“Zoom and the Virtual Dance Studio”

Today I can officially close up my “balcony” studio and return to the classroom! Australian dance schools are officially back in business and I am ecstatic. After zooming for 13 weeks it will be amazing to feel the energy and the buzz of excited dancers and full classrooms. As I taught my second last Saturday midnight class for the Broadway Dance Center CTP this past week (9am for them) I got sentimental – I think in years to come when we are teaching in the studio memories of these times will pop into our heads and bring a smile.  We have all invited ourselves into each others homes, dug deep each week to show up on the screen no matter what may have been going on personally, and found ways to continue to share our passion for dance. From the moments where we have improvised our feelings out, nailed a new skill or had a laugh at a pet joining in the fun, we have all helped each other get through this time.

To get deep for a moment it was these zoom classes and students that really got me through my two week hotel isolation when I landed back “home” in Australia – it seems like a distant memory now but my mind was spinning and questioning every my every move and decision. I did not know where I belonged or what I was doing in those two weeks and I will always be so thankful for every smiling face that showed on my screen. Another prominent moment that stands out was the day I taught NYC, Iowa, Hervey Bay, Sydney and New Zealand all in one day – these are the silver linings of this world pandemic as scenarios like this would never have been considered possible in pre corona times. Other highlights I know I will tell my grandkids about are the Joffrey Ballet live classes where the gorgeous Palm Beach backdrop was used for the classroom, and 1500 dancers from all over the world were able to connect. Also the footage of the “zoom recitals” where dancers are performing end of year showcases in their living rooms instead of the stage are going to go down in history of our memories from 2020 dance.

I will still be zooming with my NY kids and Broadway Dance Center while I am on the other side of the world and restrictions still prevent them from live classes, however I think that even those kids would agree my zoom lessons are much better from the studio. Funny things some younger students commented “You are actually put makeup on” “Your not as glitchy” “You seem more awake”. To defend myself a little bit I have been commencing my teaching days at 5am to fit in with the time change, and given that it is winter (well….our version of winter) it is completely dark when I start work. I am fortunate enough to be teaching at Dance Force on the Gold Coast for night one back for the Aussies and plan to take in every moment as these kids return to their second home! We have all been forced to tap into our creative juices in ways we never thought possible on the screen but I think we can all agree nothing tops the real thing.

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