Dance studio’s hybrid model changes class experience


Graphic by Audrey Kercher ’23

During COVID-19 some Westport dance studios have implemented a hybrid schedule where dancers go into the studio or dance from home via Zoom. Because of the difference in surroundings, dancers have a different experience based on their location.

Tying hair up in a bun, lacing up pointe shoes and pulling on light pink tights. This is the typical routine for dancers preparing for class. However, logging onto Zoom is now a part of the preparation as many dance classes transfer to a hybrid model. 

Due to Covid-19’s continued impact in Westport and surrounding towns, local dance studios have started to hold some online dance classes for dancers in order to feel safe while still enjoying the activity they love.

Many Staples students who dance attend Westport’s Academy of Dance and are following the hybrid model. Most of the classes available at the studio include a mix of in-person and virtual classes in which students have a rotating schedule which dictates the days they are at home or in the studio. However, some smaller groups are able to have classes fully in-person.  

Although this schedule complies with Connecticut regulations (only allowing a maximum of 25 people in the studio), it creates issues for the dancers.

It makes things a lot more difficult for our dance community because as a studio we are all very tight knit and we are basically a family.

— Eden Miller '21

One of the hardships of dancing at home is that dancers don’t have access to the same resources they have while at the studio. Dancer Christina Meehan ’23 said this is what makes it most challenging about being at home.

“[In the studio] there is more space to move around,” Meehan said. “I dance in my room and use my closet door as a ballet barre, which is kind of difficult because I’m afraid I’m going to hit my chair or the wall.” 

When at home, dancers also do not get the same social connection to their teachers or peers that they would get in class. This makes class tougher for dancers like Eden Miller ’21.

“It makes things a lot more difficult for our dance community because as a studio we are all very tight knit and we are basically a family,” Miller said. 

Another popular dance studio amongst Staples students is the Spot JD that holds most classes in the studio. However, to make everyone comfortable, the studio does offer some online classes for dancers who feel safer attending classes from home. This is helpful in cases of bad weather in which dancers can’t travel to the studio. They simply log into Zoom to avoid class cancellation.

Dancer Pia Dottori ’23 has attended some online classes and has seen the benefits of dancing from home.

“While dancing on zoom, I became more comfortable with trying new things and stepping outside of the box because no one was there to judge, and no one was watching,” Dottori said.

Overall, dancers are grateful to be able to dance through the pandemic and are trying to make the most of this time despite the struggles with dancing virtually.

“There aren’t many positives of being on zoom, but a positive is that we are still able to make the most of it during Covid,” Miller said. “It’s nice that we have zoom or the dance studio option.”