In the past months I’ve enjoyed visiting artists and wellbeing practitioners and the places they create in. This is partly because I’m nosy, but also because I love to see how the spaces people work in make them feel and inspire their creativity.
If you are reading this in the future, this is April 2020, so visiting people is a no-go. Adapting my own space to meet my homebound needs, however, is a necessity, and one I have enjoyed getting sorted.
By day I am a mild-mannered book editor. I have been a freelance since the late 1990s, working from home, so from that point of view nothing much has changed. We have a downstairs room that doubles as my study and, with a sofa bed, a guest bedroom. The setup is pretty standard office style, but I like to have my books around me.
My paper diary is essential. I often have a number of things on my mind so I write them down to organize my thoughts. I use color-coding, with red for editorial work, orange for Open Stage Arts, and other colours for FitSteps, family and one for me. I started Open Stage Arts when I realized I didn’t do much that I could categorize as ‘for me’, so I like to see some dark green in the diary these days.
Four times a week I teach a dance fitness class called FitSteps. When I am choreographing new dances it is fine to just push the office chair out of the way and I can cope with the space. Now that I have to do all my exercise from home, I have made a few additions to the room. I have enjoyed taking part in Live Facebook classes, and now keep a yoga mat and weights in the room so I am ready to go. The blue chair was one I recently used in a street dance competition, but it now acts as the necessary accessory for Barre Fitness classes.
Talking of FitSteps, how can I keep my regular participants fit and engaged with the brand? Well, that’s where my dance studio comes in. I say dance studio, I do of course mean the dining room with the table and chairs moved back – which also doubles as my son’s classroom during the week.
It is here, using my state-of-the-art recording setup – two dictionaries and a box of business cards I won’t be needing for a while – that I film routines, tutorials and whole workouts that my FitSteppers can access whenever they want – I usually move the plant and the dog bed first. In a class situation in a real studio or hall there is space to move around, but at home everyone needs to adapt as best they can: there is a lot of diagonal movements that happen in my portrait space.
I don’t need a lot of equipment to do what I like to do: mainly dancing really! But the luxury of being able to do that is made easier by having everything I need close at hand. For me this means having a dedicated (not big) space for each activity. Staying at home is different, but just a few little changes have made it not unbearable.