With the arts organization's season on hold, Columbus Monthly checked in with the dancer on how she is adapting to her new normal.

Last March, BalletMet dancer Rachael Parini’s season ended abruptly due to the pandemic, but she has spent her time since then working out at home and encouraging more dialogue about Black dancers in the world of ballet through her Instagram account, @chocolateandtulle. —Peter Tonguette

BalletMet actually sent us marley, which is that thick, rubbery floor dancers use. That was one of the nicest surprises of quarantine. That made working on ballet technique a lot easier. It also made me realize how quickly [dancing] leaves your body. Ordinarily in the summer, we only have two or three months off at the most. It’s a lot of time to not be active, but you can’t let yourself completely go and just not do anything because you know when you’re supposed to be revving back up. Whereas with this, I don’t think I have gone this long without any real activity since I quit ballet and went to college.

 

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I had had this idea for a while to start something talking more about experiences as, not even just specifically a Black dancer but any minority dancer. There are still so many things that people who’ve never felt that way, or never had to think of it that way, don’t know: all the challenges that go along with having diversity in ballet. You’re still one of one or one of two. I’m trying to keep people from being discouraged by it. My sister ended up quitting ballet because she was discouraged and it just wasn’t worth it for her anymore. I hated that, because she was better than I am.

Sometimes rehearsal days don’t feel like the most exciting thing in the world. But I would give anything in the world to spend three months in the studio working on something.

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