As dancers return to the studios for our Create in Place project, they will share their thoughts in our “A Dancer’s Diary.” Peyton Anderson talks about the return to the studios, the transition to alternative work, and how she’s utilizing her photography skills to help TWB.

Peyton Anderson posing in her home studio space

“After five months away from The Washington Ballet’s studios, we were finally able to go back in and dance again! The joy of seeing everyone in person, being in a bigger space, the feel of a softer floor, and the overall energy that a dancer feels being in their “natural” environment was so amazing to experience again. I do not think I had ever felt so responsible and mindful of cleanliness in my entire life! The protocols were rightfully strict and demanding, which has led to a successful outcome so far. The four-week adventure in the studios and filming flew by too quickly. Now the time has come for me to embark on the next journey of this season: “alternative work.”

In a usual season at The Washington Ballet, we dancers would have a daily schedule of waking up, warming up, taking our 90-minute ballet class, rehearse until 6:15pm, and then go home. This season is a little more complex than previous ones, and its uniqueness is challenging us as both individuals and dancers in a difficult yet inspiring way. While brainstorming ideas to try to keep our audience engaged during this time, we as a company decided to dive deeply into the world of technology and social media. During my four weeks in the studios, I was “captain” of my group (Create in Place group A – Xiomara Reyes’s Chronos). Each group has a captain that is in charge of posting onto The Washington Ballet’s Instagram story. So as part of my alternative work, I documented with photos and video the whole experience of going back into the studios, the rehearsals, and I captured behind-the-scenes moments while filming. I have significant experience on Instagram with posting photos and videos, so I didn’t hesitate to volunteer myself for this incredibly fun position!


My favorite sense to use is sight – especially visualization. In my daily life, I find people here and there that catch me looking at them in a certain way, or they may see me being super quiet and pensive, or as some might say – “lost in thought.” When I am like this, what I am doing is capturing all aspects of an image. Then I use my brain to analyze the emotional aspects of the image, and finally, I combine the visual and the emotional such that I can later express the syncopation through dance – and through some amazing photographic art. Through this new “alternative work” I now have the opportunity to use my photography skills to capture those beautiful moments I had always seen among my colleagues every day. This season is incredibly special already, and it is just the beginning!” – Peyton Anderson

Follow Peyton on Instagram at @peytonlilly and @peytonlilly.jpeg

Header photo by Taylor-Ferne Morris.