Shanna began her training at the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble before being accepted to Marymount Manhattan College where she received a BFA in Dance. During her last year of college, she was recruited by Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She spent five seasons with Complexions before joining the Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal in 2019.
We caught up with Shanna to what she’s been up to since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Plans can always change, and finding inspiration right now is all about learning to adapt to the changes"
At the start of all of this the company I am working for, Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal, had to make a tough decision of sending us to Europe for our seven week tour, or not. The agency, and theaters there confirmed that our first stop, Spain, was safe- so we went. While in Spain, the virus counts were doubling daily, at the end of the fourth day we were notified that some shows within the next week were cancelled, and eventually upon completion of setting the stage, and rehearsals even our first show was cancelled. With this we were told we would go home by the end of the weekend. The next day change plans drastically, Spain would be closing its borders and we needed to leave as soon as possible in order to get back to Canada. We drove through the night, and into the next morning to Paris, France hoping to catch the earliest flight back to Montreal. Through diligent work of the company, and possibly a little bit of luck the entire company made it onto the same flight, and we were home the next day. 30 hours of travel, but all safe! We were placed under a mandatory quarantine for 14 days, and we have been “staying home” ever since.
"To stay inspired I am taking ballet class every morning. Complementing this I stretch, and do resistance band exercises"
What were your plans before all of this, and how have they been affected by this pause?
The original plan before all of this was to be performing in Europe. Spain, France, Serbia, Italy, and Switzerland. The effect of this pause is world-wide, and experiencing it from different countries confirms the toll this is placing on the world at large. After this tour we were supposed to begin a new creation, have a company gala, and another tour to Israel. All have been postponed. We project to start work again in June.
I have to keep moving! To stay inspired I am taking ballet class every morning. Many classes are offered but currently I am taking classes with Jae Man Joo (NYC). Complementing this I stretch, and do resistance band exercises. Aside from dance, I am choosing to revisit learning anatomy of Pilates, and the Spanish language. I have to make sure to get outside, because I am 100% solar powered. I draw, catch up with friends, or cook, and my boyfriend is teaching me meditations. I also really like to just lay on the floor- it is healthy to rest!
Plans can always change, and finding inspiration right now is all about learning to adapt to the changes. Whether we are experiencing a pandemic, or not, I think what is most important is to know that each day we have a choice to practice how we react to the evolving world around us. If an emotion you are experiencing will not help, release it from your thoughts.
Shanna will be teaching an Advance Ballet Master Class for NJDTE Sunday May 3rd, 10:30AM!