The Dancing Doesn’t Stop

During the COVID-19 crisis, St. Louisans are having to get a little creative with their home workspaces and daily routines. Staying on track can be especially tricky for people whose professions require them to keep physically active. Saint Louis Ballet dancers Tiffany Mori and Mark David Bloodgood (pictured at top) have come up with unique ways to shelter in place while still sharing their knowledge and talents with others.

Tiffany Mori

Tiffany: The rest of our ballet season was canceled, and we can’t have class in the studio like normal, so I’ve made some temporary practice space at home. I also teach ballet for three schools around town, so I have set up online video classes for my students, who range from young children to adults in their 60s.

Each morning, I move my furniture and create a workout area so I can take class from 10:30 a.m. to noon and then rehearse with my colleagues, all by videoconference. I’m considering putting down a liner to make my hardwood floor less slippery. I never thought I’d be adding a ballet barre to my living room!

I have been pretty diligent about keeping healthy eating habits, but it’s harder to stay consistent without as much access to grocery shopping. I have a sweet tooth, so I’ve been trying to ration my chocolate breaks and plan my meals better! Overall, I’m really glad to see people coming together, staying positive and looking for ways to help others.

Mark David: This crisis actually has helped me reunite with people I had lost touch with. When I’m in a live video ballet class, I can scroll through to see who else is participating across the country, and I end up reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in years. I’ve also been talking with fellow online video gamers in my off hours, which is fun.

In terms of practicing and working out, there isn’t much room to do turns and jumps at home, but I’m still able to clear practice space and get in enough physical training each day. My brother in San Diego is also a dancer, and he is teaching video classes twice a week, so I take part in those and do recorded classes with our artistic director, Gen Horiuchi. I also am teaching Pilates classes online, and I do strength and cardio training five days a week. Dance is such a social and community-driven art form that it’s kind of difficult when you find yourself isolated like this, but I’m glad everyone can stay in touch online. I miss performing for audiences, and I can’t wait to get back on stage.

Photos courtesy of Saint Louis Ballet

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