Live Entertainment Shutdown
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
Rumors are swirling that new laws prohibit touching between dancers on stage. Is partnering on stage even possible right now? And what about future closures if an outbreak occurs within the theater?
At this time, only handfuls and bunches of revues, theaters, and companies have attempted to re-open. Some only doing so for the sake of hope or creativity, while others out of financial necessity. Dance magazine took at glance in June at what a company in Germany tried:
How long can companies sustain until a vaccine is reached?
These are undeniably bad times for live theater. Even in good times, theaters struggle to fairly compensate their artistic staff, performers, and attract audiences. Today, company ranks are decimated by the cuts to budget, employees, loss of casting via apprentices and temporary contracted dancers. How will these shows be pieced back together?
Amid huge financial strain, company leadership face the messy task of piecing together these wildly uncertain variables.
Will these companies continue to chase the stage or opt for private and televised events? Does online streaming of performances offer a viable audience to stay afloat?
We know audiences will return and we know this too shall pass, however, what will be the bridge between now and that point?
Once again, Dance Magazine profiled what one dance maker in America had innovated:
For International and cruise ship performers, travel laws still are fluctuate between red zone closures and relaxed visa-free travel. Cruise ships have announced their 2021 itineraries and are making moves forward, but it is unclear whether they are hiring a percentage of their entertainment teams back. Thankfully, quicker widespread testing is easing travel constraints. How long will it be until these entertainment jobs return?
Cirque du Soleil filed bankruptcy in early Summer of 2020, cutting 4,000 jobs from our industry, including 1,300 artists, who originate from nearly 50 countries. Source Approximately 250 of those positions are dancers.
There mass unemployment or underemployment of dancers. Compound a shrinking job market and I predict many dancers will be falling away from the spotlight and choosing to career transition, retire, start families, or study.
How many talents are we losing to this crash? Will the younger generation of dancers be able to surf this wave and find performance roles within the new technologies or video dance consumption boom?
Certainly there are new technologies, emerging online platforms, and a booming interest in performative dance thanks to TV and cell phones. Do those avenues generate paid roles for full time performers in large amounts, yet? I do not deny the promise of these emerging jobs, I do point out their novelty.
Certainly, not all of us will be able to transform into influencers, fitness gurus, or cult screen personalities. Our medium and passion is the live performance and stage. Giants like the Cruise Industry, Broadway, The West End, Thursford, Cirques of varying size, mega tours of the music industry remain paralyzed. Though I am happy for any news I see of dancers returning to the stage for the first time since shutdown or companies reviving their shows....I worry.
Depending on which country you belong to, government supported unemployment and disaster pay may have already expired or will be reduced. While some artists are appearing to remain afloat, what is happening the the masses of performers previously performing full time? Part-time? Just starting out?
The NY Times, ardent supporter of dance, encouraged the new trend with this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/arts/dance/stream-dance-online-virus.html
We knew this would be a bumpy road ahead. Do you think the worst is over? Or will the next six months push dancers into new careers, pre-mature retirements, or drive them into re-training programs. Many who work in the arts are not capitalizing on the online boom, are not gaining Instagram stardom, and are not being re-hired by their companies. In fact, by large, most dancers continue to duck and cover in the homes of their families and loved ones. How long before a career choice needs to be made?
The long standing trend of dancers becoming teachers, yoga instructors, or moving into fitness, coaching, or real estate will only be accelerated. What about dance jobs?
Not all dancers can become yogis and fitness instructors overnight
The crisis continues.