Dancers are used to practicing in a full studio with mirrors, a proper dance floor, and most importantly, with other dancers. COVID-19 has taken those luxuries away.
However, the virus isn’t stopping a local dance group from finding a way to perform together while apart.
For Jenna Park, dance is everything.
“Dance is like my whole life. I started dancing when I was 7 and I’m going to be 18 later this year,” said the Kapolei High School senior.
The coronvirus has essentially taken away her senior year, which has been a hard pill to swallow.
“It has been a little bit rough because I am senior, so being able to dance with them… I’m going to cry,” Park said about what dance has meant to her in 2020.
Zoe Porlas-Silva dances with Park. They both say dance is their escape.
“Not being able to do the things I want to do, it’s just so great that I can take a break from all this and just dance,” Porlas-Silva said.
Philip Amer Kelley-Crawford is their dance instructor. He wasn’t going to let the coronavirus stop him from teaching, so he decided to start teaching on Zoom.
“They always say it’s something to look forward to. I do have a day job and I work as well, and then I make time for these girls because guess what? I do look forward to it too. I love seeing these kids’ faces on that little screen,” Kelley-Crawford said.
Teaching dance online wasn’t easy. The dancers can’t see each other like usual, and they have to work with small spaces.
“It’s weird being a teacher because dance teachers are very hands-on. We want to make sure that our kid’s feet are turned out, that their standing alignment is correct, but I’m not there to help them. I’m not there to help them stretch. I’m not there to help them warm-up,” he said.
Despite the physical distancing, Kelley-Crawford coached his dancers through the choreography, and the result was incredible.
“Oh my gosh, I was in tears,” he said when asked about his reaction to seeing his students dance in-sync for the first time through distance learning.
For his students, the living room dance classes are perhaps teaching them a more important life lesson.
“The song makes you feel like you’re not alone, that’s basically what it talks about. So being able to dance with them and see all of us all together on the screen, it just makes me feel like we’re all not alone, like we’re all in this together and we all have each other,” Park said.