June 02, 2020
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has disrupted the performing arts community over the past few months. But there’s also been no shortage of innovation, as musicians, dancers and actors apply their creativity to finding new ways to continue performing and teaching online!
Dance Magic Studio in Red Deer is one of many performing arts groups who managed to swiftly respond to the mandated closures back in March. Within two weeks, they managed to transition their 243 weekly live classes to Zoom, providing an opportunity for their 1,350 students to continue online. “We offer dance, music, preschool, and aerial acrobatics, and we’re excited that many of our students were able to come along for the ride”, explains Christine Slaymaker, Director/Owner of Dance Magic. “Even the aerial programs were able to continue with conditioning training, in the absence of apparatus.”
“The Recital experience and annual photo weekends were in jeopardy, but are essential to the overall experience”, states Slaymaker. “We weren’t willing to just drop off and leave the kids without these annual events, and we wanted to continue to employ our team. So we found a way to continue online, and more recently, using social distancing”. This included the online Recital Reimagined, the Front Porch Photo Project (for individual photos), and the Red Carpet Project which honoured over 100 students who reached important milestones this year.
On Recital Reimagined performance days, students were provided with chalk, in order to decorate their sidewalks with and message for their community – “You’re a Star”. Each performance was recorded and added to a movie, and there was even an option of ordering a Gala Box from Bo’s Bar and Grill.
Their mascot, Miss Petunia, has also continued to be active, spreading joy in the community by delivering year-end gift bags to students, and even attending (at a distance) a birthday party. They’ve also been able to continue fundraising for their scholarship program, with close to $2000 raised in the past two months!
Staff and students are looking forward to this year’s summer camp, which has been completely redesigned as an online experience called “Summer Stage”. It will include making props and planning choreography. They hope to be able to meet outside in order to piece it together for a final performance, and the camp could even transition to a classroom setting should that become a possibility within a few months.
“The kids are the real heroes” according to Slaymaker. “They’ve stood tall through disappointment and fear, and are proving that perseverance thrives in a positive mindset!”
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