Dancer’s Edge Studio in Lacombe and Blackfalds have moved all of their classes online due to COVID-19 and owner Heather Buelow is hoping to provide her students even more instruction and content than they had before.
“We have been closed officially for two weeks. We closed a bit before the mandate because we knew it was in the best interest of all of our families to close our doors,” Buelow said.
Buelow wanted to ensure her students could still dance through the pandemic and opted to multiple digital mediums to provide classes including a Facebook group for lives and announcements; Google Classroom for prerecorded classes and, most importantly, Zoom meetings for live classes.
“Right now, all of my teachers are still employed and they are working more than they worked before to bring live Zoom classes to their dancers. They get to interact and talk with the kids, along with giving corrections. The kids get to see their friends from the class this way,” Buelow said.
Buelow said the feedback from students and parents has been amazing, with their regular classes — no online — still seeing 85 to 95 per cent attendance.
“That shows that people want to be here and it is giving them a break from their day. It is providing a sense of normalcy and consistency,” she said.
Buelow said they are trying to recreate the studio experience as much as they can.
“We are asking them to get dressed in their dance outfits and are ready for class just as they normally would. We are keeping pretty much the whole schedule we had before, just with a bit of altering,” she said.
For their competitive dancers, Dancer’s Edge is hoping to still compete in delayed recitals this year, but Buelow said it is important for these dancers to remain in top form.
“We can’t have the kids sit for four to six weeks without doing anything because they would start to loose flexibility, muscle mass and their memory in terms of their dances. We wanted to make sure we are keeping them engaged and progressing,” she said.
Buelow said they are trying to provide unique opportunities during this time,
“Last week we had Alison Jancie and Lisa Jancie,” she said. “They are Lacombe-raised New York City Rockettes and they did some workshops for our dancers. Last night, Joel Ronnie, who was originally from Ponoka and now has been on a cruise ship for 10 years, did a contemporary workshop.
“Our dancers are getting to experience from dancers around the world in the comfort of their home.”
Buelow added, “We want to be a light of positivity in darker times and bring joy through dance.”