Coronavirus In Ohio: Artists Adapting To Work During Lockdown
Updated: Aug 11, 2020
An excerpt from an article by Jennifer Hambrick
Bodies And Space And Time
Sarah Hixon, artistic director of Hixon Dance, is looking forward to a time when she can resume planning for her company’s upcoming season performances when, right now, all of the key ingredients she and her dance company need are not available to them.
“The hard thing about creating dance is that it really is a collaborative process from the ground up. You need bodies and space and time,” Hixon said.
In the face of the COVID-19 emergency, Hixon Dance canceled what would have been its final performances of the 2019-20 season, a collaboration with the Ohio Song Project, two local composers and a local poet. The company has also had to cancel all dance classes through at least May 10, and Hixon says the summer camps that Hixon Dance had planned to offer in June might also be in jeopardy.
Hixon hopes her company will be able to reschedule the scrapped April performances sometime next season. But the ongoing COVID-19 emergency and the uncertain timetable on which the lockdown will end have so far not allowed her to reschedule the performance.
The longer the lockdown continues, the more difficult scheduling that or any other future performance is likely to be.
“We do need time ahead of a performance date to prepare, and dance is one of those things that just takes time because you can’t do that at home on your own. You have to be in the studio with other bodies,” Hixon said.
As the lockdown draws on, Hixon and her dancers are doing what they can online to stay in shape and to stay connected with each other.
“The company is working on trying to figure out a way to do some Zoom classes, so I am able to teach and the dancers are able to do something in their homes. We’re really talking about a limited way to try to stay in shape in these times,” Hixon said. “It’s not adequate, as far as really being able to accomplish what you can accomplish in a dance class, but it is enough to get by.”
Hixon Dance is also leveraging the power of the internet to hold company auditions for the first time entirely online. The process invites dancers to upload applications and complete video audition reels to the company’s website.
“It’s obviously better to see dancers in person and to get to talk to them and get to know them a little it before making decisions about personnel,” Hixon said. “But I’ve had projects come up before where I’ve needed dancers in a hurry, and we have done that through video reel online before.”
Meanwhile, until the COVID-19 emergency abates, and as the company’s administrative operations remain in what she describes as a “wait-and-hold” pattern, Hixon is keeping her eyes on the calendar.
“I’m questioning how early can I get dancers in the studio and make sure those projects can happen,” Hixon said. “I don’t even know if our fall projects are feasible at this point. I’m moving ahead as if they are. I’d hate to abandon them too soon.”