Creating new dance works during a global pandemic is like diving head first into uncharted waters. The usual moorings of working in ample space and collaborating with dancers in a studio are suddenly stripped away. For Beth Terwilleger, choreographer of “A Headlamp or Two,” her creative process was further challenged by how the COVID-19 crisis affected her mental health.
“Shortly before the start of the pandemic, I was diagnosed with severe PTSD, caused by a deep trauma from my past that was never dealt with,” Beth revealed. “I powered through it all of my life, thinking I was strong…[yet] powering through mental health problems is not the strong solution.”
“Often in the dance world, at least in my experience, we are taught to power through pain, both emotional and physical. However, dance has been an incredible tool to allow me to let go of my walls and be fearless with my emotions. It has been a home for me to release that which has been bottled up. This pandemic has made that creative release, and my platform for powering through, much more difficult to achieve.”
Despite the uncertainties Beth felt heading into this project, she found that the artistic process was possible with the help of her collaborators and the unwavering support of SDC.
“I encourage anyone who needs support for their mental and emotional health to reach out during this time,” added Beth. “I feel we all might need it right now.