We chatted to ASPAH Ambassador Glenn Christensen about how COVID-19 has affected him. He discusses his thoughts on the crisis and shares ideas and strategies for performing artists to stay healthy and connected.

Photo credit: Richard Tognetti

How has the coronavirus crisis affected you as a professional performing artist so far?

Obviously all of my work (as I usually know it) has completely dried up. I’m fortunate that I currently have financial stability in my current job for at least the next few months (I’m meant to move to Germany this year!), but who knows what the next few months might bring. I’m also very aware of a lot of my friends and colleagues who aren’t in such a fortunate position, which is just really awful. 

Are you exploring any alternatives for staying connected to your art and to your audience during this time? Do you have any suggestions for other dancers?

A lot of groups (including the ACO) are turning to digital platforms. I think this is a really good way of keeping connected with our audiences, but it’s SUCH a learning curve! It’s a good thing to get on top of, and I’m sure the skills will come in handy down the line.

I don’t think everyone has to do this, however. If it’s going to cause you more stress or anxiety during this time, I think it’s most important to look after your mental and physical health first and foremost. 

What strategies are you using to take care of yourself during this time of uncertainty and isolation?

I go through periods of ups and downs – sometimes I feel really good about the fact that life has slowed down a lot, and there is time for things that one usually wouldn’t have time for, and other times I feel totally stuck and like I’ve lost a lot of purpose. In these times it’s good to just take some deep breaths, go for a bit of exercise (whether that’s in the house or a walk/jog/run outside) and try to recalibrate. It’s ok to let yourself have “nothing” days, I think! It’s also good to touch base with friends and realise that we’re all in this together. 

Do you have any other comments to make regarding the current crisis in regard to performing arts healthcare?

We will get through this – and hopefully on the other side we will come out stronger as a sector. It’s my hope that people have been turning to the arts during their times of isolation, and might start to rethink how necessary they are for the mental wellbeing of our world! Let’s look out for each other.