COVID-19 Dance Artist Awareness

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Hello,
 
Thank you for all that you have done to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to support our citizens in the meantime. The Canadian government has been doing a remarkable job, I am truly impressed everyday by the commitment to ensure Canada comes out strong and adept from this global pandemic.
 
I did want to bring into focus something that I haven’t seen addressed by our government.  As a recent graduate with Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I am looking for answers on how the government plans to reintroduce jobs that rely on human contact and entertain time concerns.
 
I am a dancer who has trained since I was two years old; I left my hometown of Red Deer, Alberta, to move to Toronto to attend Ryerson University’s prestigious dance program, all with the goal of dancing professionally in Toronto.  Upon graduation, I was extremely excited and honoured to receive a contract with Red Sky Dance Company.  My dreams and hard work had finally come true.  However, when Covid-19 struck, this job and many others were postponed or canceled completely.  In addition, all training facilities were closed, and remain closed.  The problem that is now arising is that training in a home or an apartment cannot properly emulate the intense physical demands a dancer requires.  Everyday these facilities remain close, we lose more and more of our training which has taken years to develop. Going from training six days a week practising partnering work and with room to travel in space, to practically zero for months on end is not feasible for dance artists who rely on this physicality.  How do you propose dancers get back to training within this pandemic? I am aware that recreational facilities like these remain closed, as they should to prevent extra spread.  But should there not be different considerations for those whose livelihoods rely on training and rehearsals? If professional dancers cannot get back to training and rehearsing soon, we will lose our technical proficiency, which could be career altering or result in career loss.
 
Additionally, what is the government proposing to get the arts industry running again once reopening begins?  There is no hope for artists to train to get back to an artform that cannot be performed on stage or funded through audience members.  With the restrictions in place now, there will be no theatre shows, and therefore no dancers or other artists will be able to make an income.  How do you propose theatres host performances that would normally have hundreds of people watching? Perhaps they begin selling every third seat?  Perhaps all audience members must wear masks and have temperature checks similar to when boarding an airplane?  Many artists are losing hope as we have not heard any ideas, promises, or consideration from our government.  We are searching for some guidelines, acknowledgement and hope during these times. This loss of optimism is not only detrimental to us as artists, but will also create a negative effect on society. A forced career change from some of the world’s most artistic humans would be a very unfavourable and preventable loss and result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 
 
There have been multiple articles circulating the internet that praise the arts community, and state that they are helping society through these tough times when many people are stuck at home.  People are listening to more music, watching more TV, movies, plays, dance performances and etc.  These are the things that are bringing joy to people during these times.  It would be a shame if these same artists who worked to bring enjoyment to society, could no longer afford to remain active in their artform.  Without a plan for reopening theatres and training facilities, it is difficult for artists to remain physically, mentally, and financially able to create art.  Kindly note that art is one of the most important things in a country. It creates tourism, a rich society, and a rich culture.
 
Please consider what can be done for professional dance artists and others alike to keep them training and working. There are many arts individuals that live through income from opportunities that are now gone and are without “plans” to start again soon.  Perhaps dancers and other artists/athletes are going to need financial help beyond a few more months, as our profession relies on human contact for dance shows and a theatre with people sitting watching. Everyone deserves the same consideration to keep their careers and livelihoods. So please give dance artists some hope or proposals of how the industry will run again soon. With great love and respect for our country, don’t let Canada lose this artform.