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Elizabeth’s Story

Dancing in a Pandemic

“Arm in high fifth,” says the dance teacher from the iPad.

“And try not to hit the light,” I think to myself. I try to balance on one leg while holding on to a kitchen chair and do grand battements (high kicks) and try not to whack my hand or foot on the light fixture. I also try to avoid hitting my desk, wardrobe, and laundry hamper while still trying to stay in shape as a dancer during lockdown.

In the course of a few days (or was that weeks?) I went from being in a huge studio taking up so much space to being in my room with limited space to dance.

Covid is not just a pandemic; it’s a lifestyle. It’s always wearing a mask while you’re out. It’s washing your hands every time you come home and wearing a lot of hand sanitizer. It’s staying six feet apart and making sure not to touch anyone. Covid is spending most of your time at home. It’s wondering when and if the next show will happen, while longing to perform.

I love dance, but dance is hard living the lifestyle of the pandemic. But I have learned to get used to dancing with a mask and other covid restrictions.

Thankfully, I was able to go to dance camp in the middle of this pandemic. We had to get our temperatures checked, but then we talked and laughed behind our masks. We had to dance six feet apart, but we were all learning the same choreography, to the same music. We had to wipe down our ballet barres and we couldn’t touch, but we all did the same turns and fell out of them. We all did the same jumps, even though some were pretty and some weren’t; we all felt the amazing and horrible pain of the stretches even though we couldn’t see the funny grimaces on our faces. We all struggled over hard choreography and rejoiced once we understood it even though we were spread out across the room.

We weren’t perfect, but we were growing, and we were doing it together.

My favorite memory was when we older girls went into the back room without our teachers and worked on a challenging contemporary piece together. We complimented each other and corrected each other and ran through the dance a bunch of times. But most importantly, we became a community. The other two girls were close friends, but I only knew one of them, and I didn’t know her very well. Yet strangely enough, I did something not many people could do: I made friends during a health crisis. During these hard times we were able to have fun learning, growing, and most importantly, daring to dance in the midst of a pandemic.


Share your own story here. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with other people. Be part of the Teen Health & Wellness Personal Story Project—like Elizabeth did above—and share your story about successfully dealing with or overcoming a challenge.