OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Since the pandemic first began this past spring, the entertainment industry and performing arts has been one of the hardest hit industries.
Now with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the state, dancers right here in Oklahoma are doing everything they can to stay safe while still expressing themselves.
“It’s definitely much better to be in person. There’s something special about being in person and dancing with the people you love,” said dancer Riley Rowland.
The dancers at Dove Dance Academy are trading their typical studio floor for concrete.
“The rise in numbers this week in the state of Oklahoma with COVID cases greatly concerned me,” said Daphne Cooper, Dove Dance owner. “I felt that having 55 dancers in a 2,000 square foot dance room, although it’s very large, just didn’t settle right with me.”
Nearly 55 dancers, from kids to teens, are dancing in lines while masked up.
Cooper made the decision to switch things up by moving their Christmas show practice outside.
“Of course, you’re always concerned in the back of your mind about another shutdown,” Cooper said. “Physical safety and health is so important, but so is their mental health and their social skills. So, finding that balance has been a challenge but I think we’re doing alright.”
The dancers went back to dancing in their studio again this summer, after months of practicing on zoom.
While disappointed, the girls say they adapted to the challenge.
“I was so worried when all of COVID happened that I wouldn’t be able to express myself anymore,” said dancer Emery Stewart.
And today, they are still thankful to have a creative outlet to share with those they love, all while staying safe.
“Dance is the way that I express myself. It’s the way I express my emotions. I’m just really thankful that even in this crazy time we still get to come and rehearse outside,” Rowland said.
“Even if it is outside, we still get to be together as a community,” Stewart said.
Dove Dance says they’ve made changes inside the studio as well by taking temperatures when people come in, and having the girls wear masks when they’re not dancing.
But since cases have started to rise again the last few weeks, the owner has asked the girls to now wear their masks at all times.