The bleak memory of lockdown is one full of restrictions, us having to give up the things we love or resort to doing them over a screen. This had a prominent impact on the arts, dance in particular, which requires large open spaces, and student-teacher interaction. Surely a screen would be necessary, my former ballet teacher thinks not. 

Fiona Avenalle is an excellent example of how a passion can continue throughout a difficult time, innovatively at that. 

For Fiona Avenalle, like for us all, lockdown was difficult. Being so used to teaching most days and meeting her students regularly was something she missed dearly. 

But, despite this, every week Ms Avenalle would phone her friend in Bath over a landline and practise ballet together, informing each other of the music prior and playing them on cassettes.  

“We had practised together before lockdown, so I could visualise her movements as we danced.” Not only this, but everyday without fail, Ms Avenalle would teach a ballet class, as if the students were there. Go through what would have been tasks for a class, and practise for herself. 

This proves, an immaculate camera setup isn’t necessary to maintain connection with friends, and a landline will suffice. And even a small interaction once a week, can make one nostalgic of times before lockdown.

When asked why she didn’t make the transition to using a laptop or communicating online she responds “It wouldn’t have been the same, and technology has never appealed to me.” 

Fiona Avenalle has been a ballet teacher for over 30 years, and when asked where the passion started she immediately says “it was the music. I was watching my sister’s ballet class aged only two and...danced the second it played.” So losing something so consistent in a life would have been even more difficult. 

Ms Avenalle, only this week, has begun teaching again, “and what a joy it has been.”  

As the restrictions ease, it is important not to forget the time passed. To emphasise those who despite their situation, managed to find small yet impactful solutions to their “new normal."