Lockdown has presented us with many problems and challenges. For professionals such as athletes, dancers and musicians, their regular routine of practice and rehearsals has disappeared along with our other freedoms.
But for Royal Ballet Principal Yasmine Naghdi, just like the team at Jade Harrison School of Dance, her work hasn’t stopped with lockdown!
An abrupt change in routine
At 28 years old, Yasmine has been involved in the world of professional dancing for a long time. That means a strict routine that involved practice, rehearsals, shows and other events connected to being a Principal. After joining the company in 2010, she reached the highest rank just four years later and life was busy.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and everything stopped. Like most people, Yasmine thought it would be a short stop, a break of a few weeks then a return to normality. But there was still a lot of anxiety - she and her fellow dancer were used to a full schedule and suddenly there was nothing.
It was a big shock to the system, one that lots of professionals will understand. From a life of schedule and goals, performances and the adrenaline rush of being on stage, they found themselves isolated and without much to do.
A changing approach
Dancers are one of those professionals who don’t have a lot of time off. Even the summer break is just a few weeks, and they aren’t the best at taking holidays! This meant that having a lot of free time was a bit of a shock for Yasmine and other professionals.
But the Royal Ballet were quick to find modern solutions to help their dancers. Daily classes taken over Zoom were streamed into kitchens and bedrooms along with barre, pilates and yoga on a regular schedule. where it was a little difficult in some homes to carry out the dance routines, special flooring was sent to add to the dance space.
Of course, all the practice wasn’t leading to anything as there were no performances to look forward to and that was hard. For Yasmine, her lead in Swan Lake has just started and she kept thinking about the times she would have been on stage, performing.
Getting the right mindset
As with many things, Yasmine believes that mindset is what has helped her cope with lockdown and the changes in her life. A few of her top tips include:
- If you need a routine, create one for yourself - if you struggle without some kind of routine then create one for you, whether that involves dancing, a hobby, exercise or anything else
- Vary your exercise - as a dancer, Zoom classes were great but didn’t cover all aspects of fitness so look at different types of exercise to get all of the fitness you need
- Focus on the future and stay positive - it can be hard but by focusing on the positives that will come once restrictions ease, then you can stay positive
The pandemic has stopped many of our lives in many ways. But as Yasmine has shown, even those in the most demanding and busy professions have found ways to adapt to life. And to focus on the future, when things finally return to something like normality.