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Ideas to keep you culturally engaged during coronavirus confinement

The Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, in New York, before it canceled the remainder of the 2019–20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, in New York, before it canceled the remainder of the 2019–20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. © AFP (file photo)

You’re cooped up at home. Restless. Bored. It’s springtime and sunny and all you want to do is go outside, but you can’t. Don’t despair. There is a world at the other end of your internet connection and in it are plenty of ways to keep yourself active, both physically and mentally.

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Here’s a sampling:

DANCE:

Now that you’ve binge-watched every TV show on your list, you need to get yourself off your couch and mingle – virtually, of course – with other people. How can you do that? Join an internet dance party. Austin-based Mel Cavaricci, known as DJ Mel, blew up the web last week with his Living Room Dance Party, streamed live on Facebook. “Put away the hand sanitizer, move the furniture, and tune in!” he posted on social media. More than a million people did. Lucky for us, there’s another one tonight, March 21, and every Saturday going forward, starting at midnight CET*.  

DJ Mel isn’t the only DJ throwing parties. Lady Gaga’s former backup dancer Mark Kanemura is hosting one daily on his Instagram page at 11 pm CET*. If you can’t make it at the appointed hour, he keeps each day’s party up for 24 hours in his story (click on “Live Video”), which also includes videos that people have sent in of themselves dancing along with him – some in costume.

Kanemura dances on camera so you can follow along, but if you want to go freeform and need better moves, well, there’s a live stream for that, too. Emmy and Tony Award-winning Debbie Allen, who both choreographed and acted in the TV series “Fame” gave a free dance class on her Instagram page, which is still accessible, and has one for kids planned for 7 pm CET March 21. Hopefully there will be more.

MUSIC

Set up your speakers: There is an online concert for every musical taste. This is an amazing time for lovers of classical music, because nearly every major philharmonic orchestra has a virtual offering, whether live or recorded.

The Berliner Philharmoniker is offering a voucher code to allow fans to access all the concerts and films in its Digital Concert Hall for free. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra is broadcasting concerts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday; the Budapest Festival Orchestra has launched a Quarantine Soirées series with new offerings every evening at 7:45 pm CET* and starting Monday, the Paris Philharmonic will broadcast a nightly concert at 8:30 pm*.

There’s something for opera lovers too. The National Opera of Paris has put performances online and you can watch a new Metropolitan Opera performance each day on its website.

Here and here are more extensive lists of classical music and opera events available online.

If your tastes are more contemporary, check out the #TogetherAtHome virtual concert series being hosted on the Instagram page of Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organization.

John Legend, Hozier and Chris Martin have already taken part. L Devine is having a URL Tour and Jewel will be performing a “Live From San Quarantine” concert today at 8 pm ET (1 am March 22 CET) on her Facebook and Instagram pages. Christine and the Queens is performing every night at 6 pm CET from a Paris recording studio – in part to fight her own boredom. She’s streaming the sessions on her Instagram page.

An updating list of upcoming concerts can be found here.

VISUAL ARTS

Now is the time to visit all those museums you’ve always wanted to see – virtually, of course. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid reminds would-be visitors that “the museum remains open online”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is inviting people to “Experience the Met, Anywhere,” The Louvre is offering its usual online tours and the Chateau de Versailles virtual exhibitions. Or take a 5-hour one-take video tour of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. That’ll while away an afternoon.

Most of these museums and many more are accessible through the Google Arts and Culture app or website.

Not happy with your virtual exhibition visits? Soon you’ll be able to curate your own. The non-profit group Art UK is in the process of making public its online database of every publicly owned oil painting and sculpture and will invite people to put together their own online shows – in much the way that Spotify allows one to build playlists. Sadly, the tool won’t be ready until May.  

None of this suit your fancy? Check out #dostuffathome on Twitter for more ideas.

* Keep in mind that the clocks in Europe move forward on March 29.

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