As we all know, 2020 was an intense and crazy year. It was sometimes devastating, sometimes infuriating, but still–there were moments of joy found last year.
I taught my final in-person dance classes for Dance Daze, Inc. on March 14, 2020, almost exactly one year ago. I remember the date because it was a “Dance Daze Demo Day,” a special day on which we had small, informal in-studio observation for parents and family members. Dance Daze Demo Day acted as a small performance opportunity for all of our studio students, who may or may not have been able to participate in the other performance opportunities I was working to increase over the past 2 years.
Like everyone, I thought we would be back for classes in a few weeks, right after our scheduled break between our Winter Session ending and our Spring Session beginning. Of course, the Coronavirus had other plans, and I was wrong.
Throughout 2020, I offered a number of online dance classes and worked to create tons of dance-related content for kids. Besides a few very casual Instagram Live ballet barre classes for adults that I did on my personal Instagram, I never taught any live classes for Dance Daze, Inc. over the past year. I wasn’t interested in teaching live dance classes for a number of reasons.
First, like everyone, I was pretty burned out on all the mandatory meetings I’d been having on Zoom. I was already meeting remotely for online classes for my Doctor of Education program, for a remote social media and communications job I had last year, and also for monthly board meetings with a non-profit dance organization for which I am the Marketing Associate. I didn’t feel that adding on dance classes would spark joy for me.
Second, I really saw creating a digital library of dance classes for kids as a fun and challenging opportunity. Because of Dance Daze Online and the Dance Daze, Inc. YouTube Channel, I was able to develop my video creating and editing skills (minimal though they may be…) for the past year and explore creativity in this new way. I enjoyed having the responsibility of recording 2 to 3 dance classes per week in a variety of styles and the self-created obligation of getting each of those classes edited and uploaded within about a week for a full year. I wanted to keep focusing on this.
Third, I feel pretty awkward and shy on camera and I didn’t feel that the “magic” I can create easily with in-person dance classes would translate well on screen. I felt that I’d be shy and awkward and my insecurities would show. I knew parents would be watching and judging, not just my dance students, and I didn’t want to feel that awkwardness while teaching. It took me years (years!) to feel comfortable teaching my in-person dance classes with parents watching. Even today, I simply have to pretend they’re not there when a parent (or school administrator, when I’m teaching in a classroom setting) comes to observe or sits through entire classes. I often forget to make eye contact when speaking to parents who are watching class and make a comment to me and I respond. In fact, the idea of “performing” and being “on” is what saves me most of the time when I’m teaching and parents are watching classes. I didn’t know how I’d be able to perform in this way if I was dancing from my kitchen.
Finally, I wanted a break. I work really hard, and I have more obligations and responsibilities than most people are aware. I always want to create a life that I love each day, and I felt that forcing myself to create a program that I didn’t feel 100% certain about might be too much. I’m in a doctoral program, I’ve been working at other jobs, and I was really focused on creating the on-demand library of dance classes. I allowed this to be enough for myself to focus on while the entire world dealt with a pandemic.
And it was enough for me.
However, the creative person that I am, I’m easily inspired.
I’ve been spending tons of time following fellow creators, influencers, and innovators on social media who have started, grown, or catapulted their online dance programs over the past year. While I’ve obviously always known that live dance online dance classes are an option, what really inspired me is the opportunity to create a “work from anywhere” life for myself, while still working within my own business and developing educational dance programs in the way that I see fit and in a way that blends with my business and personal mission and vision.
So, next month, in April of 2021, I’ll be launching live classes for my business and brand, Dance Daze, Inc.
I’ve been spending lots of time considering different video-streaming platforms on which to host the classes. I’ve been looking at various ways to collect online payments. And, of course, the educator that I am, I’ve been considering the best ways to provide engaging classes to people of all ages and to create incredible educational experiences through movement, as I decided would be the mission of Dance Daze, Inc. when I first began this organization over a decade ago.
While I’m clearly an educator who loves teaching dance classes locally at schools and studios, I’m a big, big entrepreneur at heart who loves innovating. Also, I’ve never wanted to be location dependent. So, join me in my attempt to create a new learning opportunity for my students and a new teaching opportunity for me as I delve into the world of teaching dance classes online!
More to come. Stay tuned.