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How did Covid pandemic change ProAm ballroom dancing world?
Good day dear Dancers!
It is over a year since the start of global Covid pandemic and it has been a long and arduous process for all humankind. People around the world had to learn to look after themselves, to self-quarantine to stop the spread of the virus and stay healthy until the global vaccination rolled out.
Many industries and businesses have completely halted their operations and our beloved dance industry is no exception. Competitions had to take a long break, dance studios closed until further notice, dance lessons on hold and world travel took a very long vacation. But how did it change the ProAm dance industry? What did we learn and what it looks like in the future? Can we see a silver lining in it all?
Here are some thoughts we have and we look forward to hearing from you about your experiences! (Visit our Facebook and Instagram to share)
Dancing always starts with some kind of lessons. Usually it starts with someone starting group lessons with their better-half or friends who simply want to have some fun while learning a dance or two. From there, with the help of Dancing With the Stars popularity, people who really enjoy it, can take individual lessons and start seeing the benefits of dancing with the teacher – Slowly becoming the ProAm community member.
This has obviously seen the largest impact as dance studios have been closed for a long period of time in countries everywhere, leaving ProAm dancers looking for other options for dance learning progression. Some, who could, arranged private lessons in their home, but not everyone can do that. So the logical choice was a rise of Online Lessons via Zoom conferencing (or similar) applications. This proved a popular choice for many as it was also the safest – You could do this anywhere in the world right from your home.
However, does it do a good job replacing the usual Face-to-face dance lessons? We do not believe so. Not fully anyways. Dancing is a social activity, therefore socialising with people comes as a package deal in ProAm ballroom dancing. While online lessons provided the needed continuity in dire times, it did not provide much in terms of socialising and dance feel due to lack of touch and human interaction. But, if life gives you lemons – Make Lemonade! It gave a flicker of light for students to continue their dance learning and provided the teachers with at least some way of survivability for their knowledge and wages.
Events have taken a huge hit as for the time being no events could take place anywhere due to restrictions. Some countries are still not fully back on track at the moment and may continue this draught for some time. However, this situation has also caused organisers around the world to try and innovate their businesses to survive.
Over the past year we have seen a massive increase in Online Dance competitions via Zoom conferencing (or similar) apps. Just like dance teachers started teaching online – Dance organisers have taken up the internet tools for survival.
How were the dance competitions online? Well, not perfect. It is simply not made for dancing as it lacks much needed social aspects. Dance competition is not just about your dance routine or floor or results. It has some other aspects which simply cannot be felt over a camera/computer screen. However, the industry adapted and at least allowed ProAm students around the world to try and continue learning and performing.
So what about benefits? What are they and what can we learn from this experience?
- 1. Online dance lessons gave one big advantage for students – Individual Dance Progression. When usual dance lessons with a teacher take place, students are guided all the way. Teachers usually teach and help the student while dancing together hand in hand. While that feels great, dance students sometimes forget to move and think for themselves, expecting to be guided all the way through their routine. Online dance lessons on the other hand, made it possible for students to be more independent. You are alone at your home, listening to your teacher explain something over the computer screen and then you have to try and do it yourself while your teacher evaluates your moves. Great! We believe that such approach should help students learn to be more “on their own feet” when dancing comes fully back to it’s prior state. And such learning processes can only help to improve. If you learn to be more independent and “in balance” while dancing your routine, while making your steps or holding your hand – your dance “feel” and technique will improve tremendously!
- Dance innovation – Dancing is an old art form. It has been around for so long that sometimes it forgets to innovate. Over this pandemic, a lot of new “technical” innovations have been tested and while not all will remain used in the future – It has started the process of Industry wide Innovation. Organisers started re-evaluating their options, teachers learned new techniques on social dance teaching, students learned to adapt and use technology more. New ideas, portals, websites and shops – all this will help the dance industry improve in the future.
- Breaks can be good, you know? We mean it! Sometimes taking a break (even if it is longer than expected and not of your own choosing…) is a good thing! It helps you re-evaluate your goals and perceptions. It helps you to reflect on what you enjoy and what can be done better or adjusted. It also makes you fall back in love with what you do because you miss it so much over the break. Will everyone who danced before the pandemic come back to the dance floor? Probably not. Will new students join the ranks of already big ProAm community? Unlikely, for a time being. However, what it has done is strengthen the ProAm industry and made true Dance enthusiasts fall in love with dancing even more!
What the future holds?
We are optimists and believe that nothing can beat Dancing! True dancers will always find a way to survive and continue performing. Professionals, teachers and organisers will fight tooth and nail to keep their careers and businesses. ProAm students who truly love dance and all it provides will never give up their dreams and will continue performing.
As vaccinations in many countries are already rolling out on a massive scale, it is only a question of when, not if, dance industry will be fully re-started. Live Competitions are already taking place in numerous countries with new Health and Safety protocols in place to secure the participants. Couples have re-started their training, some countries have allowed dance studios to re-open in some areas. So the future is bright!
Even if your country might not be there yet, it will come around. Let’s stay patient and healthy until we can ensure a safe re-start. And once you begin again – Learn to love what dancing provides! Become stronger and better at what you do. Appreciate your teachers and dance studios. Go to dance competitions you enjoy and show what you learned over the break! Meet your old friends, dance colleagues and embrace the social aspects of dancing. After all, dancing is a social platform to make friends and help us all enjoy life while staying fit and healthy!
We hope you enjoyed this short article and will help us by sharing it with your friends! We would also love to hear from you about your experiences over the past year. You may go to our Facebook and Instagram and give us a comment!
Until next time!
Founder of ProAmNews