Ballet Memphis dancers Brandon Ramey and his wife, Virginia Pilgrim Ramey, are back in a new quarantine dance video: Couch Potatoes.
“The story with this one is we’re just really settling into our quarantine and our social distancing life,” Brandon says. “I’ve been binging through episodes of This is Us faster than I’ve ever watched a TV show in my life.”
Their video, which relays what can happen when there’s only one potato chip left for two people, strikes a chord. “Other people have similar experiences. They’re out of work at home. Just trying to pass the time.”
Brandon and Virginia were set to play the lead roles in the Ballet Memphis production of “Cinderella” before COVID-19 brought the production to a halt. “Look at us. We’re just a bunch of elite dancers, elite artists, in one fell swoop to become a couple of spuds on the couch.”
Brandon describes the video as “a little fighting and dancing. It’s based on a true story. I would say the movie is pretty historically accurate. We just embellished the choreography a little bit.
“The true story is as simple as that. Sometimes Ginny and I will be passing a bag of chips back and forth and I will get the last one. And we’ll make eyes at each other as to who actually deserves to eat the last chip.”
Couch Potatoes is “definitely collaboration,” he says. “I would say I’m the choreographer and Ginny is my editor. She’s not shy about telling me something is not working.”
Couch Potatoes is a “little more lighthearted” than their previous dance video, Stay at Home, Virginia says. “I think the response has been even quicker and more enthusiastic about this one,” she says. “It’s something people can relate to: ‘I don’t believe you people really eat potato chips.’ We do.”
They danced in a small area in the video, but, Virginia says, “He’s just super creative in his movements. So, it’s not super balletic. It’s what we can accomplish on our little love seat in our den.”
Virginia wears “just kind of lounge wear. Sweatpants and a T-shirt and a cardigan.”
Brandon, she says, wears “pajama pants, a T-shirt, and a hoodie.”
They’re not wearing conventional dance slippers. Instead, they’re dancing in their socks. “We just kind of wear socks around the house.”
“No ballet slippers,” Brandon says. “Just my cozy house socks.”
The couple work on their videos just about every evening. “The choreography starts a few days before we do any actual filming,” he says. “We’ll put Ellie (their daughter) to bed at 6:30. We’ll eat a quick dinner. And we’ll just figure out what the moves are going to be from 7 until 10 when we go to bed.”
Making videos “gives us something to do,” Brandon says. “And I just love hearing from people. The responses. How they put a smile on their faces and brightens their day.”
He heard from a cousin, now a professional cellist in Canada, who he hadn’t seen since he was four years old. The videos “expand our sphere of interactions.”
He and his wife give themselves a dance class to “keep in shape,” Brandon says.
But they also are working on two more videos. “We’re working on a short film about Cinderella going to the ball, but the ball is cancelled because of coronavirus,” Brandon says.
“The other one is about the toilet paper shortage. And we’re using ‘Ode to Joy.'” But we’re calling the piece, 'Commode to Joy.'”
Watch the video here.