Updated: Jan 26
(Audio Accompaniment for your enjoyment)
Crash and Recovery
Amber Ivers was among the first dancers I knew to teach over zoom, create a viral dance challenge, and host live yoga. It was the first week of the covid-19 shutdown in America. Honestly, while she was zooming, I was still in shock; Ruminating over the shattered pieces of my life. Like millions around the world, I had big plans for 2020. Career moves!
A dream job in my grasp! Yet, by March 2020, we all watched in stunned silence how each and every hope for 2020 dissolved into nothingness. What I didn't know, was how deeply my friend, Amber Ivers, was also affected by the industry shutdown.
The pandemic disrupted each and every dancer around the globe. For Amber, the emergency travel shutdowns cancelled her flight and high profile contract only 3 days before it was to begin. Let us take a moment to recognize all the world tours which were post-poned, West End debuts stolen, and thousands of hard working dance students receiving cancellation letters from their summer intensives in the mail.
Every single theater closed.
Collectively, we felt each others' silent pain. The loss to the dance community was deafening. Perhaps it was the shock, but I didn't read accounts of dancers complaining or crying. We absorbed this hit with our heads held high.
I am proud of our dance community for rising with an outpouring of creativity, positive action, and assistance. Suddenly, the world of arts and entertainment transformed into a vast uncertain landscape, barren of audiences. Quickly, brave new pioneers began rebuilding before our very eyes. Without speeches or manifestos, a great silent shift took place from within. Dance became virtual. Rachel Hollis, whom I interviewed for a previous article, suggested the shift didn't just occur in the online space, but also in our minds and hearts. The impetus for the shift was our collective loss.
I want to record what we have lost in order to measure the strength and length of our resilience. I want to give a record to the dashed hopes and dreams so that we may understand where we found the energy to re-imagine our art form during the most extreme shutdown dance artists have known.
In an effort to document the experience of dancers in the 2020 Covid-19 shutdown, I present a new photo series: The first photo validates the losses dancers incurred; The second photo affirms how resilient and vibrant dancers are during a crisis. Here is Amber Ivers photo entry:
This morning, I wrote to several dancers who were greatly impacted by the shutdown. It is my hope this photo series #resilientartist gives voice to what we lost and shows a glimmer to what we are just beginning to gain. Each of us has a story to share. I welcome you to share your story with me. Today, Amber Ivers shares her Resilient Artist story with us!
Read her story below!
Photo Credit Valentin Chargy
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Amber Ivers, In Her Own Words
Mindset of Dancers Throughout The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020
The outbreak of the corona virus is something we never would have expected to experience in a lifetime. How do we react to a global pandemic? I mean…. !!???!!!? RIGHT?! In the early days of the virus spreading I remember thinking this is not going to last long. I reasoned I am hearing the phrase “Corona Virus Outbreak” on every media platform is because we live in such a heavy social media society. Everyday I remember thinking ‘Oh, This will be over soon, we don’t need to panic.’ During this time I was offered a contract dancing for Step One Dance Company with RWS Entertainment Group. A dream job I’ve been seeking for a couple of years now. That contract finally came through.
3 days before departure to NYC I received an email saying that my contract had been terminated.
Now as a dancer, we live contract to contract, so having guaranteed income is a foreign to us. Therefore, having no income didn’t affect me much as losing the actual job. Pursuing a dream job is the biggest life fulfillment! I live this on an everyday basis.
When the world shut down, the entertainment industry sank to the bottom of the lists of priorities. This is one of the most daunting times to live in as an entertainer. We simply don’t know how the industry will survive and if it does, how long will it be till we work again?
Entertainers will never stop bringing joy and happiness to this world. There are so many negative sides that we could focus on, but more than ever the world needs entertainers to bring joy, passion, and love of life - ESPECIALLY while we are in unknown times!
I took this opportunity and turned it in to a blissful positive lifestyle. I thought to myself - ‘So, I get to stay at home and spend time with my family? AMAZING! I get to unpack my suitcase for the first time in 7 years? OMG! I get to FaceTime my friends that live overseas for more regular catch ups than I usually can? AWESOME! I have so much spare time to read books and work on my mental health? PERFECT! We have this amazing technology to still share our love for entertainment and stay connected virtually? WOW! I can now do a 3 week course to become a yoga teacher (One of my lifetime goals) and be fully ferried after all this is over? INCREDIBLE.'
There is lots to be grateful for. We are all thinking that we will never take our normal life for granted in the future. But what about right now?
Let’s not take THIS time - THIS moment for granted. Do all the things that make you happy, all the things that you usually don’t have time for and connect to your inner being. Live each and everyday to the absolute fullest! Be kind, be grateful and live with an Open Heart! -Amber Ivers MAY 2020
Thank you dear friend and world famous performer, Amber 'Bam' Ivers. May you forever make waves where-ever you go!
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