How social dance has to survive social distance through COVID-19

Sara Wasouf / May 5, 2020

A dance student shares a photo of a hip-hop class done through Zoom.

(@sallyvanp / Instagram)

When it comes to Latin partnered dance, social distancing is not an option. And when a pandemic hits, social dancing turns into lone dancing.

On April 15, 2020, the Fraser Health Authority ordered that all fitness studios close due to COVID-19. Since then, all kinds of dance schools closed and many, moved online. For dance schools that offer hip-hop, ballet, and most other dance classes- it hasn’t been too difficult to move from in-person classes to classes taught through programs like Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook. For Latin dance however, it’s been a little harder to adapt.

Salsa dance student Oksana Savchuk lives alone, but she has found a way to practice without a partner by focusing on the limited solo moves through online videos.

“Hopefully this won’t go on for too long, because solo, you can only learn so much and then you need a partner to dance with.” – Oksana Savchuk, Latin dance student

And she still gets up, turns on her laptop, and practices because there is something that motivates her to keep dancing.

“It sounds corny but… there’s the feeling of being in love and no matter what, you just don’t want to let it go. This is how I feel about dancing.”

Oksana Savchuk, Latin dance student finds a way to continue dancing at home, despite living alone.

(Oksana Gemini / Facebook)

Salsa Studio owner and dance instructor Roger Chen continues teaching Salsa and Bachata through YouTube videos.

(@afsoonrz / Instagram)

Many Latin dance schools still resorted to using online methods to continue their work, including Salsa studio in Vancouver that now offers Salsa and Bachata dance tutorials through YouTube. But with the nature of the dance requiring a partner, Salsa studio owner and dance instructor Roger Chen says he isn’t very hopeful that many will practice at home.

“If you social dance or if you have gone to dance parties, in social dance environments, you’ll know that it’s the people that are there that create the energy for you to want to dance in the first place.” -Roger Chen, Salsa Studio dance instructor

Roger posted his first tutorial on March 27, a month after his school closed. In the videos, he teaches how to dance with a partner. So only those living with a partner who dances can practice the moves. For dancers like Oksana living alone, this doesn’t cater to them.

A list of local Latin dance schools offering solo or partnered dance classes through programs like Zoom, YouTube, and Instagram.

(Sara Wasouf)

With the Provincial Government now announcing plans of returning to normal life in the coming months, there is hope that dance schools will reopen sometime in June.

As of now, here are a few Latin dance schools offering online classes.