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Local studios innovate virtual classes for dancers stuck at home

Dancing isn't canceled. Find out how some local studios are adjusting to the stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Many local dance studios have to adapt their instruction to fit the mold of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s nothing we could have ever, ever imagined or expected and I think that we wanted to make sure that we found a way to share what Judy Dollenmayer Studio of Dance (JDSD) has always provided on a daily basis to our dancers, and that’s a dance education, social interaction and fun,” said Tiffany Schlater, JDSD elite company director and social media coordinator.

Local companies like Judy Dollenmayer Studio of Dance and BalletMet have both shifted to a virtual approach to meet the needs of their students during the stay-at-home order.

“We were able to get eight weeks of content for our dance academy online and plus, we were able to have live Zoom classes for all the levels and also for our company at BalletMet too,” said Edwaard Liang, BalletMet artistic director.

In addition to those live Zoom classes, BalletMet has uploaded everything from choreography tutorials and dancer playlists to crafts and dance history videos to their YouTube channel to connect with both dancers and the greater Columbus community as a whole.

“I’m really happy that we’ve been able to create content that I think is not only educational but accessible,” Liang said.

For dancers everywhere, especially those who had been training for recitals and competitions, accessibility is key, according to Brooke Hull, JDSD owner and director.

“We had to learn the technology so that was a big challenge on our end, as our faculty. But it was very cool how we all would practice with each other and learn just how to get our sound right and our music through and clear, and how to set up our cameras to make sure our whole body was in the camera and that we were able to give a quality dance class to our kids,” she said.

But the quality of those dance classes can’t be found in recorded videos alone, Hull explained.

“We thought it was important to do interactive classes, just versus videos, because we had a little girl who lost her tooth and she was so excited to share that story and show her teacher on that day,” Hull said.

Between students using the live Zoom classes to connect and alumni using the opportunity to take classes from afar, Hull explained there have been some positives to the situation.

One alumna living in Indianapolis has logged on to let her own child participate, Hull said.

“She was just so touched because she never thought her kid would be able to dance where she used to dance growing up. So we’ve had people from all over logging in and we’ve been able to communicate you know, with alumni and former dancers, so it’s been very cool,” she said.

And while the immediate future as it pertains to performances and group training remains unknown, for local dancers, one thing is certain.

“Especially during this time, I think it’s really important to hold onto our humanity and what better way than with the arts and what better way, especially when you’re at home and you’re staying at home, that you can keep moving and keep active and feel alive,” Liang said.

To learn more about Judy Dollenmayer Studio of Dance classes, click here.

To learn more about BalletMet and the virtual options they’re offering, click here.