Everyday after she logs off of on-line school, Francheska Freeds packs her Pointe shoes, leotard, and water bottle into her dance bag. But recently she’s been adding a mask as well.
Freeds, 12, a long time student at On Pointe Dance Studio, is still getting used to the effects the pandemic has had on her favorite hobby, dancing. The dance studio where she dances, On Pointe in Davie, requires that all dancers wear one now.
“The masks are hard to wear, and makes dancing more tiring, but in the end that actually helps improve stamina and forces us to control our breathing,” said Freeds.
Ever since the pandemic, sports and exercise activities have had to alter their practices, and dance is no exception. Masks are proving difficult, but what’s required is required, and there isn’t room to argue.
All students and instructors wear masks at all times and there are social distancing markers in place on the floors of our studio. Closing off the water fountains, offering online classes, and cleaning the studios after every class.
“It has honestly been very tiring trying to prevent COVID cases, but we check out students’ temperatures before they walk in the door and request parents not to enter the building unless they need to do something important,” says Suarez Damaris, founder and owner of On Pointé.
“Even with all the commotion, business has been better than ever and the dancers participating in the in-studio classes are dancing their hearts out everyday,” says Damaris.
Ellie Fant, the founder and owner of Roots Dance Studio, has also made it her mission to provide a safe space for young women to dance throughout quarantine with what feels like their second family.
“With everything that is happening, the pandemic has definitely affected attendance in our group classes, being that our classes are at only 50% capacity,” said Fant.
The remaining students who are unable to attend in-person classes opted for online versions.
But even with all the social distancing, Roots Dance Studio has been closer than ever.
“Our team and staff have gotten much closer and have been more communicative and the girls are so excited to be back together with their friends, doing something fun and something they love,” said Fant. “I think a lot of our dancers who loved dancing before love and appreciate their dance friends and their studio even more now.”
Just like the dancers at Roots, Freeds and her fellow peers successfully wear their masks the entire session, and whenever Freeds needs to take a minute to catch her breath she steps outside for a few minutes.
“You definitely get lightheaded, but we power through. I would rather be dancing in a mask than not dancing at all,” she says.