Performing in a pandemic


Photo courtesy of Kelsey Hutchinson.

In early 2020, COVID-19 sent home thousands of college students, creating a challenging time for the performing arts.


While most students could do their classes and work virtually, dance majors had to be creative in their homes, which is easier said than done.


Kelsey Hutchinson, a senior dance major at the University of Kentucky, found the transition very difficult. Along with being a student, Hutchinson is a dance teacher in the neighboring town of Paris, Kentucky.


“When COVID first hit and all our classes were on Zoom, I found myself dancing in my bedroom and using kitchen counters as barres,” Hutchinson said.


Hutchinson also said that this time was hard for artists in figuring out what comes next. Since Broadway was closed, and all auditions and live performances were put on pause, college students’ lives were changed drastically. Hutchinson found herself questioning her career path.


“I found myself really thinking about why I was pursuing live performance as a career,” she said.


The pandemic has been hard on the arts, but Hutchinson says that it has “opened creative doors” that a lot of people didn’t know could be of interest.


Once COVID-19 numbers started to decrease, students were able to come back to UK. The first dance performance was in a parking lot, distanced and while wearing masks. While it is important to Hutchinson to keep everyone safe, she looks forward to a time when masks won’t be a part of her art.


“I desperately miss performing without a mask,” Hutchinson said. “I think the face is such an important part of telling a story."


Hutchinson hopes to keep expanding her creativity and pushing the boundaries of her art. She said if there is one thing this tough time has taught her, it is that “there are truly no limits anymore."