Occupying Yourself During Lockdown – is Running Safe at Night?

Image by pexels

Another lockdown has greeted us in the early days of the new year. Yes, we all expected better. We all hoped for a new year to be a new start, a new way of thinking, of succeeding, of being a healthier country, particularly with the new vaccine coming our way. But here we are, stamped and trapped in yet another lockdown. 

But what is the point being sad? Feeling downtrodden over all the things you wished you could be doing. We must remember that we are all on the same boat, sailing towards the same destination. So, why don’t we make use of this time? Get creative? Write, draw, run, dance, create?

Well, running is the one for me. I picked it up recently in hopes of that superior runner’s high that the fitness world seems to sell as the most amazing feeling ever. I have experienced it a couple of times and, yes, it is bliss. But the run is rather torturous in the daytime. This is why I choose to run at night, admittedly, I have been judged for choosing this time. As a girl, my parents are always slightly concerned when I hit the track in the evening. I crave that night air. That fresh, cool winter’s gust. I don’t intend to leave late but being confined in the winters unkind cycle, the darkness usually descends around four o’clock. The perfect time for an icy jog. That gentle splash of rain from the clouds to liven your footing as you careen through those painful concrete paths. It is one of the things I enjoy about the winter. 

But it’s the journey home that actually matters. The journey home that justifies it all.

Girls are the most common subjects for harassment with 81% claiming they have been assaulted or cat called while a smaller 43% of men have according to a survey by Stop Street Harassment in 2018. So, there is no doubt that both women and men do experience some forms of street harassment. 

What would it be like without that? Bliss?

What would one do with oneself if they were completely free, not turning around every second to see if someone is following, not stopping in a crowded street to feel safer, not checking your phone or calling a friend to tell them that you’re safe. Or the complete bliss of wearing two earphones and not having to pluck one out to hear if there are any noises behind you. 

Things need to change, change well and change now. No woman, or man for that matter, should ever be subjugated to any kind of harassment. Every single person should be able to walk home, dressed how they desire, listening to music as loud as they want and taking the most back street and scenic routes to their home, safe in the knowledge that they would never even have an eye on them. 

The thought that walking back to your own home from your local park can be considered dangerous because its night-time is horrendous. The night should be just as safe as the daytime, just as welcoming as any bright summer’s day. 

Maybe saying that all we can do is rely on the kindness of strangers is a rather sour thought to end on. Maybe telling you to get some lessons in Krav Maga or Taekwondo is not the smartest advice. All I can say is, if you feel safe enough to travel at night, by all means go, go feel that icy break on your cheeks, the thrill of the cool air and the rush of the runner’s high. I sure have seen enough women in the park to feel safe enough to simply jog around it. 

Treat this lockdown as a new start, a new way of believing in yourself, believing in your achievements and your strength to endure, even if a night run is a bad start for you, drawing on your courage in other ways is always a positive place to begin. 

So, I’ll leave you with this: Take life in small steps now, don’t hurt yourself with too much pressure. Keep yourself calm and healthy and safe. Worry about small things, nothing that is out of your control, and challenge yourself with anything that will improve you. I hope I can be one to say, I have been improved after this lockdown, and I hope you can too. 

By Maria Benseler-Reid

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

COVID On The Dancefloor

Image by Chessie Dowdeswell

Let’s be honest: Online lectures never stood a chance of matching up to the real thing. That screen is a barrier between you, a couple blank screens, people eating in their pyjamas and – of course – your lecturer. Have you ever thought about how other students doing other degrees are finding this new normal? How about the lecturers? Subjects where you would be mostly sat down anyway are much easier to replicate than ones where you need to be up and about. So how are dancers adapting to online teaching?

Siân Hopkins trained at the Legat School of Dance, worked professionally in the industry and has been teaching around the world since 2012. Now she is one of the many university lecturers having to alter her teaching methods to fit the online atmosphere.

Problems and Solutions

The first problem Hopkins identified was delivering the standard teaching possible in person and tailoring it to individuals. Due to the huge reduction in contact between student and teacher, Hopkins says it’s harder to build a rapport with students and understand their goals. She says the answer to this is patience.
“Patience is a must. Patience with yourself and patience with the people you will be working alongside.”

Along with this, being unable to physically be together means that dancers cannot experience the energy that comes with dancing as a group. It is more difficult to provide corrections when a teacher cannot physically adjust positions, see the full dancer if they travel away from the camera’s view and pick up on whether or not the students are grasping the content. It’s very easy for students to mentally disconnect from lectures.
“Dancing together online can help you feel like you are in a community with gallery view, but having multiple boxes on your screen also makes it harder to follow the movement if you are unsure! So you can easily get lost and not participate.”

Classwork has also been adapted to fit the small spaces students have. There is an emphasis on safety and awareness when students could easily break things or hurt themselves. Along with the lack of room, it is also more difficult to pick up moves from a 2D figure in a screen. Even using terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ can cause confusion.
“The thumbs up is now something I dread! I want voices and motion… but on zoom a thumbs up makes sense.”

Extra Hours

Translating dance teaching from in person to online takes more time than you would expect. Some of the extra tasks include:

  • Creating class content for 5-10 week blocks
  • Creating, editing and uploading videos demonstrating and talking through the material
  • Teaching class online and in person at the same time (absolute madness for splitting your concentration)
  • Reviewing every assessment method and making alterations to how assessments are presented
  • Moving all performances and presentations online for safety
  • Performance without a visible audience

“For practical technique classes, exercises worked on could be interchangeable and spontaneously thrown out and reimagined whilst getting inspired by the students in the room with you. Now, for ease of learning online, we have created class content to be learned and disseminated via videos as well as online / studio class.”

