COVID-19: No Limitation to an Artist’s Expression

Dancer Moritz Zavan Stoeckle believes that the limitations imposed by the pandemic can be seen as a possibility to find other means of expression.

What is your job?

I am a dancer.

Yes, but what do you do for living?

This has often been a typical conversation for people working in the performing arts industry. Now, more than ever, I am seeing how artists and professionals in the performing arts industry are trying to make people understand that they are workers as well; and in need of even more assistance than workers from other sectors.

My name is Moritz, and I have a double career in the performing arts. I work as a dancer, as well as a light designer and technical director for theatrical productions. During this COVID-19 period, I was meant to work for several productions in Malta, England, and Italy.

Needless to say, everything got at first postponed, and then, either postponed again, or cancelled. As a freelancer, always juggling with my calendar, I am really worried about the fact that my income has stopped at the moment. Not only that, but I will most probably lose other previously planned job opportunities because of clashing dates.

Coping with the paperwork has also brought its challenges. As I had some problems with my NACE code, unfortunately I did not receive any supplement as yet. But I live in hope that things will be sorted out soon. And that the government will understand how problematic it is, and will be, for the performing arts industry to re-invent itself.

On a positive note anyway, I have to admit that it is inspiring to see how this challenging period is pushing workers in the performing arts sector to group up, and find interesting new solutions. I am experiencing this in Malta, where new collectives, or associations are emerging, trying to find new ideas to put up performances and collaborations that do not require proximity.

Video is obviously the first approach. It is interesting to see how it  is developing. From recorded performances, artists started trying trying their hand at the live stream of events, but it soon became clear that there is not enough speed for that.

Now, more and more artists are understanding that video is a tool, and not the product. I, myself, participated in Kwarta Kwarantina, organised by Teatru Malta, an open call to push artists to start using this very important tool. I now have been asked to participate in another video project for the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. And I am really looking forward to see which other projects will arise.

Because for artists, limitations, should be seen as possibility to find other means of expression.