Dance is typically the sort of skill taught in person, but atypical times call for atypical solutions. And so, in the face of the COVID pandemic, Next Step Dance Kodiak brought their dance instruction online.
“Last spring, we had to go all-online over the course of one week of spring break. I had already had experience with Zoom, so when the school district closed down we converted everything to go online on via Zoom,” said Mary Beth Loewen, owner of Next Step Dance. “So they set TVs up in our classrooms, at the studio, and teachers mic’d and it was a learning experience.”
She says that they’ve been able to have limited in person classes, but have hybridized them to be as safe as possible.
“We took a summer and we’ve fully wired and updated and fitted out the studio. And now… we say all of our classes are hybrid. So if we are able to have students in the studio, wonderful, they’re spaced out. We have colored tape– I always say it’s our Candyland floor– we have colored tape all over the floor to mark out squares where the students can be, so they’re at least six feet apart from each other, in our big studio they actually are 10 feet apart,” said Loewen.
“And we use different colors of tape to help the kids learn; red is on the right and yellow is on the left. So we can help learn right and left and downstage and upstage with the different colors. We all have our teachers, even when they’re teaching in person wear Bluetooth microphones.”
Loewen admits openly that the transition has been difficult, but says that with the right attitude, any challenge is surmountable.
“It’s much easier when you’re in person, of course… I think any kind of teaching, whether it’s classroom in the school or teaching piano… it’s easier in person, I think,” said Loewen. “I know myself and my team have amazing teachers, they are always up for when I say ‘we’re gonna try this new thing that we’ve never done before. And if other people can do it, we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna figure it out.’”
Those interested in learning more, or simply getting some exercise in at home, can do so at nextstepdancekodiak.com.