Today I’m sharing with you why we did NOT Tap Dance outside during COVID and why I’m SO thankful we made this decision and stuck to it.
After things started reopening, many dance studios took to the parks and the parking lots to run their classes outdoors, socially distanced, and therefore, in a safe way that many families felt comfortable returning to.
When we did re-open, we kicked it off first with private lessons, offering indoors or outdoors, and this was our way of testing the outdoor waters. We were already leaning towards not doing the whole outdoor thing for other reasons, really, one big reason, which I’ll go into depth later. But our couple weeks of outdoor private lesson experimentation solidified our feelings that this was NOT a good idea.
First thing’s first… the elements of the outdoors in New Jersey are not conducive to dancing. The humidity in the summer was so heavy, the mosquitoes were rampant… after 30 minutes of dancing outdoors, our students were either dehydrated, sunburnt, or bitten up by mosquitoes.
We also anticipated equipment overheating as an issue, so we bought a canopy, and that was a nightmare. The smallest ones we could get our hands on were still too big for one person to set up and break down and it would have to be set up and broken down before and after every lesson, which takes additional time, effort, and energy on the instructor’s part, which also costs extra money because we have to compensate our instructors for that additional time.
I looked into renting vs. buying a large event tent to solve some of these challenges, and it was $10,000+. Now you’ve heard me talk about the need to invest money sometimes, but this was an investment that would NOT pay off. It can start snowing as early as October! This tent would not make the studio more money, it would not pay for itself.
Sprung floors are also an issue. Inside the studio, we have the proper flooring. Our tap dancers have proper flooring because they’ve been using portable floors at home, but our Hip-Hop dancers don’t have proper sprung flooring. And it didn’t feel right to have them dancing on concrete. And again, our instructors. We didn't want them outside dancing on concrete either.
Now here’s my #1 reason why we didn’t dance outside…
And why I’m thankful we waited patiently until we could resume indoor activities...
Because I knew that dancing outside came with an expiration date.
I knew that come September, the sun would set earlier, there'd be less daylight outside, come October, the heavy rain we typically get would come through and then the snow, it would be too cold to dance outside.
Dancing outside came with a time ticker, less than 8 weeks. And I knew that transitioning families from outdoor dancing to indoor dancing would be VERY difficult, and that’s what I’m referring to in terms of short-term money. I’ve seen studios build their entire Fall 2020 schedule around their outdoor participation, and they’re getting a lot of pushback from families about transitioning back to indoors. Families who are saying, “when you move inside, we’re going to drop until the Spring”. Their numbers are totally off.
So in the end, we re-opened indoors, and we told families who weren’t ready yet to Zoom in, and if they said they didn't want to Zoom, we said no problem, come back when you’re ready. And it only took a couple of weeks for them to feel ready to come back. And we’re all inside and comfortable, masks on, sharing safe shuffles, and making it happen.
I’m thankful we made this decision and stuck to it.
I’d love to hear from you! Did you dance outside? How’s it going? Were you able to comfortably transition your students back into the studio? Or has it been a struggle? I’d love to hear from you. Go ahead and write to me in the iTapOnline Community Facebook group and let me know.
P.S. Need help with Hybrid classes? Check out my Ultimate Hybrid Dance Class Course to get everything you need, including all the proper tech equipment, for an awesome hybrid dance class experience for both you and your students.
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