The spring of 2020: Teaching dance during a pandemic

Zoom recital

This spring wasn’t easy, for so many reasons.  Nothing makes me and the entire All That Jazz faculty happier than dancing and teaching dance at the studio with all of our students.  So, clearly, when the pandemic hit in early March, the thought of not being able to finish out our 22nd year devastated me.  I was determined to not let that happen- our students WILL have a complete year of dancing classes and they WILL receive the necessary and important sense of accomplishment that goes along with an end of the year performance.

I researched exactly how this could all work and immediately implemented a plan.  Our classes were up on Zoom within the first couple days of the state mandated closure.  It never occurred to me to quit and just stop live classes.    Instead, I was more confident than ever that our students needed the social interaction of weekly dance classes and they needed to continue to do what they all love- dance!

Week in and week out, the kids just kept coming and coming.  Their smiles and happiness kept us teachers going.  We finished all the recital dances over Zoom and then began my next research project- how can we possibly still hold a recital??

Well, the first thing I had to do was hand deliver EVERY SINGLE STUDENT their recital costume!  With some delivery help from Miss Ellen Frank, my daughter Gabby and I were able to accomplish this no small task over the course of three very long weekends.  I will never forget seeing all of those ecstatic faces, as the dancers of all ages would wave to us from their front door.

Of course, the next hurtle to overcome was the actual implementation of a real live recital.  After a couple funny failed attempts, we came up with this brilliant concept- a regular Zoom meeting, but everyone has their cameras off until it is their turn to dance and people need to hide non-video participants on their end.  Lots of practice in our classes and lots of communication to the families resulted in four HUGELY successful recitals on Sunday, May 31st!

We had approximately 3,600 people attending/watching and from as far away as India, China, Australia, Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Israel and, of course, all over the US!

On a personal level, I will never forget the life lessons that I have learned during the spring of 2020.  The All That Jazz community is strong, resilient and supportive.  We are so much more than talented dancers.  We are smart, determined and resourceful.  I am so grateful for this community and I am excited to see what challenges and rewards our 23rd year holds in store for us- whatever it is, WE GOT THIS!

~Miss Deb Vogel

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