When we started our term in January, we had no idea how our lives will be turned upside down in the following weeks and months. We didn’t know that NORMAL will get a new meaning and that everybody will talk about a NEW NORMAL after COVID-19. We still don’t know how this NEW NORMAL will look like.
In February we took a few students to Bangkok for the ATOD International Competition, and we started to realise that something bigger was going to happen. However, still, we weren’t aware of the full extent of this pandemic. Even in the beginning of March, when the virus spread all over the world, we thought we would still be able to do our exam, our showcase and that our performance teams will compete at the Get the Beat Competition. Soon we had to realise that this was not going to happen, and we also had to change our approach of teaching. We learnt that we had to go new ways to bring our students the same experience because we couldn’t do it in the typical class setting any longer. We took advice from other studios around the world who had to enter the world of online teaching before us, and we changed our whole studio model during a week. In the last week of March, we went to the studio to re-record as many classes as possible and started teaching classes online out of the studio.
With the beginning of the Circuit Breaker on April 7th, we moved everything to the living rooms of Miss Ashlee, Miss Rebecca and Miss Sarah. It has been a challenge, but we were determined to do whatever was necessary to give our students the best possible experience. Suddenly relying 100% on a technology which wasn’t designed for it (ZOOM) was quite challenging and not without issues. But again, we were determined to make it work, and over the weeks, the problems got less, and our kids started to enjoy the classes. We could see parents relaxing and get used to the new way of teaching dance. We knew from the beginning that online teaching wouldn’t work for everybody and that especially for the younger age groups, it will be very challenging. All of us had to accept that it is less about technique and corrections but more about community, a sense of normality in crazy times and the routine of attending a weekly class.
We are so proud of all our students who did an excellent job, joined so many classes and even tried new styles. We are very thankful to our wonderful parents who did a fantastic job making sure kids could enjoy their dance classes. Thanks to the families who moved the living room around, sacrificed their dining rooms or bedrooms to create a safe space for the kids to dance. Thank you for your commitment, patience, constructive criticism, lovely comments and humour.
All your support, effort, help and understanding is noticed and very much appreciated.
We are now moving into the next stage and again look into a very unpredictable future. Currently, we can’t tell you how dance classes will look like in the next few weeks or months. We hope that we will be able to start with the NEW NORMAL in August. We would like to wait with releasing the schedule for August till we have more information on measures we have to implement in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the re-opening process. As soon as we have a clearer picture, we will start with registrations for the new term. We don’t want to promise you anything we can’t fulfil later on.
The last few months taught us that life is unpredictable and always good for a surprise. You can’t take anything for granted, and it is up to each of us to make the best out of it and make this work somehow. We took the time to look deeper into the studio business, looked at ways to become more efficient, more resistant and sustainable. We see it as a chance to reinvent the studio, and we are confident that we will become stronger, better and adapt to the NEW NORMAL.
There are so many opportunities out there that we never thought of and suddenly we realise how much more we can offer to all of our students. In the past, we, for example, never considered to provide workshops via ZOOM or have kids who can’t attend a class do it online, just to mention some examples. Our main goal will always be to give our students the best experience and continue with what we love the most – teaching and nurturing your kids in a safe, healthy and happy environment.