“As tragic as a theatre not being supported” — DJs and dancers on the pandemic’s threat to their industry

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Megan Smith speaks to DJ Alexandra Hearth and dance teacher Karen Yates about how the pandemic is continuing to affect the arts sector.

DJ Equipment, music, club

“DJ Equipment” by Luke The Look is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Arts and entertainment has been the second-hardest hit sector in the UK. Lockdown and social distancing rules have meant that DJs cannot perform to physical crowds, and dancers cannot perform, or teach, indoors.

Alexandra, the creator of the ‘Hot Girls’ podcast, has been DJing for roughly five years. She believes that the arts “liberate us”:

“I think we understand humans through art, and we get to have fun through creativity, and those things are so fundamental to life.”

In July the Government announced a £1.57 billion support package for the UK’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions, but the DJ believes that there is a problem with what is classed as the arts.

“I think that governments and the people making decisions don’t see things like nightlife and club culture as the arts,” she says.

“The idea of those things not being supported I find equally as tragic as the idea of a theatre not being supported.”

No dedicated support for DJs

No specific support or plan has been put in place to support DJs and Alexandra says she is unaware of what sort of assistance she and other DJs can receive.

She also expressed concern over the mental health of other DJs she had spoken to, who found purpose through DJing to crowds.

“I think people feel like they are being robbed of the thing that makes them who they are.”

Help for dancers

A Dance master class from Cherkassy Dance Center

“Mariam Turkmenbaieva’ masterclass at Cherkassy Dance Center” by be creator is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lucy White, director of the Elite Dance Company, believes that the arts need more support in order to stay alive.

Lucy said that if the arts weren’t supported then the fun of entertainment would slowly disappear.

“[It would encourage] more people to stay indoors and not have a hobby.”

Self-employed dance and performing arts teacher Karen Yates agrees, and says that the arts need funding to be handled by someone who has experience in the field.

But she also believes that when we return to normality the arts will return with new talent.

“I have danced all my life and can’t even imagine a world without the theatre and the arts. There’ll be lots of wasted talent around and lots of wasted opportunities.”

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