Certificate IV Developing Artist Cleopatra Pryce admits that her first year at NAISDA Dance College is certainly not what she was expecting. But then again, it’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t gone as expected for most people, with the current COVID-19 pandemic forcing us to change almost every aspect of life as we know it.
For NAISDA, the decision was made in early March 2020 to cease on-site training to prioritise the safety of Developing Artists, trainers and staff. In just under a month, NAISDA’s trainers and teaching staff worked hard to develop a completely online training program. The digital learning program aims to replicate the level of high-quality training and education for which NAISDA is renowned – all from home.
“I’ve never done anything like this before!” said Cleo, who is now undertaking her second term at NAISDA from her mum’s home in Far North Queensland in beautiful Gimuy Country.
“Training online has been a learning experience with some big challenges, but it’s also helped me learn how to handle myself under pressure and adapt quickly to new things. In a way, I think it’s preparing me for a career in the arts industry, which is very fast paced,” she added.
Developing Artists have been learning via a combination of Zoom classes, pre-recorded training videos and online theory modules.
For Cleo, one major challenge has been keeping motivated to stick to an intense training regime while outside of the studio.
“I’ve been working as hard as possible – trying to be consistent with keeping my body in shape. I have also been trying to separate home life from dance life, which can be a challenge when you are learning in close quarters,” she said.
Despite the challenges, this new way of learning has inspired Cleo to think outside of the box when it comes to creating.
“I’ve been really enjoying some assessment pieces like physical theatre. I’ve been taking inspiration from my environment and going down to the beach or into my back garden to film pieces, which has been fun.”
While Cleo is excited to return to the NAISDA studios when possible, she acknowledges that digital learning has helped her grow.
“I’d say that the experience has definitely changed my way of thinking – I have had to adapt and change really quickly,” she added.