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Dance studios find ways to keep moving their feet during COVID-19

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop, local dance studios in Grand Island keep moving their feet, despite the many challenges they’ve faced during these last few months.

Covid-19 won’t stop 9-year-old Hayden Andreasen, from dancing. ”It’s my passion,” said Andreasen.

Hayden’s a performer at Step It Up Dance Academy in Grand Island. She specializes in every genre of dance, but she has her favorites.

“Jazz and musical theatre,” said Andreasen. “I’m just a sass.”

When the pandemic initially hit, Andreasen practiced at home for months. She would learn dance routines through a screen, while instructors taught her through Zoom.

“It was hard but I progressed a little bit in my dancing,” said Andreasen.

That’s all Step It Up Owner Jody McKee tried to do with her students when they went virtual, but it was difficult.

“Overnight I had to learn how to do Zoom,” said Step It Up Owner Jody McKee. “I had to learn how to teach parents and their dancers how to operate Zoom and make those classes go virtual.”

The owner of Create 308, also in Grand Island, said this was the hardest part, “I loved Zoom but not being able to be in the classroom with the kids, the energy is so different, learning how to give them feedback as an instructor, and make it a valuable experience for them.”

For the dancers, the hardest part was not being able to see their friends.

“There’s a different type of energy with my friends because we all can relate to each other, and it’s just a good time,” Aubree Moritz, Dancer at Create 308.

Both studios have returned to in-person classes and have several precautions in place. At Step It Up, parents aren’t allowed in the lobby, drinking fountains are closed and hand sanitizer is provided. The studio also started with 95 dancers, now they have 64.

“Some parents, I think, are still a little fearful of the COVID-19,” said McKee.

Even though it’s been tough lately, Mckee’s dream keeps her going.

“This is my business,” said Mckee. “This is my dream, and I had to keep pushing forward. This was just an obstacle. I had to just change the way that I did it.”

Some dance competitions were cancelled due to COVID-19, but dancers are getting ready for next season.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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