Despite Coronavirus, 25-year-old award-nominated actor Beaux Harris continues to dance her way through lockdown and is encouraging others to keep going through her Instagram page and online dance classes, suitable for all age groups.
Beaux was recently shortlisted for an Off-West End Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for her role as air raid siren Elsie/Dance Captain in Lionel Bart’s Blitz! directed by Phil Willmott, which ran at the Union Theatre in Southwark last year.
Since then, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, she taught and choreographed for a number of highly regarded dance and performing arts institutions across the UK, including at The Urdang Academy and Momentum Performing Arts Academy. Beaux is now concentrating on motivating those wishing to take up a career in the performing arts:“The clouds will clear one day and until then we just have to keep going and keep creating in the waiting”, she says. “We have to keep recognising what made us initially drawn to this profession and how important it is that we keep fighting for its survival. After all, the alternative would be a world full of suffering without the arts and creativity. That would be one hell of a scary place. Let’s keep filling it up with our light.”
During the first national lockdown, Beaux joined forces with ‘Magnetic Movement’ (Now ‘Magnetic Studios’), a wonderful online collective of artists offering free dance classes during the isolation period, praised by ‘The Stage’ in April 2020. Beaux ran free online tap dance classes through Magnetic Movement and Capezio London, part of the #CAPEZIOATHOME movement and would choreograph and share her new routines regularly, both as a reference point for those taking her classes, but also as a way of developing her own choreographic voice in addition to providing essential performance art for the general public. She has also taken part in an online collaboration video featuring the Blitz! 2020 Union Theatre cast to honour the life of Dame Vera Lynn (June, 2020) and performed alongside guest singer Kerry Ellis in The Singers Space Cabaret last August. One of her most memorable times over the past year was assisting director Phil Willmott as Associate Director for Hamlet On The Beach which ran at Rotherhithe Beach last summer. Beaux explains: “We managed to produce a free, outdoor, Covid-safe production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the aim of making theatre accessible again in these harsh times, in particular for those who may be struggling and just needed an evening of free entertainment. It was very successful. Audiences were desperate for theatre and Rotherhithe Beach provided the perfect backdrop for Hamlet. It was a magical experience; I will never forget working with those actors as we fought to keep theatre alive while we could still perform at that time.”
Beaux also volunteered as an extra for a short promotional film Grief Encounter for a bereavement charity, and choreographed for A Christmas Carol (Free Theatre UK, December 2020), an open air Covid-safe production that unfortunately, like so many other shows, closed due to government restrictions. The show was produced by www.freetheatreuk.com which was founded by Artistic Director Phil Willmott 17 years ago with the aim of providing free, exciting theatre accessible for all. Willmott is inspired by the work of Joseph Papp who founded Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, an open-air theatre in New York City’s Central Park. Over the years Willmott and his dedicated team have produced productions in locations including at The Scoop, an amphitheatre adjacent to City Hall London, where he mounted 25 free multi award-winning family shows and bold revivals of world classics to an audience of over 350,000 people, and in Hoxton, where he most notably produced a popular free production of Great Expectations to wide acclaim on the front lawn of the Geffrye Museum.
“Everyone worked so hard on A Christmas Carol, but Lockdown 2 came into force and sadly it was pulled,” explains Beaux. “It was devastating.”
Later on this year, if permitted and restrictions are lifted, she plans to continue with her current directing project; an independent short film, Eternity exploring themes of contemporary loss, love and marriage. “It’s a terrific script written by actor Eleanor Griffiths, and we were all set to film last December in a house in Norfolk when unfortunately, the area went into Tier 4. Then of course the full lockdown came in. Filming is on hold for now and while we wait some of us have suffered loss and real mental health setbacks, but we continue to push through; it’s something positive to work towards and I know that we’ll be back together again one day soon. I can’t wait for that day.”
Having discovered new ways of working, Beaux hopes to carry on lifting up and inspiring those in the business to keep going through her teaching: “Whether you are just starting out or simply looking for inspiration and creative tuition, I am an experienced teacher and emerging choreographer/director who can instruct all age groups and create a safe and nurturing space for all types of glorious artists. Ideal for schoolchildren stuck at home right now and in need of an escape and area of focus. Group and Private classes take place on Zoom. Dancing is a terrific way to release positive endorphins in the body and mind, making us feel happier and healthier. It’s great for our mental health.”
Beaux’s message to anyone starting out in the arts who might be feeling overwhelmed or anxious is to “Stick with it, particularly if you find it brings so much joy. We can and will get through this together. Keep being brave.”
Anyone wishing to inject some positivity into their life should contact Beaux for private or group dance tuition/online theatrical workshops through her Instagram account on: @BeauxHarris or directly by email on firstname.lastname@example.org