A Del Mar-based dancer has been using her company, Aurora Skirts, to provide instruction and other resources to dancers and artists who have been out of work due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Now, with what’s going on, pretty much everyone that I’ve worked with, all the artists, they’re out of a job,” said Sophie Williams, who grew up in Del Mar and has traveled all over the country as a professional dancer. “No one can perform with this current situation.”
Through social media, she’s been posting instructional and other dance-themed videos to provide a resource for dancers, who will be locked out of their studios for the foreseeable future because of shelter-in-place and other public health orders. Many of them were preparing for upcoming seasons that are now canceled.
The Aurora Skirts video project is called “Ballet in the Time of Coronavirus.” A blog post on the company website announcing the project says that “it is more important than ever to continue to support each other and create in our beautiful artform, to keep ballet alive.”
Dancers from San Francisco Ballet, Wiener Staatsaballett, National Ballet of Canada, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston Ballet, Colorado Ballet and other companies have been involved in the videos, Williams said. The virtual classes, which have been going on for almost two months, teach ballet, pointe barre, pilates and other related topics.
“I’ve had some livestream at least once or twice every day providing content out there so people can have access to know more about ballet,” Williams said.
Videos are streamed on the company’s Instagram account, and they’re available for later viewing on other social media platforms as well.
Growing up in Del Mar, Williams’ early dance experience included training at Ballet Arte in Solana Beach. She started Aurora Skirts in May 2017, after she began making skirts while touring with dance companies.
“I ended up starting a business out of that and it grew from there,” she added.
Over the years, she built a customer base in Ohio, Virginia and other states where she’s danced.
Aurora Skirts is also coordinating career mentoring sessions to help guide dancers through an uncertain time in their careers.
“If they’re a dancer, they can have a supportive environment where they can have free mentoring and all of that during this struggle at the moment,” Williams said.
For more information about the company, visit auroraskirts.com. To view the videos, visit the company’s Instagram account @auroraskirts.