COVID-19 postpones UK-based New Zealand dancer Steph Lee's big dreams

2020 was meant to be the year Steph Lee took some giant strides in her professional dancing career.

The Wellingtonian moved to London a year ago, performing at some of Europe's biggest festivals, on prime-time TV, and was set to make her big-screen debut in a few months.

But now the only stage she's got at the moment is her living room.

For Londoners walking past, it looks like there's a house party going on. But there's not - this is what working from home looks like for Lee.

"While my housemates are working from home on their computers, I'm jumping around or dancing around, not trying to make too much noise for their Zoom meetings," she says.

The 24-year-old is a professional dancer. Newshub first met her in February to talk about what had been a whirlwind 12 months. She'd landed a gig as a dancer for US pop star Bebe Rexha performing on ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show and The Voice.

There was a 40-minute routine for King's Day in Amsterdam and a place on the stage at Belgium's Tomorrowland,  one of the world's biggest music festivals.

"It's crazy to think that a year ago, I was performing to 50,000 people and was one of the best experiences I've ever had, and fast forward a year and we're all at home playing board games every night," she says.

She was meant to make her debut in the upcoming film Everybody's Talking About Jamie and begin filming for two top-secret projects.

"The first day of the job was going to start on the first day of lockdown, it was meant to be a big hit with everything happening at once."

That schedule's been postponed indefinitely, and with the studio space off-limits, she's having to make do, rehearsing and auditioning from home.

"The new norm is my living room or my back garden or in my bedroom."

A far cry from what she's used to, but the Wellingtonian isn't letting it get her down.

"You've got to look at the bright side, I'm healthy, I've got a roof over my head," she says.

And some lucky neighbours who might get the odd glimpse of this world-class dancer who can't wait for the UK's lockdown to lift.