The Performing Arts in Lockdownby Monarose Sheila Pereira November 3 2021, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 6 mins, 22 secs
Art needs to be showcased. Various artists speak to Monarose Sheila Pereira about their work during the pandemic. Tune in -
Bikram Ghosh, Tabla maestro
I have done several virtual performances during the lockdown - about 15. We shot them in an auditorium and they were very well produced shows. It was refreshing doing those shows but without a doubt one missed the audience. It is always the audience that gives you the high. Not getting the reaction from the audience was definitely something that was missed. In the winter months there were some stage performances also as things were opening up.
Sheldon D'Silva, Bass guitarist
This lockdown has been a great opportunity to get creative. I’ve been producing and recording a lot of music, practicing, posting videos and taking online bass lessons with some very talented and enthusiastic students. Besides this I have been doing the regular household stuff like cooking, cleaning, watching movies and working out.
Apernah Dubey, Singer and songwriter
The pandemic changed everything, however I’ve always wanted and liked the idea of doing private shows where I can see the faces and smiles of the audience and that is something that came true for me. A businessman booked me for a private dinner at his villa where he proposed to his girlfriend that was quite special for them and me as well! Making money was never a priority and that’s why I pick these kinds of events where I get to give beautiful forever memories to people, that’s what’s more important to me as an artist. I’ve performed at NGOs (for kids) and private launches as well during the pandemic, I feel closer to my audience than ever as a result of it all. I also request my audience to not record me but instead be fully present in the moment with me as that keeps me focused while performing and so far they’ve listened.
Ashley Lobo, Choreographer & Educator, Artistic Director of The Danceworx & The Navdhara India Dance Theatre
The pandemic has been emotionally & physically challenging for dancers and artists as they have been deprived of the exchange of energy and pure joy they experience when rehearsing in studios with their peers and when performing for live audiences. The point is to persist and consistently find new ways to grow. Having spent over a year balancing the virtual stage and live dance training, I have realized that if a dancer has passion, he/she will have the discipline to persevere despite challenges.
The one thing I learnt during the lockdown last year was that we always have enough space and energy to do what we really want. I adapted my passion for dancing to a more constricted space and developed a daily routine that I stuck to. During my online classes, I asked my students to do the same. No matter how overwhelmed you may be feeling as a dancer, when your feet start moving your mind also moves to happier places. Artists and companies worldwide are using the online medium to collaborate with choreographers now, which is something that was not done earlier. In fact I am one of 4 choreographers from three continents who will create pieces for Company E, a contemporary repertory dance company, dance education & interdisciplinary arts organization based in Washington DC. These pieces are to address the climate crisis and the world premiere will be in June 2021.
I have always loved working with artists across the world. My choreography piece YAMA for instance was done for the LandesTheater Linz in Austria and another piece Agni, which I created with my own Navdhara India Dance Theatre, had an international premier at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance & Theatre in Tel Aviv. The cycle of this international exchange was briefly paused due to the pandemic, however I am happy that I can continue to do what I love best, even if it is through an online medium.
Ravi Rastogi, Founder and Creative Director, Moving Souls Entertainment LLP
It was a challenge to begin with. There was no program happening during that time. The Government had banned all the events. We were performing our Salsa nights at Hotel Pullman in Aerocity, New Delhi, which we had to stop because of the declaration of shut down by the Government. My classes in the studio also closed down but people were keen to continue their fitness classes. Everything was so sudden that I was not prepared with logistics for online classes. With great difficulty, with few shops in operation, I could assemble professional mikes, wires, input-output balance tools and other equipment to start the online classes. It was a great help to the people with their fitness regime.
Also, I continued my association with NGO "Each One Teach One”. I tried to teach the children online but it was difficult for them to understand, so I used to visit them personally with all the COVID-19 precautions in place and take the classes in small batches since they were to perform on Independence Day in their community center.
I was thrilled to help them to achieve what they wanted to do, even in those difficult times. Since, COVID situation is improving and the Government has opened establishments, I have started my classes and performances with full protocols in place.
Raell Padamsee, Director Theater
In the wake of COVID-19 and lockdown orders, theaters and performing arts courses across the globe were affected. As a result, our Academy for Creative Expression was forced to seek online solutions in lieu of our usual in-person classes.
At first this was a difficult prospect, as Drama is normally a live art form that was developed as something to be to be shared in-person, on stages and performing spaces open to the public. So figuring out how to do that online was certainly a challenge. At ACE, online sessions for us meant we had to keep the excitement and fun alive in a virtual space like all our offline classes were already known for.
We decided to reinvent ourselves and came up with a three-rule formula that we follow in the online space.
- Interactivity: Zoom sessions had to be interactive – keeping the children engaged at all times. We wanted the students to communicate with each other through breakout rooms. Having smaller group sizes also helped making all our students feel involved and a part of all the activities done in each session.
- Creativity: Our sessions had to be extremely creative and thought provoking, every session had a specially curated curriculum that was inventive and imaginative using all sorts of virtual aids like screen sharing videos, pictures and this worked as stimuli to keep the children motivated.
- Learning is fun: “Fun” is key: We insisted that the virtual space had to have high outputs in the form of performance and presentation with loads of fun, and each session have a great amount of learning’s to help with holistic growth.
We started off with our ‘Summer Cruise’ that took our students across the world through drama, then kept the virtual adventure going with Broadway Classics like Lion King and Aladdin, continued with a magical tour of Hogworts with our Harry Potter sessions, kept the magic of Arendelle alive with scenes from the movie Frozen, to traveling across the Great Barrier reef with Amazing Australia. We surely have it all… keeping the excitement alive online as much as offline, at ACE learning is truly FUN!