Acadiana Adapts: Local dance studio moves to virtual classes

Louisiana Network

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools are shutdown and many parents are struggling to keep their children involved in extracurricular activities. 

This includes dance studio that were forced to close, but some are still finding ways to get students up and moving. 

Dance is a way of expression that connects passionate teachers and students at Hamilton Academy of the Arts. It’s something that not even the novel Coronavirus can stop, but instead inspire creativity. 

“I had to figure out how do I take this bag of lemons that has kind of been thrown at me and keep the continuity of classes going,” said studio owner Grace Hamilton. 

Just as dancers are known to think on their feet, director Grace Hamilton’s studio lesson plans are now viewed in little boxes, shifting over 200 to the virtual classes. 

“For the most part, we’ve gotten about 70% of our students to actually log on and take classes last week so we’re trying to increase that number this week. The biggest challenge is when the dog starts barking or when the younger sibling wants to come and join,” said Hamilton.

It’s a new learning curve everyone is adapting to.  However, the distractions of home life can be challenging to retain student engagement. 

“The kids are active of course. So, we had to go back to our classroom rules and tell that we’re not all together physically, but we’re here online,” said Tawana Francis, the Dance Company Director. 

Francis has been a director for about  20 years. She said it’s a form of discipline and structure that needs to remain afloat for children, especially during these unprecedented times. 

“When you’re at home, you’re just watching TV, like most of us, are eating and just confined to the household. Otherwise, that gives them some more time to find ways to be creative,” Francis added. 
Typically, the studio is preparing for their June recital showcase of the students. Now, they’re  focused on maintaining normalcy while taking things one step at a time. 

“This too, shall pass. We’re not going to stay in this epidemic forever. Even though it may seem like it,” said Hamilton. This will pass and life will go on. We’ll look back at this and figure out what we learned from it, what it meant for our lives and how did we use this as a way to grow and be better,” she added. 

The studio will continue to monitor the situation before changing any recital plans in June. They also plan to get adult classes online soon. 

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