Dance Has Not Left the Building, It Has Simply Claimed a New Space.

By Lauren Guynes of Marigny Opera Ballet

Lauren Guynes has been a dancer with Marigny Opera Ballet since 2015, and I have had the pleasure of working with her for the past three seasons of the company. Now she is joining forces with Live Oak Dance as a teacher and a creative to help our school during these challenging times. In this blog she explores the difficulties she encountered while transitioning from teaching in-person classes to the new world of live zoom programs.

I, for one, can relate to her struggle and reasoning that “Dance has not left the building. It has simply claimed a new space.” A transition like this is hard to swallow. There were centuries of experiences passed on from generations of dance masters on how to be effective in the studio. Now it is up to us to reinvent everything and she is clearly up for the challenge!

I am so grateful for her ability to adapt, grow, and for continued work in the dance space. Wherever that may be…

A New Space, by Lauren Guynes

Every time I have considered space, my mind has always gone to the dancer’s, choreographer’s, and educator’s way of thinking. In what spaces do I rehearse, create, teach, and train/improve my technical and artistic abilities? How and where do I move through the space? What is my relationship to the space occupied by fellow dancers around me and by my students? Does my little space bubble overlap with someone else’s space bubble? Am I using the positive or negative space around me? I know that these are a lot of questions, but as a dancer, these are the assessments that run through my mind and body.

Now, my ideas of space have changed. The space that I call home has been forced to become the place where I must consider my questions in a new light. I have to admit that in the beginning I was not a fan of this new way of thinking. In fact, I became quite miserable. I missed the studios and performance venues that are so familiar to me. More than that though, I missed my friends and my students. I missed watching them inspire me everyday, their words of encouragement, the beautiful process of the ins and outs of partnering, and most of all, I missed their hugs.

“We will take this new space and learn how to occupy it.”

My college dance professors, Stacy Reischman Fletcher and Kelly Ferris Lester, taught me in my dance composition course that within limitations, creativity is born. My love for the art of dance is certainly not going away, so I must approach these new restrictions with an open mind, an open body, and an open heart to fuel my drive. Dance has not left the building. It has simply claimed a new space. My questions about space are now in the beginning stages of evolution. How do I transform my home into a danceable space? How do I efficiently use the space considering a drastic size change? How can technology help me interact with fellow dancers and students? How do I utilize all of the capabilities of that technology? We are just scratching the surface here.

I want to be able to return to the days of studios and stages, but this time with more knowledge. More than anything, I want the people I love and that surround and overlap in my space to be safe. We can grow and learn from these limits. We must also remind ourselves to be understanding and patient because it is unfamiliar territory for us all. We will take this new space and learn how to occupy it.