Some Bellevue College classes have been going back to in-person, including our dance classes. I interviewed one of our dance instructors, Laura Peterson, to learn more about how our dance classes work.
Our current dance classes this quarter include ballet and contemporary dance and “they’re actually working a lot like normal,” Peterson said. “We had been all year, of course, online on Zoom, and so we had to adapt to that. But now we’re back in the studio.”
There are some differences, however. As she explained, “We have to be masked. We’re … a vaccinated campus.” Another restriction includes staying three feet apart from each other (it was previously six feet). Due to this, Peterson added, “We’re not really allowed to do [any] kind of partnering work at the moment, but that’s okay. I think most of us are kind of used to being away from each other … But thankfully it’s been running about the same.”
One of the restrictions, wearing a mask, may affect your experience dancing, however. “Dance already is hard enough … It gets pretty anaerobic, so you kinda work up your heart rate,” she conceded. “It’s pretty hard to breathe. I give a lot more breaks. Like we stop and just catch our breath a little bit.”
In pre-pandemic times, attending dance classes was very important. You were allowed two excused absences in Peterson’s classes before the absences began affecting your grades. If you felt unwell or were injured, you could sit out and watch the dance classes to make up for your participation grades. However, COVID-19 has changed this. Peterson said, “Right now, I ask that students, even if you have a little bit [of a] cold, just because you never know, to stay at home. And so I have more options for them to make up in different ways, which include dancing at home and recording themselves.”
“We are also already starting to do performances again … like Winter quarter, we’ll have our dance showcase,” she explained. “It’s exciting. It feels new and fresh again to be able to get back onto the stage and start performing again … Of course, campus-wide, you will have to wear masks. Dancers will have to wear masks on-stage and audience members will have to wear masks.”
There were some dance class cancellations due to insufficient student registrations this past quarter. These classes include jazz dance, tap dance, and one of the ballet classes. If you feel comfortable and safe doing so, register for dance for this upcoming quarter! There are exciting and fun experiences in store for you!