I know that I keep talking about less-than exciting dance things lately, but those are the kinds of dance things that are going on right now that are on my mind. There’s not much else happening in the world of dance, as I’m sure you know…
I can’t remember when I’ve mentioned this in the past, but there are two large ballroom clubs in my part of the world. They each (used to) hold events every month for their club members and any others interested to attend. For the purposes of my writing today, I am going to call the slightly larger one Ballroom Club A (BCA), and the other Ballroom Club B (BCB).
Also in my area, we are fortunate to have one person in the ballroom community that has taken it upon themselves to accumulate all the ballroom events that go on every week into one email that would get sent out to anyone that wanted to be on the mailing list. That person has been doing this for years, and almost all of the studios in the surrounding area, and even a bunch in more distant areas up to ninety minutes away would send this person their list of events each week, which would then get compiled into a single email and sent out. This helped to keep all the dancers in the area informed of all sorts of events where they could go out and get their dance fix filled.
As you can probably imagine, those dance update emails over the last few weeks have been considerably smaller than they used to be. This person still sends them out to let everyone know about all the virtual dance classes and gatherings that are available to help people do at least some dancing at home, but the volume of classes and events included in the latest weekly dance calendar emails is significantly less than it used to be. Still, good on this person for sticking with it to keep all of us in the loop!
Two items that are included in these emails every week are updates from the leaders of BCA and BCB. It’s interesting to me the different strategies that the people in charge of both clubs are using during this situation. I don’t know what your stance is on how best to keep people safe during this time is, so we won’t talk about whether one of these paths is better than the other. I just find it interesting, knowing the leaders of these two groups like I do, that they would choose to take each of these routes.
(Also, yes, I do know the current people in charge of both of these clubs. I met them all many times during my tenure as a member of the Royal Dance Court, and have had many discussions about dance and dance politics with all of them during those years.)
BCA has a repeating note in the weekly update email that tells everyone that all of their events are cancelled all the way until August, and they will evaluate whether it is safe to start holding events again at that point. Basically they said that they aren’t going to hold anything until things are deemed safe, and August was just a month chosen as a starting point for the next decision.
I’m pretty sure that they knocked out four months right away without hesitating because of one of their key members. See, this club is headed by a guy, but all of us know that most of the decisions about what happens are basically made by his wife behind the scenes and he is just a figurehead. Usually that’s all well and good, but his wife falls into several of the most serious ‘high risk’ categories for this virus. She has made statements online that even I have seen in the little time I spend on social media, all urging people to keep away from her so that she doesn’t risk catching anything. I can imagine that a big part of the reason that BCA chose to stop all events for four months right away when this all started was because of her urging.
BCB, on the other hand, is keeping the option open to start going back to holding events as soon as they can. They have a regular event scheduled every month, and for the last two months they didn’t put out the word that the event was going to be cancelled until the very last weekly email before the event would have been otherwise held on that coming weekend to let people know not to come. In those notices of cancellation, a note was included saying ‘we hope that we will be able to hold our party next month, and that we’ll see you all there!’
This dance club is run by a board, and pretty much everyone on that board is up there in those high risk age categories, so you think that they would be keen on shutting things down to keep at least the board members safe, let alone all of the elderly members of their club that usually attend their parties and events. However, the person that heads this club currently is one woman who rules with absolute authority. There is a board, but the board is essentially just a set of people hand-selected by her to be yes-men (and women), rubber stamping her every whim.
This woman is in that highest-risk age category, but is desperately trying to cling on to her youth. Have you met someone like that? Knowing her, she probably doesn’t think that she is at much of a risk for this virus, which is why the club keeps putting off canceling their events until the last minute in hopes that they could still hold them. I imagine that this group will be one of the first to start offering parties for people to come dance when the government relaxes their stay-at-home orders.
Is one group’s choices during this strange time we are living through better than the others? I don’t really know. I have heard some voices from our community who are cautious and won’t be going out to anything dance related any time soon even if restrictions are relaxed, and others that are asking why everything has to be shut down right now because they don’t think it’s that big of a deal. So, it looks like each of those competing ideas has one ballroom club in the area that will be catering to them in that regard. Everybody can win, right?
Me, I don’t know how I feel about going to dance events any time soon. I mean, I heard that this virus can be passed on to cats, and that has me really worried! My cat is older, and I really don’t want her to get sick with anything. If she got sick from something that I gave her, I would feel super terrible about that! So there’s a big part of me that strongly considers staying away from people anytime I go out for her sake. I mean, getting sick myself would probably suck too, but that’s not as important!
We’ll see what happens. From the sound of things, restrictions are possibly going to start easing in my area of the world sooner rather than later. I will be curious to hear how dance studios respond when they are allowed to open their doors to the public again, and how the public will in turn respond to them being open.