Isolation, what isolation? Island Dance students and their families have embraced online classes with gusto, even joining in Zoom dance parties and TikTok workshops. They’re definitely not feeling lonely.
Island Dance principal Marie Dance says she knew classes had to go online when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, but was also looking for ways to keep students connected during the shutdown.
So, she has been using Zoom to offer a condensed timetable with as many classes as possible in the online format, as well as a Friday dance party and acro workshops for families.
“The idea is to keep everyone connected and have fun and make light of the situation, because I know it’s a bit dark and challenging for families,” Marie says.
“It’s been really positive. It’s really overwhelming with the amount of support out there even if they’re going through their own challenges.”
These have been a shining light during the shutdown. Disco is king and fancy dress is strongly encouraged.
The parties are on every Friday at 5.30pm and are open to the public. Just check the Island Dance Facebook page for the login details.
Marie says she has a huge selection of props and dons a different ‘hairstyle ‘ for each song. And the fun is not just for kids, with parents also joining in the fun.
“It’s to keep everyone going and doing things they don’t normally together because they’re busy working,” Marie says.
Before the shutdown, Island Dance had about 240 students. About half of those have been able to join in classes online.
“It’s not suited to everyone. There are so many factors when going online,” Marie explains.
When the studio is open, they run classes for children aged as young as 13 months. Marie says they’re not able to join in online because they’re too young, but the three-year-olds love it.
There’s even a Daddy Dancing class, and most dads have been able to join in online with their children.
Marie says exploring digital options has made her realise there are opportunities to continue offering some classes online, post COVID-19.
“(But) I can’t wait to get back to face-to-face classes and see all the dancers again,” she says.
And Friday dance parties have been such a hit, they’ll almost certainly continue post-lockdown.
Want to join in the fun or find out more? Head to the Island Dance Facebook page