Brandon Ramey and his wife, Virginia Pilgrim Ramey, have danced together in roughly 30 Ballet Memphis productions.
They’ve been married five years.
They’ve been in quarantine almost seven weeks.
Their latest video, "Make New Friends," is about what life would be like if they didn’t have each other during this time of isolation.
“We just sort of said to ourselves, ‘What if we didn’t have this great partnership to keep us supportive and entertained and sane?'” Brandon says. “It’s about what Ginny would do if she had to quarantine by herself. If she was just a single woman stuck inside for weeks on end.”
The video begins with Virginia listening to news reports about the quarantine in Memphis. She then checks off on a sheet of paper the days she’s been in quarantine.
She even plays checkers with their dog Jack on the kitchen island — a scene that actually worked out great, Brandon says. “We didn’t think that shot would work well, but he probably sat there for two and a half minutes before he jumped down.”
In the video, Virginia lovingly says, “You dummy,” to Jack. But then she gets an idea. “The Dummy” by Louis Armstrong begins playing. “She runs to the bedroom and starts pulling out old clothes: old sweatpants and an old sweater. And she starts stuffing pillows inside of it. She puts glasses on its face. And then she puts a beautiful red dress on, and they sit down at the dinner table for a date night. And she has a date with the dummy.”
The dummy then turns into Brandon. “I’m stuffed like the dummy,” he says.
After dinner, Brandon asks Virginia to dance. “I guess it’s a little bit like swing dancing, but interpreted through the eyes of someone who has T-shirts for bones. She dances with him. She’s got this nice red dress on, black high heel shoes, and they’re just dancing away with each other," Brandon says. "I try and cut back and forth to me dressed up like the dummy and the actual prop dummy for comedic effect. He can do some things I can’t do.”
That’s the only dancing in the video, Brandon says. The rest of the video is Virginia “putting her dramatic side on full display.”
Virginia describes the video as “just fun and funny. We were laughing while we were filming it.”
They even left in some of the parts where they were laughing during filming. “We’re just having fun trying to portray what it’s like to just be sitting at home bored to tears,” she says.
"Make New Friends" is the fifth video they’ve made during quarantine. Brandon conceives and shoots the videos. “I’ve always enjoyed the acting part of ballet and portraying characters,” Virginia says. “I think I was pretty good at it from a young age. Just being an actress.”
Asked how he and Virginia have been spending their days in quarantine in real life, Brandon says, “We go on at least one family walk every single day. Put Ellie in the stroller, Jack on his leash, and the whole family goes out. We’ll walk for an hour and a half, sometimes longer. Just ’cause it’s a great way to enjoy each other’s company and get the blood pumping.”
They also cook together. “We eat almost all our meals on our back porch right now just because the weather’s so great. So, almost every meal — weather providing — is a family picnic.”
The Rameys recently began watching Little Fires Everywhere. “It’s a book I’m reading and Ginny has already read, so we kind of have our own little movie book club.”
And they’re dancing. “We’re still dancing in the mornings. Ballet Memphis is providing us with at least two classes a week. They send us a Zoom link and we all log in and take classes with Julie Niekrasz.”
Brandon describes their days as “more than a routine. Ours is a schedule. Events loaded on the Google calendar. My phone sends me notifications if I’m running late for one of our daily activities.”
As for upcoming Ramey videos, Brandon says, “We don’t have any plans for more right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s a hard stop. It just means with Memphis reopening in its various phases, the quarantine series is coming to an end. We might find there are other new and interesting takes on dancing in the era of the COVID. That might inspire us. I don’t want to put it to bed too firmly, but, for now, it’s going to be a pause.”
To watch "Make New Friends," click here.