Vernon studio holds virtual dance classes amid COVID-19

City Dance Okanagan is offering half-price private classes, and free group classes every Friday

A Vernon dance studio still very much on its feet amid COVID-19.

Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner, owners of City Dance Okanagan, have equipped their dance floor space to hold virtual dance classes via Zoom, a video communications app that’s risen in popularity due to the pandemic.

“We’ve had to purchase and add equipment and basically turn it into a production studio rather than a dance studio,” Stranks said.

The studio offers free dance sessions every Friday—excluding Good Friday—and mixes up the dance routine each week. Next up is a beginner tango class on April 17.

The studio is also maintaining private lessons online, at half the regular price during this time of physical distancing.

“It’s been amazing, more of a reaction than we thought,” said Stranks. “People are pretty excited about being able to do dance lessons in the privacy of their own home.

In addition to learning a variety of dance styles in the comfort of their own homes, participants have a chance to socialize with others before and after the virtual classes begin.

“The feedback we’ve been getting is it’s just so good to have a diversion, to do something different.”

Stranks says one positive to come out of online dance classes has been the ability to reach people far and wide.

“The nice thing is we’re accessing people from other areas as well, not just Vernon.”

Would-be Zoom dancers don’t need much set-up to join in. Aside from a device to access Zoom, participants need only push their furniture aside and clear a three-by-four metre space to follow along with the steps.

“Of course they’re not going to be able to do a great big ballroom quick-step, but that’s certainly lots of space for us to be able to get them started,” Stranks said.

City Dance primarily teaches partner dances, but if you don’t have a partner with you in self-isolation, Stranks says that’s no problem; instructors adapt the steps for any solo dancers who join the class.

If a handful of people in self-isolation want to have their own private class, City Dance can arrange that as well.

Visit City Dance Okanagan’s Facebook page to find free Zoom link, sign up for private classes or view updates on scheduling and dance routines.

READ MORE: From Zumba to ZOOM-ba: Vernon fitness studio moves classes online amid COVID-19

READ MORE: COVID-19: Armstrong gym fined $345 after failure to close

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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