by Terry Rogers
“Dance is an outlet to express emotions for so many of our students and staff,” Aimee String, Director of TADA Dance Studio, said. “In a time where there is so much unknown in the world, we thought it was crucial to continue providing dancers with this creative outlet. Our instructors think of our students as an extension of our family. The thought of not seeing or talking to our kid” at this tumultuous time was not something we were able to come terms with.”
To continue contact with their dance students, TADA is now offering virtual dance classes using pre-recorded classes and the meeting app, Zoom. String explained that the studio tried out several different methods, including Facebook Live, Instagram Live and BAND before deciding a combination of pre-recordings and Zoom worked best for what they needed.
“We really love the Zoom classes most of all because it provides an opportunity to interact with our dancers and provide individualized corrections,” String said. “The support from the TADA family has been overwhelming. Our first week of classes after a two-week break was a very emotional one. Our students and staff were just so happy to be dancing together again. It felt great to have a little piece of our normal life back again.”
String says that the best thing about the online classes is being able to interact with the kids. The instructors take a few minutes during each class to just chat with students, making sure to check I with them and discuss their feelings and thoughts during a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety. String explained that the studio is a safe place where kids can express themselves and the directors are doing everything they can to provide that outlet. The studio is working through the process for younger students. String explained that they thought the Zoom classes might be a little too difficult for young children to grasp but they find that they are missing the interaction with them.
“The biggest challenge is that this is an unprecedented situation,” String said. “There is no model that tells us how to do this. We’ve had to figure out a platform, schedule and method that works for our students. This is truly a work in progress, and we evaluate what we are doing every day and will continue to make changes to the program to benefit our students.”
The studio has a “make it work” attitude and String understands that this situation is not ideal for anyone. Parents, students and instructors are helping us continue to provide meaningful and productive dance training for our dancers.”
The lessons begin with a solid technical foundation with dancers building on that foundation each day. String stated that it takes strength, flexibility and constant repetition. The online classes allow instructors to help dancers continue to maintain the foundation that the dancers have developed, continue to build flexibility and strength and refine some of the skills learned.
“I think as a parent, you do whatever it takes to make your child happy, but it’s been really heartwarming to see how our families have gone out of their way to create makeshift dance studios in their homes,” String said. “We’ve seen living rooms, basements, decks, bedrooms, hallways and bedrooms turned into dance studios.”