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Dancing Through COVID

Starting at the beginning!

2020 was looking to be the best year yet. Student numbers were the best they had ever been and we were excited for all the amazing things to come. Little did we know that it would be a year like no other and not in the way we thought. News of a virus in China was just starting to come too light, but it was so far away and we didn't think much of it.

Term 1 started and wow it was exactly what we through it would be, enrolments were flying in and it was well on it way to being my most successful year running my business. Everything that I had worked so hard to achieve over the last 9 years. Life was so good, teaching was amazing and running the business was so exciting. News that covid was starting to spread around the world started to take over every news outlet but here is New Zealand it didn't feel completely real YET! Mid March 2020 the government introduced a new 4 level system which meant we could end up in lockdown but I think at that stage no one actually knew what that would look or feel like. 25th March 2020 they announced that we would be going to level 4 which meant stay at home, don't go out unless getting food or seeing a doctor. As a business owner who taught dance and had social interaction all day everyday this was so distressing as I had no idea what the next year would look like and how I could keep my business going. I cried so much thinking that was the end of everything I had worked for but little did I know it was the easiest part of our COVID journey.

The world was in a complete lockdown and everything and everyone all around the world was slowly moving to this new way of communication called Zoom. For me the thought of teaching dance over a video call was overwhelming and scary. At first I wanted to wait out the lockdown, it couldn't last forever could it? I had all these thought of how I could make up lessons missed and how this would all look moving forward. To be honest it was the unknown, the new, the feeling of being out on control that got me the most. I had put off the idea of Zoom all together until one of my private lesson students asked me to do a private lesson over Zoom to go over some of her solos as she was doing online competitions (who know that would have ever been a thing). So there I was trying zoom for the first time. The experience was nothing how I imagined it to be, we got so much done and had so much fun and just being able to see my students was so good and gave me a sense of normal. I decided that I would move all my term 2 classes onto this new thing called Zoom. Some of my clients were on board but a lot of them found it strange and wasn't interested. I guess for them it was so new and as no one knew how long lockdown would last just didn't see the point. What most people forgot was that just because we were in lockdown didn't mean that all my bill disappeared. I still had to pay rent for two studio so many of my clients decided to just wait out the lockdown and then return once we went back to the studio. This put a lot of stress and anxiety onto an already strange, stressful and uncertain time. The only thing that kept my spirits up and kept me going was seeing my students on Zoom and still getting to teach dance.

Lockdown lasted for 6 weeks and when we finally got back to the studio things looked so different, we couldn't hug, we couldn't touch, we couldn't do lifts, parents had to wait outside, everything had to be cleaned over and over and over again but it was the end of COVID (well so a lot of people thought) we made it out the other side. The year carried on and things were looking great, we started show work and a week later we go back into level 3 lockdown, just like that we went straight back to online and started teaching show dances. We didn't know if we would be able to do the show or not but we didn't give up hope and the last lockdown was 6 weeks and we spent 4 of those in level 4 so going into level 3 wasn't that bad. We were right and just like that we we were back in the studio like nothing ever happened. All while the whole world was in lockdown here in New Zealand life seemed pretty normal, we escaped COVID while the whole world was in a complete panic.

Looking back now we were so luck to have been able to do our show and carry on as per normal. Covid felt mostly like a thing of the past. 2021 started and we all celebrated thinking we had overcome COVID and again the year looked bright and full. The year started even better than 2020 and I was excited about the year as could it really get worse than 2020? Just like that news of a new variant starting filling up the tv and news outlets and it was coming closer. Delta creeped its way into New Zealand and we had a short lived lockdown February to March, everyone carried on back on Zoom and we were back in the studio in no time. Things didn't seem too bad. The year went on and we went from strength to strength as a studio we had exams prep happening, show planning was well underway, competition were so fun and we were getting excited for what the year still had coming. Little did we know that all of that was about to change and the year we thought was coming would be worse than what we could have ever imagined.

17 August 2021 we went back into Level 4 lockdown and I think everyone would be with me in saying we through we should be fine 6 weeks from now we will be in the studio again carrying on with show planning. Being a planner first thing I did was contact Hawkins Theatre and get a new date for our show just incase. We started back with online classes and show planning was still in full swing, I was ordering costumes, painted backdrops and started making props. Not once did I think we would not be doing our show, in my mind it would either be our normal date or February so we are fine... let's go! Term 3 was great as from a financial point of view everyone had already paid for a term so we just carried on, as term 4 creeped closer and closer and lockdown didn't seem to be ending anytime soon my anxiety started to get worse and worse as I knew that a lot of my students would not come back in term 4, especially my little ones. It was so hard to get them all to concentrate online and I completely understood from a parents point of view. The worse part was my bills didn't go away, rent didn't stop because I wasn't using the studio. All of a sudden I was operating two studios on a 1 studio income. I was still doing okay because my show will still go on, we wouldn't be in lockdown or restrictions for that long surely?