Black dancers struggle to make their way through pandemic

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The Washington Post

Nikesha Elise Williams | 14 February 2021

After more than 10 years performing in traveling shows and in local theaters, NaTonia Monét fulfilled a lifelong dream last year when she made her Broadway debut in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” For months, she sang, danced and acted in eight shows a week in the role of Alline, Tina Turner’s older sister, who introduced the young Anna Mae Bullock to Ike Turner.

When the pandemic forced Broadway to close in March, Monét didn’t initially panic, confident that it would be temporary. But then one month turned into six, then nine, and now it’s unclear exactly when the big theaters will reopen. “The anxiety of how to survive hit me hard,” she said.

Like thousands of dancers across the country, Monét said she has struggled to find new work and has returned to making comedy Web series with friends and colleagues. But it’s not enough, especially given the high cost of her New York City rent. “I’m not making a living, . . . not how I want to,” Monét said.