Sveta Backhaus performing a Ballet Folklorico dance from the region of Jalisco, Mexico for the Spring 2019 performance at Moving Arts Espanola. Courtesy photo
BY CARMELITA R. ARCHULETA
As the COVID-19 pandemic races through the minds of New Mexican’s, Moving Arts Espanola is thinking of their students who are stuck at home. Many students at Moving Arts Espanola are homeschooled and Moving Arts is their home away from home. While these students and mentors are stuck at home, we reached out to them and learned they are continuing to practice their skills during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Sveta Backhaus and her sister Anya have been participants at Moving Arts for the past 10 years and are now mentors that assist with teaching classes. During their time quarantined at home they have been working outside in their family garden cultivating new crops, composting and weeding the garden, but are missing their Moving Arts family tremendously.
When asked about what Sveta misses most from Moving Arts she said, “I miss teaching Folklorico and Creative Ballet the most, but I love and miss all of my classes. I love teaching the young students and sharing my knowledge of dance with them. Anya misses teaching Intro to Singing, because she loves small children and loves to hear their little voices.” Both ladies assist with classes five days throughout the week and have been great assets to the program.
Moving Arts is a semester-based program in which students enroll for a certain amount of weeks and end the semester with a performance. There are scheduled breaks between semesters, however, the quarantine has caused an extra break for students who love and rely on the program. Sean Pierce, a student who is currently registered in five classes said, “Because we choose to spend so much time at MAE, it feels a little empty, like that feeling in between semesters. We are involved in a lot of other stuff, but my classes at Moving Arts Espanola are something that I especially love and they are important to me.” This semester, Sean is enrolled in, Singing, Keyboard, Fiber Arts, Cooking and Drama which had him at Moving Arts five days per week.
Sveta said, “Life without dance is very difficult for me. I’ve never stopped dancing since I started. I immediately fell in love with it and never want to let go. It is very difficult to not be able to dance and practice with a teacher and I miss having the opportunity to dance almost every single day of the week.” Her sister Anya mentioned that she continues to practice from home and seeks perfection in all she does. Both Sveta and Anya are typically seen before their classes practicing and honing their skills. Although the closure has them stuck at home they are happy to continue to try to learn from home and master what they have already been taught. The dedication and perseverance that these students show cannot be taught or forced. They are proud of the art that they create and are not willing to let a quarantine stop them from being passionate about the skills that bring them joy
Due to the closure, Moving Arts is not sure at this time how the semester will end and whether or not there will be an end of semester performance. Ethan Pierce, Sean’s brother stated, “I feel like we will be missing out if we do not get to do the end of semester performance and that is something I really look forward to each semester!”