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In Italy, ‘Io Resto a Casa,’ but Still I Dance | Press "Enter" to skip to content

In Italy, ‘Io Resto a Casa,’ but Still I Dance

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Seventy of the 90 La Scala dancers are full-time employees, a spokesman for the theater, Paolo Besana, said in email. The remaining 20 are on short-term contracts. But even they are being paid, at least for now. (Smaller theaters can’t afford to do the same.) La Scala too will suffer: Mr. Besana said the theater’s losses from ticket receipts amount to about a million euros a week.

For Mr. Messina, the days have taken on a certain routine. Dog walking is a highlight. “I take the dogs out, and then I do an hour on the treadmill, then some stretching and core exercises,” he said. “It’s hard to do a barre in a small space, but I do my best. Then after lunch a short nap, and then I take out the dogs again.”

Ms. Daskalova, 24, a Bulgarian performer who has been in Italy for two years, studies dance, singing and acting at the Musical Academy Milano, a school affiliated with the Teatro Nazionale in Milan. When the theater closed, she was dancing in the ensemble of a production of “Singing in the Rain.”

Suddenly she found herself confined to her tiny apartment in central Milan with no job, no income and no classes to attend. She considered going home to Sofia, where her family lives, but was afraid of bringing the virus with her. So she stayed. She has enough savings to keep her going for about a month.

After two weeks, the school began to hold online classes. Nadia Scherani, a former dancer and actress who teaches there, uses the platform Zoom, which allows her to see all of her students onscreen at the same time.

In her small home studio outside of Milan, equipped with a barre and mirrors, Ms. Scherani demonstrates the exercises, and then watches her students as they execute them in whatever small space they have devised in their own apartments. (She has also added yoga to her daily teaching routine to help with her students’ — and her own — mental health.)


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