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How Dance Studios Survived COVID-19

28 Jul 2020 2:10 PMLauren Nairne
How Dance Studios Survived COVID-19

As I write this blog post tucked away in Queensland, Australia dance studios have resumed their new ‘normal’ trading post-COVID-19 as the rest of the world struggles to handle the pandemic in every country, even state, and every dancer is at a different stage in their road map back to the studio.

 

Whichever stage you’re at we hope that you’re still moving and enjoying dance in some capacity.

 

Before COVID-19 struck the world in March 2020 99% of dance studios had run their studio in 1 way, under a physical brick and mortar building teaching dancers face to face. Social distancing wasn’t something we did before but it certainly is something we do now.

 

A lot has changed but whether our classes are online or in the studio, we now know better than ever before that our community is strong and resilient and faced with no option but to flip our businesses on their head. Our industry showed the world just how strong we truly are, that nothing can stop us.

 

 

 

Moving Classes Online

 

It may seem like a simple process but believe me when COVID hit, panic set in. Teachers had never taken classes online, how do you play the music? How much do we charge? How much do we get charged? How can we make it accessible to everyone? How do I explain this new way of life and teaching to the older generation of teachers?

Questions upon questions at every turn. Music delays were inevitable, password protected zoom calls were essential and the share price of Zoom... well I’m sure stakeholders have retired in the Bahamas by now.

 

Forums were filled with hundreds of questions daily and studio owners came together to share tips, class plans, music systems, and fee structures to help each other out.

Lounge rooms were turned into studios, Dads made tap boards out of wood panels around the house and ballet barre businesses boomed as people set up studios in their homes.

 

But with each achievement came the setbacks, students whose parents had lost their jobs so they couldn’t learn, parents frustrations with online classes and technology, people dropping out and studios that had spent years building impressive students numbers suddenly back to square one.

 

But the loyal, committed and able ones stayed. We danced for weeks/months online battling super slow internet, technical difficulties, waiting room errors, horrible delays, and figured out how to make a grande allegro work in small spaces.

We learned to self motivate, to find new things to love about dance, and found a new appreciation for the time in the studios, our teachers, and our dance friends.

 

Transitioning Back To The Studio

 

If it wasn’t hard enough that we couldn’t teach in our studios, that we had to turn the entire studio on its head when COVID first hit, it seemed the road back to the studio was going to be just as difficult, if not more complicated than switching, to begin with.

 

Each state had a different road map, each studio different sizes and student numbers meant that the easing of restrictions looked different for each of us. Again, studios had to pivot entire businesses, to keep student numbers low, to maintain social distancing. Some even had to run half the class in the studio and half the class online to manage the now enforced 1 person per 4 square metres rule. Studios resembled chess boards with grids to maintain space between dancers. But behind the scenes hard working dedicated teachers desperate to get back into their beloved studios pushed for dance studios to be recognised in the government's outline for clarification. Aus Dance produced the most incredible framework which was ultimately approved in some states to allow studios to go back earlier than first anticipated.

 

It changed every day, it was almost impossible to keep up.

 

But one thing never changed the dedication, resilience, and persistence of teachers, students, parents, and friends to help us keep dancing.

 

If you’re a teacher or a studio owner who has battled through this unusual situation... THANKYOU! Thankyou from the students, the parents, and the teachers you kept employed during this time. We understand it wasn’t easy but we truly appreciate all the effort it took to keep dancing.

 

If you’re a dancer who pushed through, you should be very proud of yourself. It wasn’t easy self-motivating every day. We know you missed your friends and we know that you had a tough choice between scrolling Tik Tok’s and Tap each night. We’re proud of your commitment and you’re a better person because you stuck to it.

 

And if you’re a parent who had to push your dancer to stay motivated, focused, and consistent during online classes, we see you too. We know the role you played wasn’t easy either. Thankyou for supporting your studio, for allowing them the opportunity to come (virtually) into your home each afternoon and for sacrificing your lounge rooms and garages for the duration of this period. It was a team effort and as a community... We’re a pretty good team!!!

 

Happy Dancing in Term 3

 

Stay safe and social distance because we don’t want to go back again!