“Dancing Through a Global Pandemic” | FDA and The Coronavirus

Since March of 2020 and the onset of the global pandemic, we here at FDA can honestly say that our dancers have not missed a single beat! Sure, there were most definitely some changes made to both the classroom setting and our Spring Production, but never were we ever more determined to get our dancers up on a stage.

When thinking back to that day in March, with the announcement of the Governor’s executive order to close our doors, I remember knowing that we certainly must follow suit and temporarily shut down the studio. It was during this time that I believed, as we are certainly not on the front line like the essential medical professionals, that it would be awhile before our doors would re-open to simply “teach the art of dance”. BUT after we dug in and completely sanitized the studio, with the help of my amazing staff and daughters, FDA began to video record both technical and chorographical content for class to distribute virtually to our dancers. It was then that I learned just how valuable and essential we truly are. Parents reached out telling us that it was due to the combined effort of the FDA staff and my sheer determination of getting our dancers back on the stage that allowed each and every one of their children the opportunity to maintain a sense of normalcy in their otherwise remarkably disrupted lives.

We Zoomed, taped the floors – socially distanced, temperature checked, masked and sanitized and we followed the CDC guidelines… but most importantly WE DANCED! Upon the lifting of the initial quarantine orders, FDA got its dancers back in the classroom and back in their beautiful costumes so that they could once again take the stage sharing their love and passion for their craft and to dance for their socially distanced friends and families.

I am pleased to say that in this 2022-2023 season we have removed the separating tape from the floor, are making mask wearing optional, and will be back to operating with Pre-Covid procedures in place. We will continue to sanitize and do all in our power to keep our dancers safe and doing what they love!

By Michelle Thomas

Below you will find an article written by WSET as they followed FDA throughout the pandemic!

(WSET) https://wset.com/news/local/local-dance-studio-teaches-virtual-lessons

FOREST, Va. (WSET) – A dance company in our area is taking their lessons to the screen.

Michelle Thomas with Forest Dance Academy knows how important it is to continue dance education during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s why she created virtual dance lessons. Using Zoom, she can instruct her dancers from both the front and rear of the classroom so they can follow along with the proper footwork. When the closure first happened, they recorded choreography for the dancers to learn at home. Now, she says the virtual classes are a way to continue to keep some type of normalcy for the young dancers. “We’re still here,” Thomas said. “We’re still going to be teaching you, getting your choreography to you. We’re going to promise that we’re going to put on that costume that we’ve ordered for you and get into a theater somewhere and perform our show.”  And that is exactly what she and the Staff of FDA did! They have not missed an in-person performance to date, even if the audience was intimate. Thomas says she is excited to have her dancers back in the classroom once all of this is over.