From balcony singalongs to applauding healthcare workers every night from their windows, here's how people all over the world are finding solace in their neighbors during a time of isolation

By Sophie Dodd
March 24, 2020 03:40 PM
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty

As countries around the globe enact stricter restrictions and lockdowns in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, many citizens are taking to social media to remind the world that we can remain connected — perhaps even better than ever before — while physically distancing ourselves.

Balconies have been at the heart of the acts of solidarity, acting as makeshift stages, DJ booths and other platforms as people, particularly in European cities, document their attempts to strengthen their sense of community through music, movies and even aerobics.

The movement was seemingly sparked by viral videos of Italians serenading each other from their balconies, such as the video below of tenor Maurizio Marchini, whose performance of the famous Italian aria “Nessun Dorma” for his neighbors in Florence has been viewed more than 3 million times.

In a parody response to the videos coming out of Italy, Daily Show host Trevor Noah tried to replicate the experience in New York City — with hilariously different results.

“I’ve been inspired by Italy and I figure, why don’t we do this in New York?” he says in the clip. “We’re also neighbors out here, let’s be together, you know?” Soon after he begins his rendition of Aladdin‘s “A Whole New World,” someone cuts him off in a manner most New Yorkers are familiar with, yelling, “Shut the f– up!”

Meanwhile, in Spain …

“Far across the distance / And spaces between us / You have come to show you go on.” Pianist Alberto Gestoso brought new meaning to the lyrics of Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” with a balcony performance of the classic song during Spain’s nationwide lockdown.

Barcelona’s famous church, La Sagrada Familia, stands tall in the background of the video as the camera pans to Gestoso’s neighbor Alex Lebron Torrent, who joins in on the saxophone for the impromptu jam session — reminding those watching from their balconies and the rest of the world that as long as we keep some “spaces between us,” we will get through this together.

In Italy, it’s not only opera singers who are entertaining their communities — “DJ Quarantine” and others across Europe are bringing the beats to their balconies to keep spirits up while nightclubs are shut down.

And in Seville, Spain, an entire apartment complex proved that group workouts can actually be fun! Local fitness group Sano Sevilla Los Bermejales shared a video of their trainer Gonzalo leading an aerobics class, where neighbors can be seen doing jumping jacks in tandem through their windows and on their respective balconies.

In perhaps the most moving gesture, the people of Paris — along with residents from cities in Turkey, the Netherlands and beyond — have begun applauding the healthcare workers every night at 8 p.m. to show their appreciation for the sacrifices those fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines are making.

And in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Rome, neighbors have shown that Netflix isn’t the only one rolling out simultaneous streaming: One local has been projecting classic films such as Top Hat onto the wall opposite their home, allowing residents to watch and dance along.

“Qui da noi la paura si combatte con la bellezza,” writes Aureliano Verità in a video he posted to Instagram of the moment, which translates to, “Here, fear is fought with beauty.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.

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