Ashley Bouder has been a principal dancer with New York City Ballet for 15 years. And now, you can take class from Bouder for free in your own living room. Since we’re not able to attend ballet class at our local dance studios right now, Bouder and many other dance and teaching professionals are turning to Instagram Live to stream classes in real-time. Dancers from around the world can tune in and participate together in a unified class—all while keeping their social distance. With some more free time in her schedule, Bouder was able to chat with The Dance Journalist about how she is staying healthy, inspired, and connected.
How are you keeping yourself healthy and sane during this difficult and uncertain time?
While I’ve stocked up on nonperishables, we continue to buy and cook fresh food in our home. We drink Emergen-C and also a glass of water with a Nuun immunity tablet each day. As for sane, we’ve subscribed to Disney + and have tried to maintain an active life otherwise. That means Violet, my daughter, does a Zoom pre-ballet class or we let her ride her scooter on our back patio. And I do ballet classes and workouts in our living room. We also are continuing education with our daughter and making sure to dedicate time to play games together as a family.
What’s the status of NYCB?
At this point, NYCB is off until the second week of April. Things seem to be changing everywhere so quickly, so I’m not counting on that. But I remain hopeful, nonetheless.
How are you personally keeping up your training and staying inspired?
I’m keeping in touch with friends and colleagues, doing my own class in my living room, and taking online workout classes. I’ll be tuning into Zoom a lot, I think!
Why did you decide to stream live ballet classes on your Instagram channel?
I wanted to give people some inspiration and something that feels “normal.” We were careful from the beginning to keep it small, respect distances between dancers, and disinfect everything. There was a lot of hand sanitizing.
How frequently are you planning on posting videos? For what level are they recommended?
Now that we have the stay-at-home order in NYC, I plan on posting some intermediate classes and then some of my own classes that I’m giving myself—tailoring everything to space limitations.
What kind of response have you received from your live streams?
I’ve received an overwhelming amount of thankful positive messages from all over the world…dancers from the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe, and South America.
How does it make you feel to provide this serve and sense of community amongst dancers during this time of quarantine?
It makes me feel empowered during this time where so much is out of our hands. I know I’ll be fine through this because we all belong to a very supportive community. I’m grateful to be able to contribute in my own way and it makes me feel honored to be part of this incredible dance world.
Follow Bouder on Instagram @ashleybouder and be sure to grab your ballet slippers and tune in for her next live at-home class.