Retaking the Stage
Pandemic performances showcase innovation
There’s no longer safety in numbers. In fact, it’s been downright dangerous to gather together at theaters and music venues. So, how have artists—especially collaborative creators and those whose art is contingent on engaging an audience—worked in a world that’s gone remote? The performing arts have been particularly hard-hit economically by COVID-19, but fortunately, artists have applied their inherent creativity and innovative spirit toward finding new mediums for self-expression. And as many artists innovate their craft and how the public enjoys it, they are finding solutions born out of adversity that may persist even after the pandemic is long gone.
I think that any life experience (especially adversity) impacts the way musicians approach music.—Julia Blackwood
Beyond performances, some students took a new direction entirely to meet their course requirements. Senior dance major Rachel Marchica ’21 explains, “Pre-pandemic, I was planning to create a senior thesis performance—historically that is the norm for dance majors. I was also exploring the idea of creating a podcast about dance but didn’t even consider having that be my senior thesis.” Once things changed, she says, “I felt it was really important to make the podcast and to be a part of the rise in arts advocacy work and speak out about important topics in the dance community (such as mental health, eating disorders, and injuries).” The podcast became her senior thesis project, and it’s continuing, even though the requirement is complete.
Pictured in this article in order of appearance: Sophie Schilling ’24; Eric Montgomery ’21MA; Lili Greenberg ’24; and Ryah Lichtenstein ’23.
Hear Theater Department Chair Harley Erdman explain how the department rose to the challenge of 2020 with new courses, initiatives, and plans.