In Australia, restrictions are quickly being relaxed in a bid to reopen the country, but abroad, the pandemic continues and in light of George Floyd‘s murder, riots and unrest is erupting across the globe. Though it is okay to have days when it all seems too hard or too dire, we hope to fill the void, even just for a few fleeting minutes of this article. ICON speaks with industry creatives – be it music, style, dance, writing, or even social media – on how to stay inspired during these uncertain times. And hopefully a handful of tips for you, the reader, on the way.
For art fanatics and Sydney locals, Sydney Dance Company is known as the creative heart of the city as it travels the globe sharing contemporary dance and new ideas. In addition, the studio which is located in the bustling suburb of Ultimo welcomes in beginner and experienced dancers alike but as restrictions halted classes and travel, the much-loved company has had to resort to new and creative ways of staying fit and mentally healthy. Sydney Dance Company has installed its Virtual Studio classes to continue to provide dance styles including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and hip hop, all online.
But what is it like to be a company member during these times? We speak to professional dancer Rhys Kosakowski on how he is coping during continued restrictions and what we can learn from his experience.
ICON: Can you explain what your role entails, day-to-day?
Rhys Kosakowski: Right now, while we’re in isolation, Sydney Dance Company has online classes we take every morning. We also have additional optional classes running throughout the day. Outside of classes, we attend daily company meetings and choreography re-cap sessions via Zoom. Some of the dancers, including myself, are also teaching public classes to keep the fitness flowing through this strange time (#SDCKEEPDANCING) and have new creations in the works!
How has your daily routine changed since lockdown?
RK: We’re lucky that we are able to keep dancing at home albeit, for me, dancing is not as enjoyable in an apartment compared to the studio. The two things I miss the most are having a set schedule every morning and just being super active and free in the studio.
What are three items you have with you whilst you work?
RK: The three things I have with me during work would be water, my laptop and a yoga mat. And I will just add one more… my portable ballet barre.
How are you staying creative during this time? Where do you look for inspiration?
RK: Lately I have been listening to a lot of classical music and indie/soul artists. Music gives me so much emotion and inspiration. As a dancer, when I like a song, I want to create with it. I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful rooftop and often create movement when the weather is nice out.
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This has been a tumultuous time for everyone but we will come together again, and celebrate the power, beauty and emotion of dance, music and creativity. Here Company dancers rehearse ‘Impermanence’ with @australianstringquartet. 🎵 @brycedessner 🎥 @rafaelbonachela #2020sdc #sydneydancecompany #contemporarydance #sdckeepdancing
Do you have any advice for people struggling with the transition of working from home?
RK: For me, I know this will end so I just keep thinking about that. Don’t let boredom and loneliness turn into doubtful thoughts and stress. Some days I wake up feeling unmotivated and down, but I try to stay positive by acknowledging that this won’t last long and by doing hobbies that make me happy.
To see Rhys Kosakowski in teaching action, you can join his Virtual Studio classes at 7:30am on Monday mornings.