Just over a month after a successful dance show, ‘Read All About It’, at The Bingham Hall which raised £230 for Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind, Spiral Dance Studio had to close their physical doors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made to close our dance classes before the country went into lockdown as we were conscious of keeping our dancers, teachers, their families and the wider community safe.
I am proud of how quickly we ‘pivoted’ to offer online dance classes (live and pre-recorded) for our dancers. Our last two weeks of the Spring term was made up with 3 live classes and 15 pre-recorded classes that we hope gave our dancers some normality and comfort in those first few uncertain weeks of lockdown.
We moved forward in the Summer Term to a mix of live and pre-recorded classes but after our first four-week block, we made the decision to move to only live classes as we quickly realised what we missed the most was interacting with our fantastic dancers. By the summer holidays, we had provided over 50 live classes on Zoom and some fantastic workshops with West End professionals; many of these opportunities would not have been possible in ‘face-to-face’ classes.
Not all of our dancers continued with us online for a variety of reasons, but we kept everyone smiling with challenges and we also sent a rainbow postcard to all of our dancers which had a great response and made everyone feel connected.
We had great feedback from parents including “Katy’s really enjoyed taking part in the live classes and I think the interaction with people outside the home environment has been valuable to her.” We knew it was important to keep dancing and so many of our dancers improved their flexibility and strength over lockdown as they were given the opportunity to try new dance styles and dance 3 or 4 times a week (something they would not normally be able to do!).
Spiral Dance Studio were thrilled to reopen their doors on 21st September as a COVID-secure business and it was so lovely to see everyone again albeit at a 2-metre distance. The smiles that came from so many of our dancers made everything worth it and we are so glad to be able to offer a relaxed and friendly space where children, teenagers and adults alike are given the space to improve their creativity, confidence and dance technique. Unfortunately, our main venue closed their doors a week after reopening but thanks to the hard work of many halls in Cirencester we have been able to continue our dance classes and keep smiling!
Katharine Dudley (Principal of Spiral Dance Studio)