Moving Our Feet Over The Painted White Lines

Word on the street is that there is a studio in my area that is going to attempt to hold its first group class that people can attend in person since the craziness started tomorrow night. What makes this interesting is that they are going to be offering the class outside for those who want to attend in person, not in the studio. In my part of the world, we are still in one of the early phases of the reopening process, and dance studios are not allowed to be open quite yet, so this is something that this studio is doing to skirt around the issue. It’s an interesting way to follow the letter of the law while still doing whatever the heck they want.

Because the space in their parking lot is not infinite, the notice about this class did say that only a limited number of people will be allowed to come, which means that all those who want to be there will have to register in advance. For anyone else who cannot attend in person, or who aren’t able to register before the class fills up, they will be streaming the class online as well. If you don’t live anywhere nearby and want to join in with them, even you can sign up to watch all the fun!

Personally, I’m torn about how I feel about this option being offered. On the one hand, I could see it being kind of silly and fun, and a good way to get back into the world of dance in a semi-safe way, assuming that the class is pulled off smartly. But on the other hand, this is really a bad time of year to be trying something like this out for the first time. Where I live it’s supposed to get close to 90° tomorrow, and even later in the evening when the class is supposed to go on it’s only going to cool off to around 80°. While I’m one of those crazy people that likes the warm weather (it’s one of the main reasons I moved here), a lot of dancers I know don’t, so I can see the weather being a potential problem for them.

Also, looking at the forecast on my phone, there is the threat of thunderstorms tomorrow evening, which could shut the whole thing down. Regular rain might be OK, or even welcome if it is really warm, but if you throw lightning into the mix then it’s not as amusing.

The class is supposed to be teaching some Cha-Cha. Have you ever tried to do Cha-Cha out on a street or parking lot in regular shoes? Believe it or not, I actually have. While a lot of the movements should be OK if kept to a reasonable pace, good turns are going to be pretty impossible. Sneakers aren’t really meant to spin on the blacktop, even if the bottom tread has been worn down like mine have been.

(Note: I have a habit of doing rotations and turns while I stand, like if I’m waiting in line somewhere. Every single pair of non-dance shoes that I own is completely smooth underneath the balls of my feet because of this habit. Every. Single. Pair. No regrets!)

If this class goes well and a lot of people have fun, I can see other studios in the area looking at following the model to set up classes of their own outdoors. I know there’s demand from the dance community in my area to get back out there, so I think that the registration for the class will fill easily as soon as they start letting people sign up. The studio isn’t too far away from where I live, so maybe if I don’t manage to register for the class I can just go and hang out along the sidelines to see people. I haven’t seen people in so long…

On the competition front, I heard that the one Pro/Am competition in the western half of the country that was planning on being the first big-ish competition to run after the lock down had to be cancelled. They were supposed to start their event in a couple of weeks, but then the stay-at-home order for their state got extended until the end of this month, so that shut down all their plans. I don’t know if a lot of people had signed up for that event or not since seeing registration numbers for Pro/Am competitions is a hit-or-miss thing. I was curious to see if they posted any pictures from that event so that I could gauge what their turnout looked like. That would have given me some clue about how eager people actually are to get back into competing.

The next competition that I have seen that is still planning on going on isn’t until mid-July. It’s another Pro/Am event over on my side of the country. I actually looked it up, and it’s only a nine-hour drive for me if I want to go watch in person. I don’t think I’ll be going, but I will probably put a note in my calendar for that weekend to look and see if they post pictures from that event to see what kind of turnout they had. I’m curious to see how the ballroom competition industry looks as things start opening back up. Are people going to be brave and go, or will they stay at home and avoid crowds throughout the summer?

I know, I know… even though I don’t follow the news, I have heard about what’s going on in the country. The city where these problems all started? I lived there for several years. I recognize places when I see the pictures of everything that was on fire. It’s weird. Talking about dancing at a time like this seems… disconnected from the reality of the situation we’re facing right now. Hopefully there will be some kind of peaceful resolution to the issues.

Then again, maybe dancing will be helpful? I did hear that a few of the protests going on turned into dance parties, so… maybe dance actually is important to talk about at a time like this?

Whether you’re out dancing in a parking lot while taking a class or out dancing in the streets while getting your protest on, please stay safe.

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