Although Kay Michael Lee Studio is one of the many businesses forced to close its doors due to direct orders from the government, their dance instructors have found alternative ways to continue teaching their students during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, March 23, a group of three KMLS dance instructors; Abby Powell, Jurni Holte and company co-founder Sarah Johnson, began posting virtual classes online for their students who are eager to resume learning their craft. From tap dancing, to hip-hop, ballet, jazz and competition classes among others, the three instructors post dance videos on a daily basis, and share these video routines through invitations on social media sites such as Facebook.
Johnson reveals her sister Serena, KMLS’s other co-founder, gave her the idea to begin online dance classes while the studio remained closed during the pandemic. This service is available at no extra charge to participating students.
Once each video is uploaded by the instructor, they are put into specific folders based on category which the students can then access. Depending upon the routine, each video will vary in length from 30 to 60 minutes or longer. In addition to creating an online library of videos, the instructors also plan to host live feeds in an effort to work with the club’s four competition lines.
While each virtual class may differ depending on a specific routine or a particular dance form, Johnson says basic concepts such as improving flexibility, coordination, stretching techniques and clarifying dancer movements remain constant during each online dance session.
While the process of providing virtual classes has its share of challenges at the outset, the dance instructor believes students and parents alike have been receptive to the idea. Ultimately, Johnson explains the goal of this program is to keep dance skills sharp during an extended period of unprecedented circumstances.
“You don’t really realize how much social interaction is required to teach a class until it’s not there anymore,” Johnson tells the Williston Herald. “But I think everyone is happy that our classes are keeping kids interested and motivated, so when this situation returns to normal, all of our students will be as prepared as they possibly can. It’s a new challenge for the teachers to deliver messages more quickly and efficiently.”
Like other local businesses who were forced to shut their doors, KMLS plans to re-open on Monday, April 6 unless otherwise notified. Johnson says the dance studio remains hopeful they can perform their Roaring Twenties themed recital at Bakken Elementary, which will be KMLS’s next big event, scheduled tentatively for May 3. However, it remains a mystery as to whether or not that performance will actually take place.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that this situation will be over by then, and we are doing everything we can to keep everybody’s spirits up in the meantime,” Johnson adds. “It’s just a wait-and-see approach until then.”