Like the rest of the creative landscape, the dancing industry is currently suffering from the impact of COVID-19. Despite the dark cloud that is hovering overhead of many dancers and their companies, there is a beacon of light – or two, that are attempting to help.
Prestigious ballerina Misty Copeland and former colleague Joseph Phillips have launched an initiative to help the ballet community with the effects of the worldwide halt that has been placed on the entertainment industry. Launched on 6th May, Swans For Relief is aiming to raise funds for various dance companies across the globe through enlisting 32 ballerinas from 14 different countries to participate in an isolation performance of Le Cygne from Swan Lake.
The video features the chosen ballerinas in their homes gracefully performing the famous choreography by Michel Fokine with the hope to move people enough to donate to support dancers who are currently struggling financially. Stretching from Russia to Cuba, the dancers are aiming to raise $500,000, and at the time of writing have already reached an impressive $221,240 in 10 days.
Some of the participants include Francesca Hayward from the Royal Ballet and freelance hijabi ballerina Stephanie Kurlow. Hailing from Australia, Kurlow says, "I am so honoured to be a part of SwansForRelief with such a talented and beautiful group of ballerinas." To be recognised by Copeland is an honour for many ballerinas, even more so when the cause is so meaningful to the entire dancing community.
Through the use of The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the funds raised will be distributed in multiple grants globally. According to their website EIF 'serves as a gateway to giving for the entertainment industry, creating and supporting groundbreaking campaigns that raise awareness and funds for issues that affect millions of people around the world.'
It is a necessary time to support, if able to, the industry which many spend their lifetimes training to join.
By Niamh Rooney
Feature image courtesy of Misty Copeland Instagram
Video courtesy of Swans For Relief Youtube channel