Life in Lockdown is a blog series initiated by Greenwich Dance which features community and professional artists close to the organisation sharing how they are staying creative during these isolating times.
Bar Groisman – Dancer and Choreographer
My name is Bar Groisman, and I am spending three weeks in Sweden during the pandemic. I am a dancer, choreographer and writer based in Cambridge, UK, and the founder of a dance theatre company called Sababa Bar Co. and on July 18th I arrived in Lund, Sweden for a three week dance residency, to create a solo work called ‘Chameleon Life’ on a female dancer and friend. Since arriving, I have taken my first dance class and stepped into a studio for the first time in five months. I touched a stranger for the first time, and hugged new people. I was lucky at home in Cambridge, as I had my mother, my father and my partner to hug, but I realised it was the hug of a greeting, a meeting with someone new, that my body and soul needed back.
So here I am, with new people, in a new environment where cafe signs read ‘F k Coronavirus, come in and have a coffee’. Where people give you strange looks for wearing a mask, and people sit next to you on the bus.
Throughout lockdown, writing poetry became a daily activity, turning my feelings into words and recording them, then taking these recordings, and moving to them at home. So I would like to share this experience with you through this medium.
It is the second day back in the studio, which I myself feel is the first official day working on my new work with my dancer. We have found new ways of working together and have laughed many times when becoming delirious at the late hours.
During lockdown back at home, I spent a lot of time in front of my laptop, working in front of the screen all day, and after today I have noticed my body and mind are getting used to the long hours in the studio. At first I found myself losing concentration at lunch time and finding that it would take a coffee or two to get back into the routine of working in a studio all day. I feel overwhelmed by this shift, but it is great and I am unbelievably grateful to be back where I belong, even if it is only for a short while.
Oh Wednesday…. the middle of the week, almost Friday, but not quite.
Today I had a breakthrough, the dance work is coming together nicely and my body feels like mine again. I stayed in the studio an extra four hours after rehearsals and simply moved and worked on my own. For a long time while being in my home in Cambridge, I started to lose the connection to my own body, questioning, how do I move? What movement qualities speak out my name? And how do I find my own way of moving in the small space that is my bedroom? I will admit, it was difficult, and I simply could not find my body fully at home, not in my bedroom, not in my bathroom or even the park. After taking class today, I realised very quickly that it was the presence of the people that was missing. Their energy, their passion to dance, and today I felt all that passion in one room, and my body was mine again.
I taught class today
And I said to myself, Bar, hey
Don’t be afraid
Your body and mind, you made
Created from the age of three
And for a few months, you simply let it be
Now it’s back, and it’s time to teach
What you know and all you preach
And it went great!
Of course it did
Because just for a while there
Your skills just hid
I realised today when I was sad it was Friday and tomorrow was going to be a day off, that I am extremely lucky. Dancing could never be replaced by anything else, and I simply do not know what I would do without it. It is an amazing thing to want to work in your field at the weekend, and sometimes I can not believe that I have found my passion so early on in my life. Tonight, myself and the rest of the dancers are going to have a meal together and watch my work ‘Aize Balagan’, a piece I created with my dance theatre company Sababa Bar Co. last year. It will be screened by Danceeast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) program that I attended from 2013-2016.
I am extremely grateful that I can still share work during this time, even if it is digitally, and feel hugely supported by so many. It has been a great week, and I wish to create work and dance until I simply cannot anymore.