My routine in times of Corona - Marta Navarrete Villalba

Marta Navarrete Villalba writes in her blog post about, how her routine and daily live have changed due to Corona and tells us, how a dancer is leading with the current situation. Since the middle of March performances at Bayerisches Staatsballett have been canceled, ballet class and rehearsals are not taking place either. 

© Laura Navarrete Villalba

We as dancers are used to a very busy schedule that keeps our mind and body going almost like perfect machines in order to offer the very best of us. Personally, this is what I have been doing since I started ballet at the age of 5, and until now, I couldn’t think about it in any other way.

We start early in the morning with a ballet class to get our body going for the day, then rehearsals of the ballet that we are performing on that period and the next ones coming up, a little bit of a break to recharge energy and back to rehearse or to do the performance of the day. Whenever there is a free day or any gap on the schedule, a physiotherapy appointment is more than welcome to prevent injuries and to release the stress in the muscles.

I love to have this or any kind of routine, something to work for, to reach my daily goals and to go home fulfilled and with the satisfaction of another productive day completed. However, things have suddenly changed and me, as anyone out there, have needed to adapt and find a new way of doing my work.

During the first couple of weeks, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had so much energy that I was pretty much climbing up the walls, even my dog would hide because he didn’t want to go for another walk to the park. Quickly, I realised that this new situation was going to take longer than I had expected, so I started building a new ROUTINE, a different but productive one nevertheless, something to keep me in shape, to make me feel tired and that helped me thrive better during this period.

My day starts waking up early in the morning with a yummy breakfast. Something that I have achieved is to put a little more effort on my breakfast, now full of homemade bakery and freshly squeezed orange juice. A healthy first meal is key to get all the nutrients I need to start the day on a good note. Next comes a stroll to the park with my dog and my partner, followed by a running session to work on my cardio and stamina level. Next a little shower and off to work, yes I said work. I get into my leotard and tights, just like I would usually do at the theatre, get my hair into a bun and I make my way into the living room.

My living room is where I work now, is where my linoleum is and where my ballet barre happens to be (also known as Kallax from Ikea which has more uses that I had ever imagine). I play my music to help me during warm up (which will go on for about 30 minutes, just like it would do at the theatre). Afterwards, I open my IPad and then the magic happens.

Something beautiful has started during this uncertain time, the ballet community has come together like never before offering classes online, allowing anyone out there to take a ballet class with ballet masters and dancers of leading institutions around the globe. Usually I do ballet class with all of my colleagues but now I also get to do it with the rest of the world, helping me feel supported and encouraged. Once the piano gets going and the teacher starts giving the exercises I’m not home anymore, I’m dancing as I always have done.

After ballet class, point work and a little partnering, it’s time for cooking, something that I love and now, more than ever, I have time to do. Every day I make a different homemade meal and 3 times a week I try to come up with a new recipe to keep things interesting and exciting. After lunch, I can’t help to have a little Spanish siesta (usually around 30-40 minutes).

As soon as I wake up, I take my Pilates session with my IPad joining the rest of my colleagues through the platform that the theatre has enabled for us. I continue with more exercises that work specifically for my body and that help me focus on the goal of the day (e.g. working on my feet, improving my balance). Then, I finish the day with Yoga, something that I adore and that helps me transition into a more relaxed stage of the day. I usually break it down into two blocks, a more intense session that improves strength and balance and a more relaxed session to discipline my brain and help me find a moment of stillness.

When work is done, I place a huge carpet over the linoleum, which visually helps me to understand in which moment of the day I am (as silly as that may sound, when you live in a tiny space, acts like these really make a difference.

At this point of the day, I do whatever I feel like doing on each moment, that can be reading, sewing, watching Netflix, etc. But there are two things that I always do no matter what. First, writing on my journal what I would do for the next days. This has literally kept this routine going without a single fail. And secondly and most importantly I write about what my goals are for the upcoming day and in what I should concentrate the most (that can be on my feet or on my back or on balance or point work), as well as what I would like to eat or just any ideas for my blog.

It may not sound much interesting to some of you but in times like this it’s important to find what works for you best and to stick to it as hard as you can. And while I do all of the above I keep myself connected to others, avoiding as much as possible unnecessary content on social media and over watching the news. I am sure that great things are going to come out of these strange times that we are all living in, allowing us all to take a step to the side and value everything we have to start over smarter, more organized and humble than ever. Today I’m grateful to be part of a community that has known how to adapt to difficult times and that takes care of all the others that are going through the same difficulties.

I wish everyone a positive, hopeful and healthy road ahead.

Yours Marta Navarrete Villalba

Marta Navarrete Villalba joined the Bayerisches Junior Ballett München as a Trainee in September 2012 and was promoted to corps de ballet dancer with the Bayerisches Staatsballett in July 2014 and has since been a member of the ensemble. On her blog  www.dpuntillas.com she writes in Spanish about ballet, fitness and cooking recipes. 

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