The COVID-19 pandemic has put many extracurricular activities on hold, and those that didn’t had to switch things up a bit in order to stay safe, such as Bellows Free Academy St. Albans’ dance team. BFA’s dance team has been working both in person and online to perfect their routines. Though obviously the situation wasn’t ideal, especially for a sport like dance that requires a lot of physical movement, the team made the most of it.
According to BFA’s dance coach, Alexis Kamitses, the dance team has been meeting since Martin Luther King Jr. Day and finished the season last week. Using Zoom and other apps, the team was able to do virtual workout sessions, team building exercises and discuss their goals for the year. Students were also challenged to critique their performances and take note on areas of difficulty as well as work on modifications to deal with limited space at their homes.
Even though the virtual rehearsals had several downsides, such as space and home distractions, they also, “challenged dancers to take more ownership of their learning and created opportunities for self-reflection on their own desires to improve their performance,” said Kamitses.
However, despite the merits of online learning, the team was much more excited for their in-person rehearsals.
“It was a little bit of a saving grace to get to dance in person again as we have all been home a lot,” said Kamitses.
Those in-person practices, complete with masks and social distancing, took place at Collins Perley Sports Complex. The team also made efforts to dance safely by editing their choreography to fit the public health restrictions, meaning no more partner work or group stunts.
In the end, the team’s efforts paid off, with BFA placing fourth and sixth respectively for hip-hop and jazz at the state finals (by submitting videos of their performances). In a normal year, that hip-hop placement would have earned them a spot at the New England Regional Championships, which would have been the first time in BFA’s history. Unfortunately, the competition was cancelled for this year due to COVID-19.
Regardless, it was a prime example of how, despite the challenges of this year, sports teams can still be successful.