Highschool senior Casey Leyden is no stranger to the performing arts. For the last eight plus years she has been a dancer at the Hudson Valley Conservatory in Walden, NY.
“I have danced almost 5-6 days a week for as long as I can remember. Halting all that due to this pandemic was really upsetting,” Leyden explains.
Instead, Leyden has taken up her performing arts classes through Zoom, a video chatting platform. Her and her conservatory are not alone in this task.
Hundreds of studios across the country have also had to resort to virtual teaching and performing.
“First of all, my wi-fi is not reliable, I don’t really have space in my house that mimics a studio and it is not the same as being next to my friends and dancing to the music on the speaker system at my actual studio,” Casey explains.
Leyden’s dedication results in her constantly stretching multiple times a day, exercising multiple times a week and rehearsing lines and choreography during her free time.
“Even with all that prep and practice and strengthening, it’s still not going to being me my shows back,” Casey says.
Unfortunately for Casey, these alternative ways of performing won’t bring back her final bow as a senior at her dance company. Not only is she dealing with the loss of her high school graduation, prom, and senior events but she won’t get to properly close the chapter on her dance studio.
“My dance conservatory has been my happy place, but I realize that by the time I’ll be able to go back, it’ll be as an audience member and not a performer. This conservatory is for kids and teens K-12. I was supposed to celebrate all my time spent here since I finally am at my final year,” Casey says.
Casey maintains a positive attitude and hopes for a brighter future.
“Usually dance is what helps distract me from anything stressing me out. Now that I don’t have that outlet I lean on my friends and pets and family too,” she shares.
If the quarantine comes to an end, she will attend Adelphi University in Long Island and major in dance.
“My goal for the future is that I will dance in college all 4 years and then hopefully make it into a professional dance company. For now, I’ll keep working hard and training from home.”