U.S. Election, Tech in Europe, Coronavirus: Your Friday Briefing

We warmed up to selections from “The Lion King” and “The Prince of Egypt.” I even learned a Fosse hip roll. But as we danced to “No Day but Today,” the “Rent” finale, the ballet terms — passé, coupé, rond de jambe — proliferated and the eight counts came worryingly fast. Though I had positioned my laptop camera so that it showed me only from the rib cage up, I couldn’t even fake the arms.

Maybe that’s because, as I soon learned, a level exists even below Beginner. That level is Basic. So am I. The following week, I tried Steps on Broadway’s Basic Theater Dance.

The instructor, Tera-Lee Pollin, a Broadway veteran with inhuman exuberance, guided a handful of students through “Waterloo,” the curtain number for “Mamma Mia!” and a song about defeat. Together, delightedly, we ponied, we swam, we grapevined. No jambes were ronded.

So, yes, any amateur with enough time and resilience and discretionary income can probably learn theater basics remotely. The alchemy of live acting before a live audience almost comes through onscreen — but not quite. Until it can, I will think of the thousands and thousands of people in their homes, practicing their pentameter, arabesques and key changes, waiting for curtains to rise.

That’s it for this briefing. A meditation to de-stress from the week. Have a good weekend.

— Isabella

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on a congressional grilling of Big Tech executives.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Groanworthy, as a joke (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Ruth Graham, most recently at Slate, is joining our National desk to cover religion.

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