Illawarra dance studios have returned to a new normal, after taking their classes online during social distancing restrictions.
Unanderra’s Dance Affinity is one studio that shut down all face-to-face lessons on March 21 due to covid-19.
Owner and teacher Teagan McKeen was able to quickly shift all of her classes to online lessons, successfully transitioning her students to remote learning.
“We have done this via a combination of live streamed Zoom classes and pre-recorded on demand instructional videos,” Ms McKeen said.
“Students who attend multiple classes a week, across a range of genres, are the ones who have chosen to engage.
“It’s times like these that reiterate that dance teaches more than just steps.”
Dance Affinity student and student teacher Katie Pearce has also expressed her appreciation for the studio’s ability to keep students socially engaged and active while isolated.
“Dance gives you a place to connect with people who have the same passions as you, and it would have been hard to get that kind of engagement without any in-person classes at all,” Ms Pearce said.
Before announcing an official reopening date, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian was met with outrage online after implying that dance studios would not be reopened because dance teachers were not ‘qualified’.
Ms Pearce expressed her outrage at these comments, stating that most dance teachers are qualified to work with children in these conditions.
“If we’re allowed to dance at school with a qualified teacher, I don’t see why we can’t dance outside of school,” Ms Pearce said.
However, Ms McKeen said that she thought the dance community took the comments too personally.
“It’s easier to set guidelines and regulations in large organisations, such as schools, with a top down management system that regulates the school industry,” Ms McKeen said.
Ms McKeen is preparing her studio for the changing health guidelines and reassures that all appropriate measures will be taken to protect students and teachers.
“We will be implementing hand sanitisation upon entry and exit of the venue and modified lesson plans for social distancing,” Ms McKeen said.
“All communal items, such as toys, stationary, and kitchenware, are no longer supplied.
“We will also introduce strict roll marking procedures to ensure we keep a record of attendances in the event of any contract tracing.”
Dance studios have been reopened for classes, alongside local gyms since June 13th.