Dance studios keeping the beat alive amid pandemic restrictions
WINNIPEG -- Keeping active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but COVID-19 has made that more of a challenge.
The pandemic has changed the way many people play sports, go to the gym, and participate in dance.
Dance studios have had to undergo some changes in order to adhere to public health guidelines, but they're still finding ways to move to the music.
Maria Rawluk, owner of Drop In Dance Winnipeg, said when COVID-19 first hit, she was forced to close and could only offer online courses.
She resumed in-person classes in phase three of re-opening, but not without some changes.
"Our class capacities [changed] of course, so we're down to 50-percent capacity," said Rawluk. "We've got that fun little grid on the floor, so everyone has their own space without question."
Rawluk said drop-in dancers have to pre-register online now. She's also providing bins to keep people's belongings separate from others and masks are mandatory except for on the dance floor.
"I think it gives people a sense of normalcy to be able to come back and be in the studio and dance, instead of just being stuck in their homes," she said.
Ted Du signed up at Drop In Dance Winnipeg just before the lockdown.
He's glad he still has a place to bust a move during the pandemic.
"Drop In Dance and Maria put lots of effort into protecting everyone in the community, and also the dancers," said Du.
Royal Dance at the Forks is located in The Forks Market and offers dance classes for all ages in various styles.
Kendra Blake, the owner, said although the studio had to implement some changes due to COVID-19, dance is still a really great pandemic activity.
"There's no ball being passed around. There's no contact like in karate or judo or something like that. So they're able to do the whole class more or less how it was done before," said Blake.
Dance Manitoba is an organization that promotes the development of dance throughout the province.
Recently it had to cancel its Maximum Impact Dance Challenge event due to gathering size restrictions.
President of the Board of Directors for Dance Manitoba, Claire Marshall, said it had several meetings online with the dance community to talk about cleaning protocols and what to do to stay healthy.
"Lots of dancers and dance studios throughout the summer found ways to continue their summer programming [and] modify what they could," Marshall said.
Rawluk said her changes have been working, and she plans to keep her student's feet shuffling to the beat.
"If they want to dance, just know this is a safe space where they can come dance."