Nicolle Stookey built a tutu while at home. Courtesy Stookey

The At-Home Hobbies Keeping Dancers Creative Right Now

When you're not spending all your hours in the studio, you suddenly have so. much. more. free time. While Netflix marathons have certainly been in order during the shutdown, many dancers have pivoted, using the opportunity to explore new hobbies or dive deeper into ones they don't typically have time for.

Here are some of the at-home hobbies we're digging. However you're redirecting your creative energies, we salute you!


DJing

English National Ballet lead principal Jeffrey Cirio has been playing live DJ sets on Instagram. Tune in for his forth edition, this Saturday, May 30, at 5 pm Eastern. You might even get the chance to virtually mingle with dance world glitterati like James Whiteside and David Hallberg, who've been asking about "getting on the guest list."

Tutu Making

If you can't perform onstage, constructing a costume might be the next best thing.

Nicolle Stookey, an adult student at Salt Lake City Ballet, spent a month making her very first pancake tutu with a pattern she found online. "I would love to perfect my skills and make full costumes for my studio's performances," she says. Though she's an experienced sewer, the project required patience, especially when it came to working with an abundance of material in tight quarters. "It was hard working with 10 yards of crinoline in my 900 square foot house, but a lot of fun!" she says.

Tents of crinoline spread across a carpet

​Nicolle Stookey's tutu-in-progess jockeyed for space with her exercise equipment, and, yes, her extra toilet paper. 

Courtesy Stookey

Brewing kombucha

New York City–based dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Mendieta has been making homemade kombucha. And since you can't rush the fermentation process, it's a perfect—not to mention delicious—at-home hobby for reminding you to slow down.

Left: a glass jar of komucha. Right: Elizabeth Mendieta stands in tendu while holding a bottle of kombucha.

Elizabeth Mendieta and her homemade kombucha

Courtesy Elizabeth Mendieta

TikTok-ing x 2

Like many dancers, the Mariinsky Ballet's Maria Khoreva, has joined in on the TikTok craze. But she's having twice the fun, dancing alongside her teenage sister Sofya Khoreva, a student at the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

Styling an OOTD

If you feel like can't spend another day in your PJs, look no further than Boston Ballet soloist Lawrence Rines for some style inspo. And, yes, putting on "real" clothes for five minutes totally counts. "I will attempt to put on a lewk to just walk around the block or go to the grocery store," said Rines on Instagram. "That being said, I am posting this whilst sitting on my couch in yesterday's pajamas."

Farming

Meanwhile in Idaho, Brett Perry, who's danced with groups like LED, the Trey McIntyre Project and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, has been getting his hands dirty. On top of dancing professionally, he's spent the last nine years as a farmer's apprentice, and is currently spending the shutdown growing food.

Drawing

French choreographer Antonin Comestaz has returned to a drawing series that he started 15 years ago. Though his materials may be simple—a ballpoint pen and paper—his designs are intricate and incredibly mesmerizing to watch.

Spoofing the News

Tired of the news? American Ballet Theatre's James Whiteside has been supplying comic relief to many of us at home with his truly wonderful, truly fake news clips. He created Shannon Bobannon, who "fires news like a cannon" and reports on hard-hitting topics...like birds. "Thank goodness for a reliable news source like Shannon," wrote Whiteside on Instagram. "We're so lucky to have a journalist we can trust in these trying times."

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Courtesy Esse

What It Was Like When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was in the Audience—or Backstage

The 27 years that Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent on the U.S. Supreme Court were 27 years that she spent as one of Washington, D.C.'s most ardent, elegant and erudite supporters of the performing arts. The justice, who died on September 18 of metastatic cancer, was also an avid cultural tourist, traveling to the Santa Fe and Glimmerglass operas nearly every summer, as well as occasionally returning to catch shows in her native New York City.

Ginsburg's opera fandom was well known, but her tastes were wide-ranging. Particularly in the last 10 years of her life, after Ginsburg lost her beloved husband, Marty, it was not unusual for the petite justice and her security detail to be spotted at theaters several nights a week. She saw everything, from classic musicals to serious new plays, plus performances that defied classification, like Martha Clarke's dance drama Chéri, with Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, which toured to the Kennedy Center in 2014.

To honor Ginsburg, Dance Magazine asked three dance artists whose performances the justice attended to recall what Ginsburg meant to them.

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