Ballet in a box: iso-ballet, lockdown, and the reconstruction of the domestic space

Paul Atkinson, Michelle Duffy, Joanne Ailwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the principal mitigation strategies were physical distancing and the dramatic restriction of socializing with others. The absence of live performances meant arts institutions had to reconsider their relationship with audiences and thoroughly rethink what they do. While many institutions uploaded videos of past performances, some dance companies created new performances specifically for online media that have provided an opportunity for dancers to remain active and visible during the COVID lockdowns. We borrow the term iso-dance to collectively refer to these performances, a term that succinctly invokes both the medium (dance) and the conditions under which the performance is conducted (isolation). We examine how performances of ballet dancers from professional companies were informed by the home environment. We propose the examination of iso-ballet helps us understand relationships between video, bodily movement and the particular affordances of the home, as well as invite us to question the ways we inhabit and constitute places through creative, bodily practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-426
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • ballet
  • choreography
  • home
  • movement
  • COVID-19 lockdown
  • site-specific dance

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