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Moving Out and Into the Wild Outdoors

Nicole Decsey on dancing in the great outdoors this summer.

Things are starting to open, and it is time to get out of our basements and our apartments and get moving outside. We have been on zoom for so long that sometimes it’s hard to remember what it’s like to dance in the same space with other people.

What is starting to happen outside?

Outdoor shows, classes and of course with outdoor shows come outdoor rehearsals. Having the opportunity to move from zoom rooms to in person rehearsals has opened my eyes to how different the two experiences are. Even though zoom has been so extremely helpful during this pandemic it pales in comparison to working in person with other artists. When you see your choreography for the first time off the screen there is just no way to describe the feeling of excitement. And then when that choreography is done in a large group with no time lags or glitches due to spotty WIFI you finally get to see what your work looks like. Because with all those technical complications you’re not really seeing the full potential of your work. Not until it gets filmed months later or finally gets taken outside now that restrictions have lifted.

The benefits of dancing outside:

The space. Getting out of our small indoor dance studios that we have created for ourselves and going outside where there is finally room to dance and travel. Do you remember running across a studio? Do you remember what it was like to get from one end of your space to the other in more than two steps? It is extremely exhilarating to have that feeling of flying again. And even better when your outside you get the wind in your face and the experience is heightened.

Dancing in a group again, no more solos on your own. Even though we still must be 6 feet apart there is something to be said for having another dancer right next to you and really getting to make eye contact with them. Not just seeing their faces in a two-dimensional square box.

Talking to and seeing friends. You can’t really have conversations with a tiny square especially when there are multiple tiny squares on the same screen. So, when you are finally taking class in person again, enjoy being a part of group conversations and individual conversations. Because multiple conversations can happen at the same time without any required typing or awkward pauses, so you don’t talk over one another.

No more reversing what you see on screen. When you are dancing in person again you won’t have to worry about being on the wrong leg because it will be so much easier to see what the choreographer is doing. You won’t have to worry anymore about reversing or mirroring what you are seeing. And you won’t be confused by the fact that it looks like you are going the opposite way from everyone else. It is so much less complicated to take class in person.

What will take some getting used to:

The commute. Yes, we have all spent about a year avoiding the TTC and traffic on the highways. We have had the luxury of rolling out of bed maybe an hour before our class starts and being ready to go. Now that will change, and we will have to go back to preparing a little bit earlier for our classes. But there are some good things about a commute. And in the end when you get to your destination it will all be worth it.

The uneven ground. This is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to dancing outside. But it is a challenge that will make you stronger. Negotiating around rocks and tree roots will make you more aware of your surroundings something that I think has been heightened in all dancers this past year. This uneven ground will also force your balance to become much stronger. And who wouldn’t want to improve their balance game?

The weather. Dancing outside means there are no air-conditioned studios and no roof over your head. So, we will have to get used to dancing in the heat and the rain. Some simple solutions are bringing lots of water and bringing clothes for the weather. If it’s going to be a scorcher wear shorts and bring sunscreen. If it’s going to rain maybe bring a light sweater and pants. But coming with multiple clothing options is never a bad idea. It always good to be prepared. And speaking of prepared the most important clothing option to remember is closed toed running shoes. Something you can move in but also something that will protect your feet from whatever is on the ground be it dog poop or broken glass.

Dancing outside is a whole new world that we have yet to fully explore. But after adapting this past year to dancing online from our homes it is a world that I am confident we can master and come to love. Let’s travel, let’s work together again, let’s see other artists in person for real. Not two-dimensional images but three-dimensional people. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get out of my home-made dance studio and get outside where I can move and dance like I haven’t been able to in over a year.

Want to see Nicole perform outside this summer? Catch her in Ismailova Theatre of Dance's Journey With The Wind, running at G Ross Lord Park now to Aug 1st. Ticket info here.



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