For this dancer, getting vaccinated means a return to her troupe

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As more and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and the state reopens, KCRW asked listeners who have received their shots: How are you living differently now?

For Oakland resident Jenni Bregman, getting vaccinated meant she could rehearse with her dance troupe again.

“I dance for a company called Printz Dance Project. And two weeks before the first shelter-in-place order, we kicked off developing our big show for the season with a residency at the Kennedy Center in DC.”

Spoiler alert: It was canceled, and she hasn’t been able to dance with her team since.

“No amount of Zoom calls can replace the experience of developing and performing a dance work in person,” she said. “The process requires a physical and emotional closeness that I definitely took for granted before the pandemic. The ability to match energies, to dance close, to partner, embrace, and lift one another. It's really an endeavor of intimacy. And I have missed it so much.”

Jenni Bregman and her dance troupe rehearsing in Mill Valley. Photo courtesy of Bregman.

A year later, she’s taking her first steps back to in-person dancing. Her group can’t do a big project for a theater audience, but they can take on smaller, outdoor shows. Right now, they’re preparing for an outdoor performance in Mill Valley through Neighborhood Stories, an event series where local professional performers bring their artistry to their hometown blocks.

The first few runs of their number were bumpy.

“We expected to be a little bit physically tired, but I didn't expect to have my memory be so rusty,” she said. “Normally, we make quick decisions, we put moves together and decide where to stand. And then right away, we repeat, and it's all there. But we kept finding ourselves forgetting the thing that we just decided to do.”

She said it’s a muscle that needs to be retooled, but that’s okay because everyone in her group was in the same boat. They could laugh about it and help each other.

“It was so joyous,” she said.