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Can you take a dance school online?

Can you take a dance School online during a pandemic? It can’t be done! can it?

Here’s how we tackled it at The Hyde School of Dance, Manchester, UK.

We closed the doors to our Happy Quarters studio with a heavy heart on Friday 20th March and worked through the weekend to try and figure out how to tackle a pandemic. During the weekend we pulled up our positive pants, upgraded our existing website user experience by making a members only section known as ‘ The Virtual Happy Quarters’ and bought ourselves a zoom license for our live classes.

We were ready for classes again, but this time, online and streamed straight to peoples newly created home studios from bedrooms to kitchens to gardens. We also helped other schools get online for their students to help keep our dance culture alive.

Our HSD73 Teachers, students and our parents were ready for the challenge ahead, we just didn’t know it would last this long. From Monday 23rd March we delivered 19 classes per week. All real time over zoom using a scheduled weekly timetable across 6 days of the week for 4 months.

It was tough for both our teachers and students, but the thing that came to the forefront time and time again, was the love of dance and seeing each other every night or every week. Because we maintained a timetable from the word go, we were able to give our students some small sense of normality during a very unusual time.

We also soon figured out that some of our older students & parents were also having to manage changes within their work patterns, so we filmed each class and placed it on our Virtual Happy Quarters website to help some of students still continue, even if it meant that they were dancing late at night when everyone else had gone to bed.

Exam presentations? no problem! we scheduled a Friday night Zoom presentation which turned into a 3 hour presentation, bingo & big dance party. We learnt that you can have a pretty good party online with your dance family.

With the awesome support of our students and parents it turns out that you can take classes online when you absolutely need to, but nothing beats real studio life. With this in mind, when we were allowed back, albeit with big restrictions, we embraced it wholeheartedly. 

With a tonne of Zoflora and a huge cleaning schedule, re-format of the studio and the removal of all soft furnishings, we were ready for real studio life. Temperature checks and sanitiser stations worked well on the way into the building and everyone nailed the new rules. Masked up, we danced, laughed and enjoyed being together and it felt so good. We still streamed to some of our students online due to isolations and government restrictions, but it was better that lockdown.

We also managed to do a gym re-design to help pro & amateur boxers continue with their training in a secure/safe environment under the guidance of Mitch, their trainer.

Finally, with the exceptional effort by our HSD73 Teachers, students and parents, it turns out that you can actually take a dance school online, return to the studio safely and carry on with your dance life throughout a pandemic.

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