ATLANTA - You’ve heard the phrase, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” Right now, Atlanta Ballet dancer Keaton Leier is living that advice daily.
“Yeah, it’s very different,” says Leier. “I’m usually used to being around all of my colleagues at the Ballet, but obviously we have special circumstances here.”
The special circumstance is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which forced Atlanta Ballet to cancel performances and, for a time, shut down its facilities. The Ballet’s Virginia-Highland Centre is back open, but on a very limited basis.
“After, I think, three or four months of staying and working from home, we’ve finally been given access to have one person in the studio at a time here,” says Leier.
That’s one dancer per room, for two hours twice a week. It’s a big change for a professional like Leier, who was born in Canada and has danced with Atlanta Ballet for three seasons.
“I feel like not having the energy of my coworkers around me to boost my push and my motivation, it’s just…it’s a lot. You have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined.”
Leier says that’s been especially true when training at home; after all, dancers need space, and carpet isn’t exactly an optimal surface for doing pirouettes.
“The Atlanta Ballet did provide us with floor that’s…dance-friendly. That was a really big blessing for us and made a really big difference. But still, as you can imagine, I have a really small apartment and I live by myself. Dancing in that space alone is just a struggle.”
Leier says that’s why he’s so happy to be back in the studio, even if it’s by himself. It’s hard work, he says — but work that will pay off when he and his fellow dancers are back on stage.
You can stay up-to-date on Atlanta Ballet’s scheduled performances by following the company on social media or click here to visit the company’s website.