In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, London’s Royal Opera House and its renowned dance group, the Royal Ballet, closed its doors to the public. Free internet streams of past shows have kept the public close to the Royal Ballet, but keeping the performers engaged and linked to each other has faced special challenges.
Daily warm-ups, six-hour rehearsals and live performances are the core of daily life for an artist, and they require large facilities with high ceilings to perform choreography and fine-tune their training — much more space than you can find in the ordinary London apartment.
“We will accommodate the entire company in one studio at a time at the Royal Opera House,” Melissa Hamilton, the Royal Ballet’s first soloist, said in an interview from her home. “It’s very, very special to move from the point into music in my home now.” Although the dancers are not practising as normal, training remains essential and strict class schedules have generally remained intact, with teachers holding lessons in a virtual environment through Zoom’s likes.
“It’s very inspiring to have all my friends on the board while I’m teaching a lecture because they’re all in their bedrooms, lounges, or halls anywhere they can find room to walk about. It’s become very common to see the cats because pets of people now,” O’Sullivan said.