Dance recitals are a fun way for families and friends to get together and watch thriving dancers show off the skills they’ve been working on. However, for the students of Dancesations Dance Academy, this year has been very special.
That’s because it was the first time in two years that the St. Catharines-based studio was able to hold an in-person recital at Club Richelieu on River Road in Welland on May 29.
The recital saw 80 students take part in approximately 60 dance numbers, and the performances were followed by a carnival and games.
“It was a very special way to thank all the parents and kids who stuck with me through the pandemic,” dance studio owner Tracy Lampman said.
“It would have been very easy to allow their kids to quit smoking and not bother, and I would have ended up shutting down, that’s for sure.”
When Lampman was planning the recital several months ago, she was unsure if an indoor recital would be allowed, so she thought an outdoor recital would be well received.
“I live in Welland and I walk past (Club Richelieu) all the time and I know the size of the stage. It was the best place.
Dance mom Vanessa Levay credits Lampman with keeping students, including her daughter, Molly, engaged when Niagara, along with the rest of the world, was under lockdown orders due to COVID-19.
“I was so grateful to (Lampman) and the instructors and the other dancers who went on. It gave (my daughter) an outlet for physical and mental health.
Levay added that Dancesations Dance Academy is a small studio that has managed to stay afloat while others have closed during the pandemic.
“I think that says a lot,” she said.
The studio continued to pivot to adapt to pandemic restrictions. The studio has small class ratios and a portable dance floor, which was set up outdoors when students could practice together in person.
“We kept changing things up so they would keep wanting to appear on the TV screen for us until we could get back to class,” Lampman said.
When the dancers couldn’t practice in person, they met each week via zoom, and the instructors gave them weekly challenges, including sending funny photos, inviting parents to a virtual class and other fun weekly challenges, she added.