As the world slowly begins to “open up” after the COVID-19 lock-down, many ballroom dance studios are planning to resume operations. However, the question is, how does one teach ballroom dancing while maintaining the social distancing that’s helping to stop the spread of this deadly coronavirus? Surely, it seems like an impossible task, but ballroom dancers are a creative bunch. It’s gonna work, you’ll see. Welcome to the world of “no-touch” touch dancing!
To begin, let’s address the question of whether or not to continue taking lessons at a ballroom dance studio.
“I don’t know if I want to start up my lessons again. I’ve been okay without them. Not to mention, it’s nice to have a few extra bucks in my pocket.”
Under the circumstances, that’s understandable. After all, it’s hard to get back into dancing after taking a break. For one thing, you have more free time. That’s nice. On the other hand, there’s something missing if you’re not social dancing. Read this short Dance Safari post, “The Best Thing About Ballroom Dancing is…” if you’re wondering exactly what it is that’s missing.
So, yes, continue your lessons. But, “no-touch” touch dancing is the way to go.
First things first…safety and sanitizing.
Before your ballroom dance studio can reopen, there’s much to be done. Here are the recommendations from the CDC website entitled, “Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes”.
To be sure, there are no shortcuts. Stay healthy with the following strategies:
- social distancing (specifically, staying 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space)
- frequently wash hands or use at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
- wear cloth face coverings
- avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
- stay home when sick
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
How might the “no-touch” touch dancing lessons go?
Obviously, there will be a limit to the number of lessons going on at the same time. It’s a good idea to start with a warm-up line dance to get the blood going. Also, it gives you a chance to say hi to the others without getting too close. Remember, even though we have 6′ between us, we love and respect our fellow students and teachers. That’s the community part of ballroom dance lessons.
This is an ideal time to focus on some of the techniques that are so important in ballroom dancing.
- Hip Action
- Arm Styling
- Footwork and Leg Action
- Foot Positions
In addition to technique, how nice to be able to concentrate on really getting down those school figures. That’s “no-touch” touch dancing at it’s finest.
Many schools encourage their students to learn their steps (or school figures) on a medallist level. The levels are Bronze, Silver, and Gold. From time to time your instructor will arrange for the studio owner or dance director to watch you execute some figures. It’s called a checkout and it’s sort of a dance quiz to make sure that you’re doing well with your steps.
Studios will often hold a “Medallist Ball” to congratulate the students who’ve successfully completed their checkouts.
If you’re just getting started with your lessons, you’ll want to spend time memorizing combinations.
Also known as amalgamations, these are a series of steps that you practice one after the other. The idea is to make it so that you can easily transition from one step to the next.
In short, you need to get back to school.
No more playing hookey. Get your dance shoes on and support your teachers, studio owners, administrative and marketing people, as well as, your fellow students. “No-touch” touch dancing is better than no dancing at all and will pay you benefits in the long run.
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My studio (Australia) seems to be settling into Zoom classes with aplomb. As a lone follower, I’m missing partner dancing very much. I have been thinking a lot about my frame, though. Solo practice also means I can throw everything in without worrying about looking silly. So this should be good for my development…
Thanks for checking in with Dance Safari. I love your attitude about the situation. It’s not ideal, but let’s make the most of it.
Whatever you do, just keep on dancing!