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Student Blog: Keeping Afloat in a Pandemic (and on Winter Break)

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Even relaxing has become hard in a pandemic. Read a few ideas to unwind on winter break!

Student Blog: Keeping Afloat in a Pandemic (and on Winter Break)

Hello, BroadwayWorld readers! I come to you anxiously awaiting my first dance class (!!!) in years (!!!!!!!!) tonight. I will update on that experience soon. My stomach is currently somersaulting with emotion but I hope it goes well! Some other updates, though...

My theatre company's winter intensive cannot go on as planned, due to the current spike in Omicron cases, but also because MTI just... never got back to us in time to produce. Which I think, partly, is my fault; the rights were restricted in NYC and I should have known better than to ask for them so late in the pre-production process. I'm almost glad it didn't work out because I would have hated putting people in danger during this crazy time.

Thankfully, though, I think we will be able to produce something come summer. I applied for a really cool show and I'm hoping we can secure the rights. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that this swell in the pandemic will level out by then, too. I think we're all just tired of this at this point, and it's really hard to keep going like nothing is wrong! So don't be too hard on yourself for not operating at 110 percent right now.

Other than that, I'm on "break" for the winter, "break" only being in quotes because I'm still working part-time through January into February when classes start up again. With that in mind, though, here are some ideas of things to do during your time off that might help alleviate some COVID stress! Mind you, these activities are best suited for those who are: A. Vaccinated and boosted and B. Comfortable wearing a mask around other people.

DANCE!

I live directly near a dance studio and haven't taken a class since moving in over the summer, which is a real shame since I spent over 15 years of my life dancing competitively and in school (I went to an arts magnet high school, for context). Basically, dance is proven to help build cognitive skills involved in learning more quickly, as well as physically release stress through movement. Humans were meant to move, so our very sedentary lifestyles only heap on more stress energy. We're just these huge tied up knots with so much potential energy that gets wasted by sitting around all the time. So take a few classes! Even if you've never danced before, there are a lot of studios that offer drop-in adult classes for relatively cheap.

If you're in New York City, a great studio is Broadway Dance Center. They have an app that you can use to purchase class packages or individual drop-ins. Personally I cannot vouch for how the experience is there (at least not yet ;)), but their schedule is filled with basic and beginner-level classes in all sorts of styles. Their rate per class sits at $25, but if you think you're gonna be dancing more than just a few times a month, a good idea would be getting a package of 5 or 10 classes! The price then drops to $23 and $22, respectively.

If you're more experienced, definitely check BDC's schedule for advanced level classes, or, you can check out Steps on Broadway! You'll find a lot more experienced dancers and industry professionals at Steps, but it's still a super viable place to head for class if you want something more intense.

I've also heard good things about ballet at City Center! They, too, have drop-in classes 7 days a week, and will charge $22 per class (just $12 if you attend virtually!). Lots of folks swear by these classes, so I'm sure you'd enjoy them as well!

PICK UP AN OLD (OR NEW) CRAFT!

Another thing I'm trying to do over my "break" is make more visual art! It's been a while since I did some consistent art-making, so I think taking another dive into a series I had been working on previously will help with staying on track and motivated to make things! I will say that I started a bit rustier than I remembered being with drawing, but one of my roommates and I had a good laugh at how off-kilter this work-in-progress was the other night. This portrait went through quite the interesting adolescent phase but I think it looks pretty good now!

Student Blog: Keeping Afloat in a Pandemic (and on Winter Break)

I've also found some really cool crochet patterns that I think might be fun to try out. I haven't crocheted in a long time, either. I guess all I'm getting at here is that you should take this time away from school to pick some projects back up where you left off!

If you'd like to pick up a new craft, consider taking a virtual or in-person class! A simple Google search will garner you a lot of results in your area. If you can't travel, definitely do some deep-diving to find an online course or two! Or, try out a service like Skillshare or MacGyver yourself some instructions by watching videos on YouTube.

Whether it's artsy-craftsy like my interests or something totally different (say, simply picking up a few new books to read), it's important to find something stimulating for you to do in this time. Inactivity leads to boredom which leads to spiraling into your own thoughts and doom-scrolling.

If you're feeling lonely during the ongoing pandemic, know you're not alone. Check in on a friend you haven't spoken to in a while; maybe arrange a time to FaceTime or Zoom with one another so you can catch up and have a bit of company while you start working on your new hobby. While many of us are isolating for safety reasons, even more of us are isolating due to mental health complications or ruminating within our own minds. Remember that you don't have to tough it out all alone- we have a gift of technology at our fingertips ready to connect us with others.

I'm off to dance- next blog you can look forward to reading about that! But in the meantime, get to moving or crafting or reading or, well, whatever excites you, really! Again, you're not alone in this isolating time. So many folks are struggling to stay optimistic during this time, but it's really a virtue. Try to keep your chin up!

Until next time,

Brighton xx


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