Dance teacher’s fancy dress coronavirus test snaps keep Covid officers amused

Alistair Mason, PA
·3-min read

A dance teacher who has to send a picture of his negative coronavirus test twice a week to be allowed into work has been keeping Covid officers amused by taking a creative approach to the task.

Philip Joel, from Finchley in north London, is a choreographer, but also teaches dance in colleges around London, and has to send the pictures to show to his employer he is Covid-free.

The 33-year-old has taken to positioning himself alongside the test in a variety of poses and costumes to keep the task interesting for everyone involved.

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He told the PA news agency: “I thought, ‘I’ll make it a bit more interesting for them’, so they could see me with the test and maybe have a bit of a laugh that day, because I can’t imagine seeing hundreds of tests weekly is that much fun.”

The images started off as simply a selfie with the test but have become “a little bit more extravagant”.

Among the images Mr Joel posted on Twitter is one with a bottle of Prosecco and another of him dressed as a rabbit.

“I think my Victoria Beckham-influenced one in the dressing gown on the sofa with the hair, with a towel and the leg up in the air and the heels, is quite a popular one,” he said.

Mr Joel said he has a few ideas for future images including one with a Harry Potter theme.

Philip Joel poses in a rabbit costume with his Covid test
Philip Joel has taken to wearing fancy dress for his coronavirus test photos (Philip Joel/PA)

He said feedback from the Covid officers receiving the pictures has been very positive.

“Oh, they’re thrilled, they can’t wait for the next one,” he said.

“If it makes them smile then it’s all worth it, really.”

Like many in the theatre industry, Mr Joel has faced a tough 12 months with all theatres shut for almost the entire year.

During the lockdown period he has developed a following for his social media videos, which also led to a feature-length “theatrical sitcom”, Fosse Forest Ballet, raising money for theatre charities.

But he says he is desperate to resume his involvement in live theatre.

Philip Joel
Philip Joel says he has struggled at times over the last 12 months (Philip Joel/PA)

“It’s been really difficult because we were one of the first industries to shut and we’re still one of the last industries to open again,” he said.

“We have literally been put on pause – there’s been no furlough for us.

“You can’t do live theatre without it being live.

“It has been tough and I know a lot of people, including myself, that have struggled at times.

“We are just literally desperate to get back and we are ready and raring to go.”