COVID-19 and the public theaters

Our position on overcoming the crisis

Communication is now more important than ever before.

A regularly scheduled communication from the administration to and with the dancers benefits both sides. It allows dancers to stay in touch and keep their perspective, and staff to include feedback. After discussion with dancers from several companies, we have concluded a two-sided approach works best:
Regular “what’s happening“ emails detailing in-house proceedings, with an emphasis on regularity vs finality; and an optional timeframe where staff are available for questions, information-sharing, or concerns.

Providing the most secure working space as soon as possible. 

While performances are being cancelled and dance studios already closed, dancers continue to work at home. We are however awaiting the chance to get back in the studios, where we can develop ourselves physically and artistically. Due to the special physical intimacy of dance we require a comprehensive and strict hygiene protocol in order to secure a safe return to our workplace. This should be developed for and with all theaters in conjunction with TAMED and each house’s medical staff.

Strong guidelines with external help and expertise.

We encourage our administrators to involve external experts in order to incorporate additional measures (both internal and external) to avoid injuries when we return to our normal schedules.The substantial gap of regular dance training and performance practice for this amount of time is unprecedented in our time. Training at home with extremely limited space will never fully replace dance specific exercise in a suitable environment.
Integrative supplemental training programs need to be developed by medical experts to reduce the high potential for injury starting too quickly. We request training coaches to facilitate the return to performance-level fitness.

We will need time.

Sufficient time needs to be scheduled into the upcoming season to allow dancers to return safely to performance-level fitness, physically and mentally. Season reopening schedules should take into account the long performance gap as well as the reduced capacity to work physically.

Resultant costs of external expertise and reentry time must be considered as part of the crisis.

These financial topics need to be discussed now while current budgets are already being redrawn. Intendants and responsible counterparts in cultural departments across Germany must include financial support for these crisis-recovery measures and health prevention.
As Germany’s premier dance-oriented medical organisation TAMED needs to be appropriately funded in order to create best practice guidelines and supplemental training programs. Appropriate funding must also be set aside in each theater to cover the cost of physical trainers implementing supplemental programs in addition to regular dance training.

Experiencing the positive benefits of gradual rehabilitation.

An upside of the COVID-19 shutdown has been an abundance of time for dancers to rehabilitate themselves. An evaluation of this initiative and its effects is necessary. Training at a lower pace with the time and allowances to focus on specific training or rehabilitation techniques (yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonic, etc.) needs to also be incorporated into our working time post-crisis. Allowing dancers time within their normal working schedules for more rest and recovery lead to better dancers with longer careers.

Remote-work activities need to be stipulated.

As we experience unprecedented times, new regulations become necessary. A range of activities needs to be compiled and issued from employers to dancers working remotely due to the structure of Unfallversicherung. Keeping dancers covered by the accident insurance as they work remotely must be a priority. Since Kurzarbeit 0% eliminates the possibility to give dancers “work to do“, it undermines our efforts to stay in shape by eliminating access to accident insurance (Unfallversicherung).