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*Special Feature* Ex-pupil Blog - Shannon Connolly

In comparison to a lot of friends and family, my lockdown experience during the Covid-19 outbreak has been a pretty positive one. For starters, it has meant I can return to dance classes virtually and get to speak to my friends I used to dance with on a regular basis through catch ups during live tone classes and whilst watching previous dance shows. When I finished university I was hoping to return to a few dance classes at Attitude, however I ended up finding work in Birmingham and therefore unfortunately couldn’t return to classes as I had hoped; lockdown has meant that I can return to classes on a regular basis which I have really enjoyed!

During lockdown I have been placed on and off furlough and therefore have had a lot of spare time on my hands, to keep sane, I have been trying to keep in a good routine. My weekdays are normally made up of taking part in online short courses run for free by various universities, a lunchtime tone class with my housemate Rachel (available on Attitude’s YouTube page or via the new subscription service) and an evening fitness class in the garden that me and my housemates organise together. My housemate Beggs has also enjoyed keeping fit with the Tipsy Tone Class on Wednesday evenings which is always a good laugh! Going to dance classes at Attitude when I was younger really helped me to get through stressful moments in my life, be this family situations, close ones being unwell or even just school exams, so at worrying times like these, being able to still partake in dance lessons virtually has been really helpful and I hope it has for all of you too.

I live in a shared house with six other people and share a garden with my neighbours (a house of 10 people), so I have been really fortunate in getting to spend lockdown with a great group of friends for which we have all tried to make the best out of lockdown. We go on daily walks together and create regular weekend events for us to enjoy such as BBQs, birthday parties and mini at-home festivals to give us a sense of normal in such strange times. Whilst it has been hard being apart from my family, friends and partner, lockdown has meant I have kept in touch with these people on a much more regular basis via zoom, facetime etc. and I hope that after lockdown we continue to stay in touch just as much.

Staying in touch with the dance girls over lockdown has been awesome. Normally I would come back to Milton Keynes a few times a year to see them and have to try and catch up on their lives in one night, but now we are in regular contact with each other and it feels like I am back in the group even though I am living in Birmingham. What should have been show weekend in particular felt really strange as it’s the one weekend a year where everyone is back together at the theatre helping put on the annual dance show. Me and the other ex-pupils have all been a part of the annual dance show since we were tiny and have continued to come back and help out even though most of us have now left for various reasons such as university, work and relocating. We don’t know for sure yet when exactly this years’ show, The Wind in the Willows, will go ahead but I can’t wait for us all to be back in the theatre together again!

I hope everyone at Attitude and their families are keeping well, feels like we’re coming to the end of lockdown now, so fingers crossed for more positive times ahead! I also want to say a big thank you to Kelly and all the other teachers at Attitude for keeping the dance school up and running online! Keep dancing everyone, even if it is from your living room or bedroom!

All the best, Shannon xxx

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