Back to Dance!
With plans for the fall beginning to take form, we wanted to share some information that we hope will be helpful in your planning. Below you will find information for teaching dance in-person and virtually.We want to make sure to provide a safe space for our students and leaders, so please use your state/city/county guidelines as a bare minimum while you design your class time. Scroll to the bottom of the page for links to individual state COVID19 guidelines.
Remember that dancing is fun! Dance ministry is a powerful way to share the love of Jesus with students. Keep Jesus the focus and have fun!
In-Person Dance Classes
- Set an entry procedure: Use hand sanitizer as the students enter the room, require masks and only bring dance students into the classroom (parents/guardians remain outside the classroom).
- Keep dancers 6-10ft apart (this can be accomplished by using painters tape on the ground to help give a visual guide for dancers to stay spread apart).
- Avoid traveling across the floor. If traveling is necessary, do so one at a time or side by side. Allow each group to finish traveling across the floor before the next group starts.
- Wear masks in rehearsals and classes. Keep in mind that students may need more water breaks due to the extra heat that occurs from wearing a mask. Have extra masks on hand for if a student forgets theirs.
- Avoid partnering, tactile cueing, and floor work.
- Consider holding your class outdoors when weather permits.
- Be open with parents/guardians about all safety measures being taken and what is required of students to maintain safety requirements.
- Take attendance. If someone does get sick, whether in your class or within the building, a clear list of who was present on what day will make notifying families much simpler.
- Decide what platform will work best for you: Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, etc. All platforms work well, use whatever you are most comfortable with!
- Determine the length of your class. Many dance teachers have discussed that longer than 1 hour for virtual learning can become challenging (this can vary depending on the ages of your students).
- Make sure you set up your class links well ahead of time so that you can share it with parents/students. Always begin your class 5-10 minutes early to give students time to figure out how to log in and settle into whatever space they will be dancing in.
- If you share your computer audio (on zoom), the music will come through without any distortion, however, it will make it very difficult for your students to hear your voice. Another option is to use a speaker separate from your computer. Some have found a speaker to be a smoother process so that students can hear your voice and the music.
- Talk with parents/guardians to set expectations.
- Make sure students have access to wifi and a device that will allow them to use whatever virtual platform you’ve decided on.
- Learn a little about what space the student will have to dance, remember that it may be limited and plan accordingly (avoid movement with a lot of traveling unless your students have big spaces to move around in).
- Consider talking to parents/students about what time/day works best for them, remembering that most schedules are modified so your class times may need to be adjusted.
- Create an intentional relationship with the parents/guardians. Keep communication open so they can share any concerns that arise with their child.
- Determine if you’d like to allow a parent/guardian in the room with the dancer (this is most applicable with younger students who may disengage without the assistance of an adult). Also, recognize that not every student will have that as an option.
- If you plan to have the students record themselves, communicate this with the parent. Be sensitive that not everyone wants their child to be included in videos being shared publicly. Respect any restrictions that the parent requests.
- Consider starting each class with an ice breaker when all of your students log in. Younger students especially can be camera shy; a fun game that has them active and seen without any pressure can alleviate some of the awkwardness that the students feel.
- Consider the floor the students are dancing on and help your students protect their feet! Ultimately whatever feels most comfortable to the dancers is the best, but check-in with them. Below are a few suggestions for different floor/footwear options:
- Carpet – socks or dance shoes
- Hardwood floor – bare feet or dance shoes
- Outdoors – sneakers
- For young dancers, focus more on moving and staying active rather than getting too specific with technical training.
- Come prepared. Teaching online can be challenging to hold the attention of students. The more prepared you are, the smoother things will go.
- Don’t get tripped up on right and left; there will be confusion if they are mirroring you or not. If your students are getting confused, remain flexible, and encourage your students to choose a side or direction and stick with it.
- Don’t be afraid to make your class interactive. Dancers gain from watching others in a typical class setting, so when you’re dancing online it’s easy to feel isolated. Give one-on-one feedback like you normally would. Don’t shy away from taking turns dancing in groups or having one student show a specific step. Encourage students to watch and give feedback on what they liked!
- If you are teaching multiple online classes, make sure you allow time for yourself to take a break. Teaching online can be very draining, so be gracious with yourself!
- Expect to have technical difficulties. It’s ok. They can be resolved. Everyone understands.
- Find moments to connect personally. Check-in with your students at the start or end of class. Pray for each other. Connect! Everyone is longing to be in community. Be intentional about finding moments to create that.
Choreographing for Virtual Class/Performances
- Think of choreography as a dance film rather than a normal stage performance. Consider camera angles and how to use unique spaces that your dancers are in (kitchens, back yards, living rooms, etc.) Challenge yourself to think outside of the box.
- Take advantage of this unique time and don’t hold back on your choreography. Use the camera to your advantage, move close at some points, walk in and out of the frame – get creative! Challenge yourself. Your students can have lots of fun playing with the camera.
- If your dancers are supposed to dance in unison, be VERY clear about counts. If you are trying to edit all of their videos together, lining up videos can be challenging if your counts are unclear (I learned this the hard way).
- If you are going to edit your dancers’ videos, iMovie and Adobe Premiere are straightforward editing platforms that allow you to layer multiple videos and sound together.
- Be realistic in your expectations for yourself and for your students. Learning choreography virtually can take longer than in person. Give your students plenty of time to record themselves and send the videos to you. Make sure you encourage them when you see videos of them dancing. The more moments of interaction you can find, the better!
As the leader, you must review, sign, and send your division a copy of The Salvation Army’s KeepSafe guidelines. One-on-one calls are not permitted between adults and minors, so you will need to have a second adult present. Try asking your Corps Officer, parent/guardian, or a Corps volunteer to be on the call – even if they keep their camera off. It’s important that we protect our minors and each other! Any programming involving children (including online programming) must in all cases comply with the all applicable policies including:Social Media and Digital Communications Policy Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children National Policy Statement Guidelines for Use of Social Media With Minors Consent Form
Thank you to Evelyn Stickland RN, Olivia Renkel, Nicole Alvarez & Kellyn Thornburg for your input & expertise!
We encourage you to go above and beyond what the state/city guidelines require in order to provide a clean, welcoming learning environment. This will also aid in providing peace of mind for your participants, parents, and leaders.
COVID19 Guidelines By State