Written by Darian Fauser, Greenwich High School class of 2021
This week, Allegra Dance Greenwich filmed their students performing in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in order to compile their dances into an exciting virtual recital for parents.
Allegra was forced to postpone their annual recital at The Palace Theatre in Stamford to August due to Covid-19. Owner Carrie Page was not satisfied with an August date, and sought out an alternative way for her dancers to perform sooner to conclude their extended spring semester.
Ms Page was able to secure permits from the Town of Greenwich so that from Monday, July 20 to Sunday, July 26, Allegra dancers could perform at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park with the beautiful backdrop of Greenwich Harbor. This allowed for the perfect video for their recital compilation.
After finally reuniting with her students this past Monday, Page has been extremely cautious abiding by social distancing guidelines. She explained that when students arrive at the park, “they get their temperature taken, they go and find their circle, they have a health questionnaire so that if they’ve visited another state, they have to quarantine for 14 days no matter what state they went to.”
Allegra Dance Greenwich has been doing everything they can in order to continue teaching their students, even if it means dancing in a virtual setting. Since March, they have been holding 45 minute dance classes on Zoom.
Continuing classes was extremely important to Page. She explained how she interacted online with owners of dance studios across the country in order to come up with a solution.
“I’m on Facebook with different dance studios, just kind of picking each other’s brains as to what we can do to keep these kids engaged and dancing,” she explained.
Transitioning to virtual classes was a challenge for Allegra, but they were able to successfully teach their students despite the setbacks. Of to her youngest students, who are two and a half years old, Page said, “It was very hard for them to understand the socialization, and that they couldn’t physically touch their friends.”
Additionally, dance teachers are forced to teach everything in a thoughtful way. For instance, on Zoom, if the teacher puts their right hand up, the students see it as their left hand.
Unfortunately, Allegra did lose some students after going virtual. Some were forced to leave because of economic hardship. However, it was mainly the younger dancers who were having trouble navigating Zoom.
In addition to the recital video, Allegra Dance Greenwich also held a costume parade on June 28th at the town hall for students to pick up their costumes while staying safe from Covid-19. The students drove up and collected their costumes from their cars so they didn’t have to go into the studio.
Moving forward, Allegra has come up with multiple different reopening plans for the fall.
One plan is based off of their current Zoom schedule with 45 minute classes and a 15 minute break to clean the dance studio. This plan would utilize just one of their two studios for classes, while the other will be used for checking temperatures and health questionnaires.
The second plan is a semi-normal schedule with two classes going on simultaneously with a break between to clean the studios. Page said based on their square footage and rules of being at least six feet apart, they will have room for 11 students in their larger studio and four students in their smaller studio.
Not only was the virtual recital an innovative, safe solution, it was heartfelt for Page who grew up taking lessons at Allegra herself.
She recalled dancing in an annual, end of year June show in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, in the same spot under the massive metal sculpture where her students were performing.
This was an amazing way to keep Allegra’s legacy alive and continue teaching dance during stressful times.
Despite the challenges of remotely learning and practicing their recital dances, the Allegra dancers were able to come together to perform beautifully.
Allegra Dance Greenwich is located at 37 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830. Tel (203) 629-9162