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Baylor Dance Adapts in Times of COVID-19
Connie Ni

"We don’t know.”

And that was the simple truth.

When news came out that fateful Friday of March 13, 2020 that Baylor was going into social distancing procedures, no one knew how to react. The teachers, most of all, were forced to adapt quickly.

Standing in the parking lot of the Ireland Studio Arts Center, Elizabeth Roemer ‘05, company director of Vervè, and Margaret Harman ‘14, artistic director of Vervè, had reassured everyone that while they didn’t know the new plan yet, they would plan accordingly as soon they received definitive news. 

With the majority of the dance program standing in that parking lot, Mary Alex Bachus ‘21 finally asked what had been on every dancer’s mind since the news broke. “But what about Last Chance Dance?” 

It had finally sunk in for everyone in that moment. Yes, school was canceled, but so was our performance, and with it, all the hard work we had put in for the past weeks.

Last Chance Dance is the annual Baylor spring dance production that showcases the new pieces the students worked on. The time to prepare was short, but the showcase was rewarding. 

"At first, I wasn’t sure,” Roemer states. Everyone knew Last Chance Dance was going to change, but no one knew how.

In order to give dancers an opportunity to adjust, Roemer and Harman decided to wait until after break to move forward with the dance program. While Roemer wanted to get the dancers moving, both she and Harman did not want to add any additional stress for the dancers. Currently, the dance program has movement classes over Zoom to get the dancers together once again and move as a community, even while separate in our homes.

Another ongoing project in the dance program is the “chain dance.” It was started in hopes of bringing together both the middle and upper school to create a link of dance videos. There are about 20 people involved in pushing out the project. Despite the distance, the dance program has continued to stick together throughout this time. 

Roemer and Harman have also been examining the possibility of a delayed return to school. “We‘ll just have to examine the way we end up using our time by properly structuring our classes and our rehearsals differently,” Roemer remarks. The program will move forward, albeit a little different. “We would still keep that student choreography part intact,” she says, as student pieces have always been a big focus for the program.

When asked for any final thoughts on the current situation, Roemer voices a thought that exists in every dancer’s mind.

We just miss y’all, and with dance, it is a community thing,” she affirmed. “We may not be able to be in the same space at the moment, but it's [still] nice to still be able to create a connection and move together.”

Over break, a project was coordinated for all interested dancers to record a short video of them dancing, whether to new choreography or older choreography taught to them. The clips were then sent over to Barbara Kennedy in the communications office, who turned to Donna Marie Siegel '14 to edit and put together. This short film will highlight the work the dancers have put in during the spring season and will replace Last Chance Dance in this time of social distancing. Be on the lookout for the video!


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