During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Vancouver Presents continues to check in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.

Today we check in with Richmond-born dance artist and choreographer Emily Chessa.

Emily recently appeared in a video from quarantine for David Beckingham‘s new song Plastic Wings. The song is the first of a collection of upcoming material Beckingham is currently crafting for his yet-to-be-named sophomore solo release.

1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?

Tapping into areas I normally wouldn’t nor have time to explore, like painting and video editing.

2. What’s the one thing getting you through?

Boxed wine.

3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?

Scheduled FaceTimes or outdoor park hangs.

4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?

To take more time to slow down.

5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?

My health.

6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?

Jump rope.

7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?

Acceptance.

8. What have you missed the most?

Dancing/working in a studio with my colleagues and friends.

9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.

Have boxed wine, and be kind to others.

10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.

33 acres of sunshine.

11. What have you stockpiled?

Canned tuna.

12. What have you been reading?

Re-reading the Harry Potter series.

13. What have you been watching?

The Office.

14. What have you been listening to?

Women of the ’90s (Whitney Huston).

15. What are you doing for exercise?

Yoga, online ballet class, and walks around the neighbourhood.

16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?

My partner.

17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?

Natural.

18. Night owl or early riser?

Night owl.

19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?

At this point, I’ve been doing more things as restrictions are gradually lifted.

20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?

Hug all my friends and family I haven’t been able to!

Meet Emily Chessa

From Richmond, Emily began her professional dance training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 2006, where she received the Arnold Spohr Scholarship and the Paddy Stone Scholarship for choreography.

After graduating from the school in 2010, she trained at Arts Umbrella in the graduate program under the guidance of Artemis Gordon. She participated in summer programs such as the Movement Invention Project in New York and Springboard Danse Montreal.

Joining Ballet BC in 2012, she has performed works by many world-renowned choreographers, including Emily Molnar, Company 605, Johan Inger, Lesley Telford, Medhi Walerski, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal.

She herself has choreographed for dance schools around the lower mainland and closely with Arts Umbrella’s professional program.

She has performed around the world during her time with Ballet BC on stages, including The Joyce and Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Sadler’s Wells in London, Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts, NAC in Ottawa, Germany, and the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Emily is currently working in the Netherlands, joining the company Nederlands Dans Theater as a dancer.