Somewhere deep in the pandemic, we were advised that once we come out of this isolating, debilitating mess, we would be confronted with a post-new normal. That day appears to be here. For those of us in the dance world, it is going to mean different things for different people.
Live performances are taking place indoors, however, some require masks and or vaccinations. Others leave it to personal discretion. Alternative outdoor venues are more common. Most recitals and performances are now presented with audiences attending, but many continue to be simulcast or recorded for viewing online. For others, the post new normal looks a lot like 2019.
For studio and facility owners there is certainly a greater awareness of keeping their facility clean and disinfected. A keen eye out for any signs of illness will help keep infection rates low. Covid 19 has not disappeared, only morphed into more dominant and transmissible viruses. Over 400 people a day continue dying from Covid in the United States. Shots and pills are available to stem the tide of disease, but if you are not vaccinated, you are much more likely to contract Covid and pass it along. Requiring these protective measures are now up to the individual organization. One way or another, they will impact participation.
Restricting non-participants in studios is a continuing option. Parents, dancers and teachers, should remain cautious.
Our world has been turned upside down and many of our traditional schedules– out the window. What have we learned? Schedules are what we make them. Seasonal instruction blurred. Performance and recitals are being staged in new environments and taking place at times that were never before considered. Zoom, remote learning, and streaming, are concepts newly and widely embraced and will continue, in a hybrid state moving forward.
We have lost studios, competitions, vendors and students. The remaining studios are emerging, adding satellite facilities and expanding space. New projects abound. Hard to know if it will make up for what we have lost.
There is enthusiasm and optimism in the performing arts world that is driving our emergence from the pandemic. If you are still in the game take note. Now is the time to plan and act. Issues related to Covid variants and other viruses are part of the post new normal. Some areas will be impacted while others will have no restraints.
We continue to be confronted with several economic issues that are impacting building projects and our pocketbooks. The disruptions in transportation, both domestic and international persist, resulting in continued delays and additional expense. Containers, trucks and manpower remain in short supply. Inflation is at a 40 year high. Gas, cars, chemicals for cleaning agents, adhesives, food, transportation and disinfectants have increased prices and are in short supply with long turnaround times. These conditions will probably continue at least through the rest of this year. Possibly longer.
We need to plan way ahead, be patient and remember these are just bumps in the road. This is perhaps part of normalizing the post-new normal.
It has been widely reported, and this is something to keep in mind, that our young people have experienced physiological upheaval resulting in disruptive behavior, depression and rebellious attitudes. School, social interaction and dance activities were canceled, routines disrupted, and relationships strained. Many of these kids needed to be hospitalized. It is that bad. Please continue to be vigilant in assessing your students. They need your support and encouragement and, in some cases, professional help.
The Pandemic changed the world, and the world continues to change. Moving forward we need to recognize that conversations and attitudes about race and gender are important and confronting traditionally strongly held beliefs is part of the new paradigm. We all need to adjust, deal and recognize that indeed we are living in a post-new normal.
The only consistent thing we must deal with every day is change. That means there is always something new to learn. Embrace the future and stay safe.