Here’s an uplifting post from Ballet Virginia company member and Children’s Program teacher, Casey Shephard. She’s as beautiful inside and she is outside.
Children’s Program at Ballet Virginia is back in full swing. COVID-19 shook the world earlier this year and as time went on I think we all began to wonder if life would ever get back to normal. Luckily, BV was so determined to keep dance alive in Hampton Roads that it was not a question of “if we can go back to dance” , but instead it was a question of “how can we go back to dance as quickly and safely as possible”.
Back in April, it was such a relief for me to be able to see my amazing Children’s Program students through Zoom but I was so hopeful that come fall I would be able to see my little dancers in the studio. Thankfully, my hopes were confirmed due to the determination of the BV faculty, the teachers, the parents, and of course the students.
Between mask wearing, classes with limited capacity, temperatures being checked at the door, organized parent pick up, constant sanitization, and creating 6 feet perimeter hoops for each student to dance in, all of these moving parts made in-person classes a reality. These past few weeks may not have looked like the normal “Back to Dance” experience of the past but I, along with many others, are just thrilled that it is happening at all.
Additionally, I have been blown away by the Children’s Program’s students positivity and grace with all these new changes. As a company dancer, I understand the difficulty returning back to dancing after dancing at home for months and having to work to regain strength and technique, all while wearing a mask. However, my younger students have inspired me so much! They aren’t discouraged or irritated with not being able to jump as high, turn as much, or perform grand battement as high as they used to. Instead, they are ecstatic to be back in a studio dancing with teachers and friends. Their ability to fully relish the joy of movement, despite the current situation, has been so beautiful to witness as an instructor. They have motivated me to focus on being grateful and adaptable during this crazy time.
One big way I’ve been adapting is through of my newest venture, The Ballerina Bows Blog & Website. The name is inspired by my favorite ballet bun accessory and something my students love to comment on, a bow! During quarantine I found myself missing human connection, especially in the dance world. I was always wanting to be back with my fellow company members, teaching my young ballet dancers, and even talking with BV parents and audience members. So, I wanted to find a way to continue to share and reach out to others even if I cannot be with them physically. Thus, the website was born! The past couple months have been so much fun as I’ve been creating content and writing blogs to share some of my advice for everything in the world of dance, from beauty, health, fitness to fashion. Not only have I had an outlet to share with my friends, family, and supporters, but I’ve actually been able to meet new friends in the ballet community and even speak with some of my favorite dancers in dance-related businesses. I’m excited to keep the website growing and to continue to inspire others in the world of dance, just as I have been so inspired by my incredible Children’s Program family at Ballet Virginia.