Of course, it is not only up to dance school management to create a safe environment for all those ready to set foot again in the studio. Families also need to be responsible and not only follow the guidelines presented to them, but be conscientious about their own behavior.
The IBA dancer’s mom added, “The hardest thing for the students would be that they agree to only partake in essential outside functions (grocery shopping, gas, lodging) and are expected to comply with the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the State of North Carolina when participating in essential external functions. We need to do our part well as the school is doing their part thoroughly to protect the students and their families.”
When asked “What will you personally do to stay safe when dance schools reopen?” one 16 year-old student heading back to her Connecticut studio at the end of June responded, “I will be taking frequent hand washing trips, as well as following all the suggested guidelines my school has posted, including wearing a mask at all times, sanitizing down barre spots, and staying in my designated spot to dance in, 6 feet away from everyone else.”
Sounds like the discipline learned by dancers from a young age is reflected in their attitude toward accepting these changes.
The bottom line is that as with all other walks of our daily lives, staying healthy in the dance studio is a community effort. There are some very specific challenges in our industry being one that often relies on physical and close contact – teachers giving hands-on corrections to students, dancers partnering with each other in pas de deux – as well as the fact that breathing heavily through a mask may indeed be uncomfortable.
But as humans we are adaptable, and adapt we must. There will be a time when we can again greet our dance friends with hugs and chat with them pre-class as we fix our hair in the dressing rooms. For now, we must simply be happy that we are gradually transitioning from using our kitchen sink as support while slipping on linoleum floors, to the security of gripping placing our hands on the barre and the feel of marley beneath our feet.