Life in Lockdown: Peter Meager
**Life in Lockdown is a blog series initiated by Greenwich Dance which features community and professional arists close to the organisation sharing how they are staying creative during these isolating times.
The artists have been asked to log their day-to-day activity during lockdown. Heres a look at local Charlton-based Peter Meager's week! Peter leads our inclusive tea dances as well as heading up the organisation Equality Dance.**
I have been working with Greenwich Dance as a freelance artist since January 2020, although Equality Dance had already taken part in the community dance festival at Eltham Palace back in 2018, delivering a free taster class in ballroom and Latin dances. Since January this year we have been providing an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities from the local community to come together for a workshop and social tea dance as part of the Greenwich Dance programme at Charlton House. These social dances have a slightly more contemporary feel to them than the more traditional tea dances and we’ve engaged the whole community in one event, integrating both novice and more experienced dancers on to the same dance floor.
We’ve had to temporarily suspend these events during lockdown, however Equality Dance continues to provide weekly online dance classes via their Facebook page at midday on a Saturday. These have also been hugely successful and we have around 50-60 participants each week, not only from Greenwich but from all over the UK - keeping everyone up and active!
We can’t wait to be back at Charlton House in the near future for our workshops and social dances.
In the busyness of everyday life, it’s often hard to find the time to spend on my own learning and development as a dance teacher. Being in lockdown with no day job to go to has given me the extra hours needed to sit down and study for my next teaching qualification, something that not only betters me, but all of my wonderful students - can’t wait to be back on the floor with everyone and being a better and more creative teacher!
I’ve found gardening really creative since we have been in lockdown. I am genuinely really grateful that I have an outside space at the moment and so feel very passionate about using this space to be both active and outdoors at the same time, maintaining a positive wellness and enjoy being imaginative with the garden space (and lighting - it’s lit up like a runway at night). It is really important to have some space to think and relax in potentially stressful times, and my wonderful garden has often provided this kind of refuge. It’s also been a great space to do online fitness classes for my household as there’s actually more unhindered space outside than there is inside the house!
Whilst I haven’t had the chance to dance to music as much as I would have liked right now, I have taken the opportunity to make the music instead and take back up playing the Saxophone. I was a keen player as a teenager and was actively musical throughout growing-up. However, it became something that got left behind when moving to London in the early 00s with the busyness of making a new life here I never got round to returning to it. I’ve carried my saxophone around with me for the past 25 years, and so I am now delighted to be opening the box and creating music again - hopefully back on track by the end of lockdown.
A few years ago, I felt the inspiration to purchase a DSLR camera and so I joined a small Greenwich based digital photography class, which sadly had to close down early due to a low registration uptake. Very quickly my camera got pushed further and further to the back of the cupboard and my motivation to becoming a decent photographer subsided - I just never found the time to find a new class. Lockdown has provided so many more online opportunities to learn, and so I’ve picked up my camera, and now often using my exercise time to go out and practice whilst I walk around Charlton. It’s been another great way to express my creativity through photography. It’s become another enrichment to how creative I can be in a time of isolation and I passed the course with flying colours.
An integral part of being in isolation has been to keep all of my students engaged and active whilst the face to face classes have been temporarily cancelled. I started a few weeks ago, advertising the free online sessions to the local Greenwich Community and have had on average around 60/70 people joining me each Saturday - it’s aimed at beginners and intermediate dancers, offering a taster class to those who’ve never tried it before and keeping people active during these difficult times. It’s become an extremely fun and engaging session and brings so much to so many learning the basics of latin and ballroom dancing, whilst adapting the techniques to solo line dances. I have even created a completely new line dance called the #IsolationSamba which we are all looking forward to dancing together when we come out the other side at the Rivoli Ballroom at Jacky’s Jukebox.