“The pandemic has really changed the way that we work together,” says choreographer Jane Franklin. “What we have done — and I think many people are using this as a solution — is trying to make material together using online tools like Zoom. In a way, it’s totally the opposite of what dance is about, because a lot of dance is about the relationship with the other people in the room. And certainly, touch is involved in that. But all of a sudden, you’re not in the room with anybody. Your focus is very much outward on the computer screen, and there’s none of that kind of sensing of another person. It’s very external.”
Franklin’s namesake company, Jane Franklin Dance, has operated out of Arlington since 1997. Originally from Colorado, the artist came to the D.C. area in 1990, as a visiting guest artist at George Mason University, and has “been here ever since.”
In addition to a slate of performances throughout the year, the company prides itself on community involvement as well as an abundance of specialized dance classes for both young and old. The company is currently holding dance classes as daily livestreams using Zoom, with each designed to connect participants to a different style of movement.
Offerings include ballet barre, Bartenieff-based floor work, jazz, Zen-inspired stretching, improvisation, modern, clogging, and even fitness. Participants are encouraged to go at their own pace, and even modify the lessons to suit their abilities.
“There’s nothing that advanced,” says Franklin. “The only class that’s kind of tough is ‘Abs With Amy,’ held Saturday mornings at ten. She runs marathons, so she’s doing these abdominal exercises that are pretty intense. But you don’t have to do 10, you can do five, and then rest for the last five.”
The classes are free, but participants are encouraged to make a donation to Franklin’s Artist Support Fund “to help offset the loss of income due to canceled rehearsals, residencies, after school programs, projects, and performances.” All proceeds go directly to the artists.
Franklin has also made available several popular works by the company. Four shows are currently featured at Stream, under the performance menu on the website: Aflight, Splatter, Shorthanded, and Beauty and the Beat. Prices range from $8 to $25 to either rent or own. Money raised also goes to the Artist Support Fund.
“The one I put up most recently — Aflight — can be rented for eight dollars,” says Franklin. “You can watch it with your whole family, and you can stream it more than once. So it’s much less than if you had to buy tickets to see it live.”
For a full schedule of dance classes and information about streaming content, visit www.janefranklin.com.
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