Adversity brings with it the opportunity for the fruition of new ideas. Despite the worldwide pandemic that we currently find ourselves in, it has created the space and freedom for devising new collaborations and projects from the comfort of our homes that might not have been considered in pre-COVID life.
Through the use of social media, one group which has been continuing with their practice is WyckoffCollective. Based in New York City, Thuy Wyckoff founded the collective in 2018 with the help of Anca Putin and Madelyn Lalonde, now the organisation has become a nine-piece family of dancers.
Celebrating women as influential leaders capable of being at the forefront of the dance industry, WyckoffCollective brings together "high energy and athletic dancers to demonstrate intensity through movement". In 2019, the group performed across America in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey, all while running workshops outside of productions.
Undeterred by recent events, WyckoffCollective have produced an Instagram project. The founder explains where the idea, "I had posted a fun theme on WyckoffCollective and requested people send me their videos, the theme was to dance to your favourite 2000s song! The theme lasted a week, and I got enough posts to create three videos. I wanted to do another theme for the next week since the first one had such a positive outcome. I was brainstorming theme ideas with my dear friend Joy-Marie, the Founder of @issadancelook, and it happened organically that she offered to post the next three videos on the @issadancelook Instagram! So I announced the second theme and edited the videos and sent them to Joy-Marie."
But where did the collaboration stem from? Wyckoff says, "Joy-Marie is my friend who I respect and love – we went to Purchase together – and we have always supported each other in our projects and creations, so the collaboration happened pretty naturally."
One of the must-follow accounts on Instagram for the perfect blend of dance and style is @issadancelook. The account documents the outfits worn in and out of the studio by dancers. With the following count creeping up to 5,000, it begs no question why Wyckoff extended their assignment to the visual archive too.
Joy-Marie Thompson, who founded the style account, explains where the initial idea came from, "I started the account during my senior year as a dance student at SUNY Purchase in 2018, it was a photography project for me. I thought my classmates had amazing style and a unique fashion sense; especially in the dance studio. I took pictures of them, and soon my friends didn't want me to continue hoarding the photos, so the Instagram account was born." Thompson says, "I did this collaboration with WyckoffCollective after the Artistic Director, Thuy Wyckoff came up with the idea. She curated it, and I posted it on the @issadancelook account to giver her account some traffic."
The results were a success, "I think people had a fun time with it as they had the chance to dance with people all over the world, digitally. Artists had said it was nice to see something so positive during such an uncertain time" says Wyckoff.
Building a community during isolating times has been increasingly important, especially in an industry which rarely works alone. Supporting other creatives ventures and coming together to grow audiences is undoubtedly staying in line with Wyckoff's idealogy of celebrating women as leaders.
By Niamh Rooney
Image courtesy of Thuy Wyckoff