This might turn into a bit of rant… apologies in advance. Some of it will apply to all students, some specific to being on a dance course like I am, some of which may also apply to other practical or creative courses. This is my personal experience of the unfolding events of Covid-19.
My last day at uni/college (I never actually know what to call it, I’m on a 2 year HND and then have to reapply for 3rd year to top it up to a full degree) was the 12th March, which literally feels like a lifetime ago. There is a huge annual dance event called Move It that was supposed to take place that weekend, and they literally decided to cancel it on that Thursday afternoon, half way through set up (the event runs from Friday-Sunday). Following that announcement, my college decided to give us the following week off with the intention to return to the studio on the 23rd March, but that obviously didn’t happen as that’s when there was an announcement that the whole of the UK was going on full lockdown. I felt like it all happened out of the blue because I don’t really pay much attention to the news and often live in my own little dance bubble, so I didn’t really know what was going on or the true severity of Covid-19.
I actually went home on the 12th March as I was planning on spending the weekend at home anyway and then travelling to London for the event from there, as opposed to from Leicester, where I’m studying. When college decided to close that week I then decided to stay at home, and it was probably the most unproductive week of my life, I did the bare minimum of my coursework because I had a deadline that week, I worked out maybe once and managed to go to one dance class before they all got shut down. My bedroom at home is literally a box room, no storage, not even a bed frame just a mattress on the floor, and basically acts as a dumping ground when I’m not there. So it’s not the nicest of places to spend time and doesn’t feel like it’s mine (my brother stole my bedroom in the summer when I moved to Leicester).
It got to the Thursday or Friday and I decided to travel back to Leicester to be in my student flat, it’s more like private accommodation than halls and we’ve really made it our own, it feels quite homely and I love spending time here. See how I’ve made the most of my student room in this post. I think I just like to have my own space and be able to do my own thing and have my own schedule, and I don’t feel like I can do that in my family home. My mum is also a fitness instructor and has converted our downstairs into a fitness studio so she can continue to teach her classes, so I’d literally be trapped in my room for a lot of the day. The only thing I wish we had here is a garden, which I will be making full use of when I do go home in mid June (this beautiful weather better stay!).
The dance classes that have been most consistent are by Hot House Dance, which is where I used to dance in the evenings after school back in the day, and occasionally go back to when I’m back home during their term time. They have a pretty full timetable of classes for both adults and children including contemporary, ballet, street dance, tap, bollywood and other activities for the whole family to enjoy, they’ve put in so much effort to keep their classes and community running online via Zoom and are doing an amazing job. If you’re looking to take up dance classes during this time, I highly recommend. (I linked their website above).
In terms of my course, it’s not been running at all how it would be if we had access to the building. Despite popular belief around dance courses, my course is very much full time, we’re expected to be in the building by 8am and have practical dance classes until 5pm Monday – Friday. That’s 6 hours dancing most days, with a few theory classes thrown in.
The only thing that has continued in lockdown is our theory classes because we still have deadlines for essays etc. (I know some people are genuinely surprised that dancers still have to do academic work). Even some of those classes have ended up being chat classes rather than a video call. We have had the chance to start second year work which I know a lot of people will hate but I’m thankful it means we have one less bit of writing to do when we go back!
We’ve been sent some dance classes via YouTube to complete in our own time but honestly I’ve never felt less motivated to dance, I’m in a small student flat with Hannah (we’re on the same course so we’ve been sent the same classes) and it’s really difficult for both of us to dance properly in the space we have. At the beginning (March-April) we did do a lot of IG Live classes but eventually it got tedious and I just felt like I wasn’t doing my best so it didn’t feel productive. It’s certainly been eye-opening, up til now I’ve not really known who I am or even what I enjoy outside of dance, so at least now I know that. I’ve still spent a lot of time doing workouts and different fitness classes (including launching my own which you can find out more about here). So I guess in that respect it’s kind of been a blessing in disguise, but certainly less than ideal.
I know that lots of universities are going purely online next year, and I’m literally praying that doesn’t happen for us, I’m not even sure how that would happen or if it would be at all possible. Only time will tell!
If you’re a student I’d love to hear about your experience over the last few months, whether it be similar or completely different to mine, feel free to leave a comment.
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