With theatres still shut around the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, three South American dancers have created a digital dance-off for aspiring twirlers. For these dancers, Instagram is their new stage where competitors from Argentina and Brazil to Israel and Italy can post clips of their moves and be seen by audience, regardless of their location.
The competition, open to all, has attracted hundreds of applicants, including professionals, and other dance lovers to participate from the comfort of their homes, despite the lockdown. A panel of renowned expert judges assess each dance, and viewers can also vote with “likes” on respective dance videos.
“We were struck by the desire of participants to be seen, to express themselves and their dance, what is happening to them at the moment,” Argentine Facundo Luqui, one of the dancers who organised the ‘@stayhomedancecompetition’ event told Reuters.
The three dancers also made this announcement on a site dedicated to the competition and the cause attached to it.
“What we thought when we started this project was that anyone can participate,” added Luqui, 23, who is a member of the ballet company at Buenos Aires’ iconic Teatro Colón.
The competition, which closes on the upcoming Sunday, challenged dancers to raise awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic, reference the coronavirus and honour an artist.
In one video, a mother wearing a doctor’s coat and a mask guards her daughter while she dances.
Giovana Soria, 18, a Paraguayan who has studied Latin rhythms for two years, said her dance was to encourage people to take steps to prevent infections spreading.
“I started to watch the news and saw that many people respected the quarantine, but when going out they did not take measures like putting on a mask, they touched everything and didn’t wash their hands,” said Soria.
Paz Schattenhofer, an 11-year-old who studies classical dance and who took part from Buenos Aires, said her performance was a homage to Russian photographer Yulia Artemyeva, who made a series of works comparing ballerinas to flowers.
“I would love to win it but in reality it’s to have fun. It is great when people ‘like’ you and that people see me, it is like a stage,” she said.
Performance art globally has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, closing theatres and leaving dance troupes unable to perform or rehearse at close quarters.
Performers in Amsterdam also took to the empty streets a few months ago to stay connected to the craft even as lockdowns and social distancing measures have been in place.
“I think dance at the moment is undergoing a great crisis,” said Manuela Lavalle, 24, another of the organizers, who dances in a company in the United States but is passing the quarantine in her native Buenos Aires.
“It’s complicated because many companies do not have the money they need to get by. I believe the world of dance is going to change a lot and we still do not know how, but it is a matter of waiting and continuing to create in the meantime.”
— with Reuters inputs
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