As states across the country begin looking at reopening their economies and returning to normal life activities, it’s time to begin asking what activities you will participate in when quarantine lifts in your area. For many dancers, this means making decisions about which dance activities are safest to participate in. Is a summer dance intensive still a safe option? Or would a dance competition be safer?
When determining the safety of any activities during this challenging time, a few of the things to consider are the number of people to whom you will be exposed, the facilities where the activities will be held, and the overall cleanliness of the activity. Will social distancing guidelines be observed, or will that even be possible given the environment? From a financial perspective it’s also important to determine what happens if an activity is unable to be held.
Based on these considerations, here are a few reasons why we believe a summer dance intensive is a safer option for dancers this summer than a dance competition or contest.
- Limited Class Sizes – at Joffrey Ballet School, our intensives are limited to class sizes of only about 25 students. We hold our intensives in large studio spaces, which generally make it possible for us to observe appropriate social distancing of approximately 6 to 10 feet of space between each student. You will only be exposed to these dancers and those you may interact with in the dorms for the duration of a week (or more) long intensive. In a dance competition, on the other hand, as many as 500 to 1,000 individual dancers and teams will share the stage and venue with limited time between numbers. Through the course of a competition day, you could be exposed to hundreds of other dancers, audience members, judges and others, making a competition a potentially riskier activity in terms of virus spread than a smaller intensive. Overnight stays in hotels could expose you even more.
- Effective Sick Policies – A major disadvantage of a dance competition is that dancers may be so motivated to compete and win that they may not self-isolate if they begin experiencing symptoms of illness. There’s no guarantee that anyone will be checking contestants and others as they enter the venue to ensure they aren’t exhibiting a fever or other symptoms. Most competitions don’t have a policy to ensure that dancers who are ill are kept away if they are symptomatic. At Joffrey, if one of our dancers is ill, they are required to stay in the dorm until their symptoms improve. If they are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, parents will be notified in order to make arrangements to return home or make decisions about medical assistance.
- Clean Facilities – Before each intensive and between each class, Joffrey staff diligently clean and disinfect all practice and performance spaces to ensure that our facilities are as clean as possible. This includes wiping down all floors, barres, mirrors, door knobs and surfaces in general, after each class with medical grade sanitizer. We also partner with third party organizations such as universities for our housing and food service options. These facilities are also kept clean and disinfected by those organizations to restrict disease transmission. At a crowded dance competition with hundreds or thousands in attendance, there’s no way to ensure that facilities are kept clean and disease free at all times.
- Insurance to Protect Tuition / Fees – Most dance competitions are unable to process refunds in the event that a competition can’t be held due to social distancing regulations. And there’s no insurance policy that can protect your entrance fees. At Joffrey, we’ve solved this problem by partnering with A+ Program Protection to provide insurance to protect our dancers’ and their families’ investments should we be forced to cancel a summer intensive session. Just $99 safeguards your tuition and travel expenses if a dancer or their parents loses their job, becomes ill or are unable to attend our intensives. Pandemic and epidemic claims ARE INCLUDED. However, please note that we are unable to process refunds due to our contractual obligations to the third party organizations that host our intensives. Therefore, we strongly recommend purchasing insurance for any summer dance intensives you consider attending this summer.
At Joffrey, we understand how challenging it is for dancers and their families to determine what the best course of action is for summer plans. But when considering the evidence about limited class sizes, facility cleaning, sick policies and insurance, it’s clear that a summer dance intensive is a safer option than a dance competition.
Why be crammed into a competition venue with hundreds of other dancers, parents, judges and observers when you can attend a week-long dance intensive with just 25 other students and a renowned master instructor who provides one-on-one corrections to help you improve? Register today to audition online for one of our summer dance intensives across the country, and get ready to have the best summer of your life!