All those months ago, when we got sent home during rehearsal for a quarantine, I could never have imagined how long this crisis would really last or the enormous consequences it would have on our everyday lives.
Lockdown is now a word I say at least every second day, as well as a constant threat we live under. I have become amazingly aware of all the bacteria we are exposed to during grocery shopping, and at the moment, actually getting served at a restaurant will be one of those stories we tell our grandchildren; when I was young, we would go to a restaurant, and people would actually bring you the food…the good old days.
Now, jokes aside, we need to talk about the Arts. The one thing that is so essential to me that lives insides my cells has suddenly and permanently been deemed “unessential”.
Becoming an artist demands an incredible amount of courage. The fact someone chooses to become a dancer instead of a lawyer or an engineer is a leap of faith. Even in Germany, where Culture is highly valued, Art is a rare pick for the youth. I went to a German Dance Univesity, and although there were many German kids in my first year, none of the graduate with me. Some kids went to different ballet schools, but most opted for a more secure job. I completely understand it. You can be an artist, but living from Art is challenging. It takes a considerable amount of passion and resilience. Especially now. During our generation’s biggest crises (at least in my very privileged life), we are letting those artists down!
It has been one year, and during this year, I danced three shows, had one open General rehearsal and filmed one show for a stream. In between, we have worked our full hours in the studio, creating and rehearsing for shows that never took place. Please, understand me; I am not complaining. I am incredibly grateful for being able to work, for my stable job and salary and for the few moments I had on stage this year.
The reason I decided to write this is to give you some perspective. While I have been able to keep working, many of my fellow artists have been seriously affected.
While houses have been shut and productions cancelled, many freelance artists have been let out of contracts without pay, and dancers have been forced to keep in shape at home for months. There has to be a better solution for all of this.
There is no sound explanation as to why theatres sit empty, and at the same time, aeroplanes are full. You could always argue that travelling is essential, but my Instagram feed says I personally know quite a few people going on very unessential holidays at the moment.
It is time we stick together, reinvent ourselves and prove that Art is essential, Culture is essential, and it is up to our generation to keep it alive! Now more than ever, we need to support all of those who are brave enough to live from Art. It is up to us to set an example for future generations so that kids will still be able to choose Art in the future.