With one in four Americans under a “shelter in place” order, many schools across the country have been ordered to close in order to create “social distance” and slow the spread of CoVid-19. Keep in mind all of those orders are based upon worst case studies (which have never in American recorded history transpired) and not the probable reality of the current circumstances.
Joffrey Ballet School in New York City is among them. But even though we’re following the directives of local, state and Federal authorities, that doesn’t mean we’re taking a “Corona-cation.” In fact, it’s just the opposite. We’re working harder than ever before to find ways to support our dancers through this outbreak.
We realize that for all of our dancers, this time of social distancing has a big impact on the plans you had for this spring.. Performances are being canceled, and you may be unable to attend your normal classes at your dance studio or school. You may even be worried about your family and friends who may fall ill or unable to work.
But one thing you don’t have to worry about is whether Joffrey will be here for you this summer. We are working hard to support our trainees and year round students through distance learning and to ensure that this summer’s dance intensives will continue on schedule.
Here’s how we’re helping our dancers “Keep Calm and Dance On” despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
Distance Learning with Joffrey
Our year round Ballet and Jazz & Contemporary trainee programs deliver thousands of hours of dance training from some of the world’s best dance professionals and master instructors. Now we are beginning the process of moving that training online! Over the last few weeks, we videotaped many of our most popular dance training classes and are currently editing the video for use in our online training.
Within the next two weeks, we’ll begin rolling out this online training to all of our students – from the children’s and beginner level, up through pre-professional trainees. If you’re a registered student or trainee, you can expect these online classes to be delivered via email. These online classes will not just include lectures but dance instruction and correction so that dancers can continue to improve their form and enhance their technique.
We believe that with focused individual practice and online training, our trainees and students can become stronger, more flexible and ready to take their dancing to the next level when life returns to normal.
Tuition and Travel Insurance
One of the most challenging aspects of the coronavirus outbreak for many of our dancers and their families is the uncertainty regarding the future. Will your future plans – such as attending a summer dance intensive – be disrupted? Will your flights be canceled? What if a dancer or family member becomes ill and is unable to attend the planned intensive, or needs to return home due to an emergency?
Uncertainties like these can seem overwhelming and Joffrey is here to help. We’re working with A+ Program Protection to protect our dancers and their families from financial loss, should the unthinkable happen. For just $99, you can purchase insurance that safeguards your tuition and travel expenses in the event that a dancer or their parents lose their job, become ill or are unable to attend our intensives. Pandemic and epidemic claims ARE INCLUDED.
That said, we are unable to process refunds on our pre-paid summer dance intensive registrations due to the nature of our business. We work with dozens of colleges and institutions around the country to obtain studio space, housing and meal service for our students. We are contractually obligated to commit to and pay for these services in advance. Because we cannot offer refunds, we strongly suggest that families purchase tuition and travel insurance to protect their tuition investment.
Focus on Hygiene and Health
We have always taken the protection of our dancers, instructors and community seriously . We also believe that the coronavirus is only a temporary setback – for us and for you. That’s why our goal is to return to normal business operations as soon as it is safe to do so. We anticipate that will happen well before our summer dance intensives are scheduled to begin in June.
We’ll be following the directives of local authorities, so in the event that one of our summer dance intensives is unable to be held in its scheduled location, we may move the dancer’s enrollment to one of the other 2020 programs to which they have been admitted. Dancers will be kept up to date regarding any changes by their Artistic Directors.
And of course, when our in-person classes and intensives do resume, we’ll be focusing vigorously on ensuring that our dormitories, classrooms and studio spaces are clean and healthy. Frequent wipedowns and disinfection of all surfaces before and after each class will be a key focus. Should a dancer display symptoms of any illness, they will be instructed to remain in the dormitories and their parents will be contacted.
Keep Calm and Dance On
Lastly, we think it’s important to help our dancers keep a positive mindset about their dance training in challenging times like these.
Winston Churchill once said that “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Look for the opportunity within the difficulties you may be facing now. The dancers who are successful in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak will be the ones who stayed laser focused on their goals, continuing to learn and practice despite the challenges they faced. Courage and persistence are always your best tools for overcoming difficulties. That’s true whether your goals are to dance at a professional level someday, or to pursue any other academic or professional path.
As for all of us at Joffrey, we’re going to stay focused on our objectives too: supporting our dancers and helping them train for their futures. That means continuing to do what we have always done – provide the world’s best and most diverse dance instruction to dancers who are truly serious about their art. And we are planning to get back to doing that this summer in cities across the country. Hope to see you there!