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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

We teamed up with Jeté Society to present today’s SUMMER RULES with Adelaide Clauss of The Washington Ballet; the face of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake (which was supposed to be performed in April, but has been postponed until May 2021 due to Covid), she’s been keeping her cool with Hamilton on Disney Plus, rooftop vibes, rosé and more:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison?

The Washington Ballet normally has its off-season during the summer months, so my schedule automatically undergoes a drastic change in summertime. This March, when the COVID-19 pandemic really fully hit nationwide, I hadn’t thought much about possible summer plans. In retrospect, this was probably a good thing, since any plans made in advance wouldn’t really be a possibility now. Obviously, this summer (and all of 2020) is turning out to be something that none of us could have predicted a year ago! Personally, this summer has been a time of adapting, rearranging, rethinking, and learning.

What is your summer shaping up to look like?

Well, there have been many hours spent on ballet at home! When The Washington Ballet stopped working in March, it became obvious pretty quickly that we were all going to have to start dancing at home if we wanted to keep dancing. And let me just say, full-out ballet at home comes with A LOT of challenges. At first, I couldn’t quite believe what I was doing…I went and stayed with my dad in Buffalo for about two months at the beginning of the pandemic and was attempting to pirouette all over his rug. I would occasionally just pause and crack up into laughter at myself. Thankfully, I was able to get some more suitable flooring eventually. I also started a blog back at the end of March called “Dancers Are” that is made up of dancer interviews with ballet colleagues and friends; the blog is an attempt to continue shining a light on ballet in whatever small way I can during this time, and so working on that periodically has factored into this summer. Reading has also taken up a larger than normal part of my time. I was an especially voracious reader when I was younger, so I guess you could say I’ve gone back to my roots in that sense.

Is there anything in particular you’re actually looking forward to this summer?

A lot of the dancers in The Washington Ballet tend to spread out and go back to their hometowns over the summer, so I am looking forward to the moment when my colleagues are back in town. I am also waiting with bated breath for the moment when I am back in a dance studio again.

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now?

In terms of staying safe, all the usual tips: washing hands, using hand sanitizer, masks, etc., and generally using caution and common sense to the best of our abilities. We all have to do the best we can. In terms of keeping a sane mindset, focusing on just doing the best I can has also been helpful in this sense, as well as trying to take things moment by moment instead of getting wrapped up in distractions and worries (DEFINITELY easier said than done). Reading, talking with family and friends, and going on walks have all been very helpful in terms of sanity as well. While some mornings I wake up and strenuous activity sounds pretty unappealing, at the end of the day it has also helped me a lot to keep dancing, and I am immensely grateful that circumstances have permitted me to keep doing so at home.

Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front?

Again, I would say reading and walking have dominated my summer wellness routine. I don’t necessarily have a particular spot, although with all the walking I feel better acquainted with my neighborhood than I ever have.

Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform?

More towards the start of the pandemic, I got masks for myself and my family from two dancewear companies: Active Royale and Luckyleo Dancewear. More recently, I have gotten multiple masks from this wonderful woman who is part of The Washington Ballet Women’s Committee, Mena Brunette; she finds a variety of patterned fabrics and makes the masks by hand. Aside from a mask, I tend to gravitate towards summer dresses. They’re easy to just throw on, and as we all know, D.C. is HOT and sticky in the summer. I also have a favorite pair of pink shorts and a black-and-white jumpsuit that I probably wear way too much and have every intention of continuing to wear way too much for the rest of the summer!

via Joanne Marie Photography

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.)

I am currently reading Mistress of the Ritz, by Melanie Benjamin; it’s historical fiction which has been my genre of choice since a young age (weird, but true). I also just finished reading On Beauty, by Zadie Smith, and Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi.

Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now? 

In the summer, I crave foods that aren’t too hot! Any dish with feta and olive oil has been so appealing to me lately. Some vegetables (green beans are a fave) or maybe some chickpeas/cannellini beans with feta, olive oil, and salt have been high on my list this summer (and require minimal prep time/cooking, which is always a plus).

What about great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe?

I am completely clueless when it comes to making cocktails… I have mainly been sticking to rosé, haha!

What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you?

I recently watched Hamilton on Disney Plus, and I became obsessed with one of the songs. Musicals seem to be a summer trend for me because last summer I saw Rent for the first time ever in California and became a big fan of the music.

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks?

Europe! And Canada. Growing up in Buffalo meant that Canada was about a twenty-minute drive and a trip over the Peace Bridge away, but of course that proximity doesn’t make a difference this summer.

And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby? Any day trips or local spots worth mentioning, for example?

Any rooftop! The roof of my building is so peaceful most of the time.


Featured images via Procopio Photography