Four Things Young Performance Artists Are Doing During The Pandemic

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In fourth grade, I made my teacher modify a four square court into a rehearsal space so I could practice my one-woman shows. While the other kids played tag and swung on the swing set, I spent my recesses perfecting my Carol Burnett impression. Ever since those days, I have loved performing. Choir, theater, stand up comedy, slam poetry, improv, dance– I’ve spent a great deal of time in front of an audience.

When I got to college last year, I immediately joined numerous performance clubs. But, after seven months, COVID caused a curtain call. Despite the circumstances, my performance art buddies and I are still finding ways to pursue our dreams.

Here are four things budding performance artists are engaged in during quarantine:

Zoom Rehearsals

Meetings all over the world have transitioned to online formatting. Hosting a boring HR meeting on Zoom, however, is a lot different than virtually running a full marching band rehearsal.

Performing on camera is a completely different feeling than performing in front of an audience; you simply cannot interact with each other the same way.

My roommate is an A Capella superstar and her team has continued rehearsing virtually. She describes how difficult it is to sing in sync over Zoom. Her group can’t really listen to each other’s tone or watch each other’s mouth shapes.

As hard as it may be, performing art groups everywhere are getting creative with how they rehearse. Zoom isn’t ideal, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Making their Rooms into Performance Spaces

No longer able to go to our normal practice spaces, performing artists are equipping their rooms with all the tools they need to continue working.

My friend who is a singer has set up a microphone and keyboard near her closet. My friend who is a dancer has set up a ballet floor.

For lots of us, our rooms used to be our sanctuary away from the studio, but now our bedrooms are the best we can do.

Saving Money

It is no secret that new performing artists don’t make a ton of money (apparently, “following your dreams” doesn’t always pay well).

The other day, my actor friend told me in tears that he thought he may have to give up his goals. He comes from a working class family that has been hit hard by the pandemic. Unfortunately, he no longer thinks it is financially viable to pursue his path.

This creates a vicious cycle where rich, young artists can afford to stay in the industry until they make it– less privileged performers have a much shorter period where they can feasibly chase their craft. Eventually, they need to quit and get a “real job.”

One thing’s for certain: all young performers are using this quarantine to save up some cash. And maybe that will make a difference.

Creating and Practicing A LOT

When you aren’t allowed outside, you have a lot of free time to work on your craft. I aspire to be a comedian, and this pandemic has given me the opportunity to write more than ever. In the last four months, I have doubled my material.

This is a serious silver-lining: there is more time in the day to practice and create. And we will make the most out of that time.

We may be off the stage now, but this pandemic isn’t permanent. And when we get our chance to perform again, we will deliver better than ever.

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