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Dance teachers learning to guide without touching

May 21, 2020

Dance teachers learning to guide without touching

Dancers are pleased to have room to move again in their studios despite Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Brianna Stewart.

Teaching dance without touching is a new skill for dance teachers to learn thanks to Covid-19.

Auckland’s Doyle Academy dance students return to the studio this week under strict sanitary conditions.

Teacher Paula Doyle, who co-owns the studio with her sister Leeann Doyle, says it was surreal seeing all the girls in person after teaching online for two months.

Mrs. Doyle says she has had to learn to adjust her teaching style to fit government guidelines.

“It is really hard not to physically help the dancers by giving them a hand or correcting their position,” says Mrs. Doyle.

Mrs. Doyle says the cleaning processes in the studio have changed, with high touch surfaces wiped down regularly and classes staggered to allow time for cleaning in between.

Classes have also been split into two groups to minimise class numbers.

Doyle’s student, Keely O’Grady, says she appreciates the studio space more after having to make do with training in her garage over lockdown.

Miss O’Grady says her fitness levels have decreased because their online classes focused primarily on nailing technique, rather than moving around the stage.

The new class structure has students dancing on the floor individually to maintain distance, which means the teacher is watching her the whole time.

“It’s a lot more tiring because you’re putting in maximum effort the whole time,” says Miss O’Grady.

Although she is appreciative of the opportunity to be in the studio again, she is frustrated that the cleaning requirements and contact restrictions mean her classes are shorter than usual.

“That’s annoying because I’m not getting the time I would like to be able to dance in that space.”

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