Many of those dancers are now practicing at home as they follow along to virtual classes and videos uploaded by the studio’s instructors.
“We started recording ourselves doing our recital dances so the kids can practice at home,” owner Kristin Shepherd said. “We're posting on Instagram, on Facebook, and then we also have now a YouTube channel that we have been posting everything to so people can go back and watch.”
The spring show is the studio’s biggest show of the year, Shepherd said, with an average of about 150 dancers. Shepherd said she knows some of the dancers will not be able to continue, but she and the other instructors are working to complete recital dances with the current students.
Melinda Perez said her 5-year-old daughter, Sofia, is loving the online classes in tap, jazz and ballet. Perez said Sofia puts on her leotard for whichever class she is going to watch and has even pulled in another participant in the house.
“Sophia has a 1-year-old sister, and she’ll even put on Sofia’s first pair of tap shoes and her first pair of ballet shoes because she’s been practicing right along with [Sofia],” Perez said. “It's just the cutest thing to watch because she'll be able to start [classes at 4 the Love of Dance] this August.”
Shepherd said she and her instructors are still offering some private lessons in the studio as well as “a couple duets” where there are only three people at a time in the studio. The business is also planning conference call classes, but most of the regular class lessons will be posted for anyone to see.
“If we are going to have to do it this way, we might as well open it up [and] allow more people to be able to see it so that way they can kind of see what we do,” Shepherd said. “Once [the coronavirus concern] passes, hopefully [this will let] people get excited about our classes and kind of get to see what different styles of classes we have that they might not know.”
Gina Aldaz said the online videos have been great for her 10-year-old daughter, Luci.
“It not only gives her the ability to improve as a dancer, but it still enables her to be connected with her dance team members and her instructors, which I think, emotionally, is really important,” Aldaz said.
Shepherd said she has been pleased with the number of views the videos are getting, and she has started a contest where current students can win a free summer session at the studio.
“For every video that they send us of working on one of their techniques or one of their recital performances, they'll get entered into a drawing,” Shepherd said. “So if they upload 10 videos, they get 10 names into the drawing.”
She estimated the dance school has received more than 100 videos from students already.
“It's been exciting, and honestly it's kept our spirits up as our teachers to kind of see them talking to us and practicing,” Shepherd said. “It makes us happy.”
Aldaz said the online classes are also making her daughter happy, as it has been “really difficult” for Luci not to be able to attend classes.
“It’s been a really important outlet for her,” Aldaz said, noting her son is the same way with his athletics. “During times like this to see that passion come from them, it just reinforces how much they love it, and it's amazing to be able to have the tools that enable them to continue to do it.”