CHALLENGED: Annabelle participating in the Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.
CHALLENGED: Annabelle participating in the Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.

DANCING QUARANTINE: Teacher’s innovative lessons

THERE may have been no music playing or shoes tapping at the Chinchilla Dance Studio for almost nine weeks, but that hasn’t meant the dancing had stopped completely.

The studio was forced to close their doors on March 18 and cancel classes, due to government restrictions in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Dance teacher Asha Josland said it’s been a year like no other, but closing is what they had to do.

“For our first week of cancellation, it was really tricky to make the call,” she said.

“We never want to cancel classes, but we will always put the health and safety of our students and their families as top priority.

Still passionate about their students, Ms Josland didn’t want them to miss out, so she came up with creative ways to keep her students engaged.

The first-week students were encouraged to use their usual dance times to be their parent’s dance teacher.

“They have to teach their parent, or another loved one something they have learnt at dancing this year,” she said.

“It might be one technical movement or a routine they were working on, and students got bonus points if they filmed the dancer and their adult and sent it in.”

During the school holidays, Ms Asha and Miss Kristen also held a photo challenge for their students to participate in.

Daisy during the Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.
Daisy during the Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.

They paired a dance move such as a balance with a place in their homes to perform it, such as in the kitchen.

Other examples included a big jump in the garden, a low-level pose in the bathroom and a floor pose with a pet or toy.

Students were then encouraged to submit their photos in.

“It was definitely a highlight,” Ms Josland said.

“The challenge encouraged them to move and practice some elements of dancing even though we all had to stay home.

“A lot of parents commented that their kids had a so much fun being creative.”

Indianna’s Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.
Indianna’s Chinchilla Dance Studio's photo Challenge.

Amid all the fun and games students have also participated in classes online, which will continue for the mean time.

“We provided online video resources for our students of all ages,” Ms Josland said.

“Students have also been practising the technical skills and choreographic routines that they learnt in their classes before we had to close.

“Our students know that there is no pressure for them to retain what was taught before the lockdown, we will support them to get back up to speed when classes eventually resume.

“We can’t say exactly at this stage when that will be, but we will of course be following the government guidelines. We won’t resume classes until it is 100% safe for our students and their families.”

In the meantime, to lift the their student spirits Ms Josland decorated the studio windows with every students name in a gold star.

“We thought that they would get a kick out of seeing this when they drive past,” she said.

“It was also as a reminder that they have a place of belonging at the studio, as we knew without school and extra-curricular activities, some students might be feeling a little isolated.”

The studio window displaying the stars of the Chinchilla Dance Studio.
The studio window displaying the stars of the Chinchilla Dance Studio.

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