch National Ballet Academy