Lockdown life: How Czech National Ballet dancers are staying show-ready at home

Lockdown life: How Czech National Ballet dancers are staying show-ready at home

Lockdown life: How Czech National Ballet dancers are staying show-ready at home

Lockdown life: How Czech National Ballet dancers are staying show-ready at home

Lockdown life: How Czech National Ballet dancers are staying show-ready at home 1

The first cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic were reported on 1 March, with their government being one of the earliest in Europe to impose a full lockdown just two weeks later.

The shutdown has affected every aspect of life there, including the arts and the country’s National Theatre, which is home to the Czech National Ballet. All non-essential workers, including artists, were forced into home confinement.

For ballet dancers whose profession requires a rigorous exercise routine, these restrictions posed a major challenge to keep fit and ready to put on a show.


The ballrooms in the historical centre of Prague are empty, and the dancers have to take care of their conditioning by themselves – in their apartments, with their families – but they are helped by video-training sessions with their ballet masters.

With the gradual easing of the measures, the Czech National Ballet company has switched to a new training system in which the dancers are divided into six groups. For one hour every day, they train in groups of 12 or 13, and this is broadcast online to other dancers who practice at home.

Magdalena Matejkova, soloist, says: “I have more time for things for which there is not so much time usually: reading books, cycling, cooking and especially family. My mum and sister are the only ones I’ve been seeing intensively lately. But I miss the theatre. I miss the adrenaline; I’m looking forward to going back onstage and feel the butterflies in my stomach.”

EPA


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