The Students

Sophie Ellis Bextor must be happy because this year has prompted more and more kitchen discos. Unfortunately, kitchens were designed for cooking and not safely performing contemporary dance. Lots of students have been struggling to find the space to dance. Swinging your legs and arms around could end badly if you lose concentration on your surroundings.

However, Hopkins said the hardest thing to find (as a student and a lecturer) is motivation. This is because of the demoralisation dancers feel when they are unable to perform a move in the limited space, pick up the material through the screen or overcome distractions at home.
“I think many dancers often finish a class feeling worse than when they started.”

“For the final year students I think it’s especially hard, because they are feeling the pressure to make the most of what can be offered in these times as this is what they have left of their education.”

“As an industry, dance is a vibrant, communal, physical achievement and enjoyment to share with others. As a world, we are now far from seeing this as normal anytime soon.”

Overall, this pandemic may have affected dancers more than any other type of student. We should all give our lecturers a pat on the back for the extra work they’ve put in to teach us this year. We’re all dreaming of the day when we can attend all classes in person again and leave these online days behind us. Until then, keep dancing!

By Chessie Dowdeswell

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

The Cheer Team- Interview with Chairlady, Coach and Events Sec

The Cheer Team is well established part of Team Greenwich. They have many members and are sociable with many other sports teams.

The Crow’s Nest interviewed Chairlady, Yoshie Reza Fuentes, Coach, Hannah Upton and Events Secretary, Danielle Lynn.

Here is what they had to say about their team!

Describe your team in one sentence.

‘Our sports team is very supportive of each other in and out of training.’ -Yoshie

‘I’d say our team had the perfect balance of passion for the sport, trust in the team, and a love for each other as individuals’ – Dani

‘Damn I can’t think of a good one now you’ve taken all the good ones’ – Hannah

Are you exclusive to female members?

‘The team the last few years has been all female but has been coed in the past. It all depends on who comes out for the team’- Yoshie

‘Heck no! We don’t care about gender, race, religion, clothing size or any other form of personla expression!’- Dani

‘Cheer is a universal sports for everyone and anyone! We’re all about inclusivity’- Hannah

Do you have any plans for event coming up in Freshers/ Welcome week?

‘We do! We will be attending BOTH Welcome Fairs. We will also be having our own meet-and-greet where we will be holding a ‘Make a cookie/ Make a Friend’ event! We will also be having a couple of socials and even some early team bonding events! Make sure to check out our Intsgaram for updates! (shameless plug)’ – Dani

What’s your favourite thing about Cheer at Greenwich?

‘Getting all glammed for competitions is really fun, seeing other teams and showing off the work we put in for the whole year is a great feeling’- Yoshie

‘My beautiful friends. There’s a bond that happens when you’re on the team. You have an entire group of people that will support you through everything. There’s a mutual love and respect.’ – Dani

‘It’s like a home away from home! The bond that you create not only on the mat in training, helping each other gain new skills and literally put your life in other’s hands in stunts; but also off the mat in socials!’ – Hannah

Is there a joining fee and what’s it used for?

‘As with all sports teams there is a joining fee, but this depends on what type of member you are. Competition memberships are £60, Varsity memberships are £40 and Social memberships are £20.’ – Yoshie

What makes you a competitive side? (How many competitions do you do? Where? When? etc)

‘We do 2-3 competitions a year. A couple in London at the Copperbox Areana (where we were crowned National Grand Champions), and nationals at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham (where we placed 2nd out of 22nd teams in our division this year).‘ – Yoshie

Where and when do you train?

‘We train in 2 different venues. On Mondays we train at Avery Hill campus 7-10pm, to allow us to use the mirrors in the dance studio to teach choreography, and on Tuesdays we train at Talent Central gym 8-10pm, to allow us to practice on a sprung floor!

You don’t need any prior experience to join the cheer squad’ – Hannah

Do you have a social scene?

‘Yes we do! Every Wednesday we have a team social before going out to Lower Deck (but we have so much more than that!) Even on non-social nights we have cheer out having fun! We like to support other teams by participating in each other’s events and supporting fundraising’ – Dani

As you can see, Greenwich Mermaids are an extremely close and talented group! Don’t hesitate to get involved as much as you want, as all are welcome!

Find their Instagram here: @uog_mermaids

‘WOOOOOO’: Rimini Tour 2k19

Well.

As I crawl my way back into Daniel Defoe after a 22-hour coach journey that spanned 5 countries- my head shaven, my voice ruined, €700-poorer and my pink, zebra-print thong riding up my arse, only one thought runs through my mind, ‘I f**king love tour!’

However much I never want to see a Bacardi Breezer again, I can’t deny that it’s been an incredibly fun week. There’s been drinking, wrestling, drinking, dancing, drinking, pizza, drinking, damage costs and of course, drinking.

It’s been a hell of a scatty week to say the least, I just wish it could’ve gone on for longer. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time on tour, and spending it with some of the loosest people I know definitely made it 10x better.

I can only speak from my own perspective, and only as a rugby fresher on tour. I can’t say too much as ‘what goes on tour stays on tour’, and I’d hate to ruin the experience for anyone else who will be in my position next year. The looming threat of being intoxicated for 5 days straight is enough to put someone off, but all I’ll say is, it is 100% worth it!

The last few days have been a perfect way for me to end my first year at Greenwich, and I’m glad I could spend it with some of, who I now believe to be, my closest friends.

Thank you to everyone who made my first tour so f**king wild, and I can’t wait to hit it harder than ever next year!

I suppose there’s only one thing left to say, ‘WOOOOOO!’

By Mr. Gruffalo 2.0

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.