Backstage View of Ballet in Lockdown

Yarra Valley Ballet has enjoyed the return to dancing. PICTURE: unsplash

By Celeste Duthie

After two long years of dancing quite literally in the kitchen, this year has been the time aspiring Yarra Valley ballerinas can return to their studios for face-to-face classes.

During the lengthy lockdowns, dancers of all ages took to Zoom to continue their dance education with dedicated teachers adapting their lounge room to teach their classes.

Nadia Lockwood, the current Principal at Yarra Valley Ballet shared her insight into the effects lockdown had on students and teachers and the adaptation process after coming back to in person classes.

Ms Lockwood found there was some positives from teaching remotely.

“It was probably that it made me a better teacher, because I had to think, in really different creative ways. I couldn’t teach a class like I normally would,” she said.

About 60 per cent of students dropped away during the period of online classes but once lockdowns were lifted, Ms Lockwood noticed a steady increase of returning students eager to continue their learning.

However, many dancers were still cautious of getting sick and apprehensive about returning to on site dancing.

Slowly but surely, as people went back to school and work, dancers came for one class, then two and before they knew it, they were dancing weekly again.

After returning to the studio different ages adapted differently.

Students twelve and up made a good transition but the younger children were at first distracted with chatting to their peers.

Ms Lockwood said it took roughly a whole term for them to adapt to being quite in class again and was like a prolonged version of students coming back after school holidays.

The best part of coming back to face-to-face for Nadia was seeing everyone again without a computer screen in the way.

“Straightaway, as soon as you walked in, it was so lovely to be able to look at people in person and see them smiling back at you.”

Once back on-site Ms Lockwood got to enjoy teaching properly again. She is enthusiastic about teaching all ages and enjoys watching adults progress.

“I particularly love teaching adults because I love seeing the progression.”

Ms Lockwood said it’s similar to being a parent and watching your child progress.

“I guess you get the same thing as a teacher, but in a really unique way.”

With all lockdowns hopefully behind us the Yarra Valley Ballet school is eager to grow and flourish with new students and devoted teachers.