As part of July’s Theatre and Dance NI newsletter, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the ways individuals and organisations are innovating during this time. Here’s how Acting Up has been adapting.
Dancing during lockdown has been a particular challenge, especially for those less technologically savvy. I teach a weekly Scottish Country Dance (SCD) class, and most members are “little old ladies” (LOLs). Our motto is “Fun, fitness and friendship”, and it’s that last word which means the most to them. Many are widowed or living alone, and their weekly dance class was about much more than just the dancing. So when class had to be cancelled in mid-March, they were left feeling very isolated.
The class already communicated via WhatsApp, which was useful if class ever had to be rescheduled, or to check who was bringing biccies’n’milk that week. And the LOLs began using it during lockdown as a forum where they could keep in touch.
I began to run a virtual dance class each Tuesday evening. Using mainly text, this was quite a challenge! Live classes commence with a warm-up ceilidh dance, but that doesn’t work dancing alone in your kitchen. Instead, I talked them through solo options, like the Macarena, Agadoo, or The Birdie Song. One week we even dug out our teddies and danced The Gay Gordons. SCD is done with partners, in sets, so with no-one else around, you dance with “ghosts”. There is always a fight for who gets to dance with John Travolta. The craic is mighty, and this crazy form of support from dancing friends means an enormous amount to the LOLs. Keeeeeeep dancing!