Emily Buckley, editor in chief
When businesses across the state of Utah and far beyond were required to shutter their doors in mid-March to help “flatten the curve” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many were able to easily transition their employees to do their work at home and others were considered essential and able to keep things rolling along. Dance studios fell somewhere in between and were left to either put things on hold or get creative so the show could go on.
Lisa Preece, owner of Dance Illusion in Logan, went right to work learning how to utilize online platforms like Zoom and YouTube to provide her more than 500 students with lessons they could take part in remotely.
“I am not a very technical person,” Lisa said. “So, going online was a stretch for me, but now I’m becoming a pro,” she laughed.
Providing options for her students was important to Lisa, as was keeping the business she has put everything into for the last 12 years, and providing a source of income for her employees.
“Many of these kids spend a lot of time at the studio,” Lisa said. “Dance is a huge part of their lives and I didn’t want that to just stop.”
In addition to the hundreds of classes Lisa and her team of instructors posted online and did by Zoom, she also tried to help parents by offering online story times and activities that kids could watch when parents needed a break. “I had some parents say they’d use these videos as a recess or as a distraction when they needed to help siblings with their schoolwork.”
In recent weeks, Lisa has been able to start transitioning classes back into the studio while staying in line with state and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. “As we are starting to slowly transition kids back to the studio, we are seeing the joy they bring with them,” Lisa said. “It is a lot of work to make sure we are following all the guidelines. We have invested a lot and made many changes and additions to ensure the safety of our students.”
Lisa plans to use her newfound technical skills in her program permanently. “We will continue to use our YouTube channel, as well as Zoom and other resources to continue educating outside of our building,” she said.
Teaching through a pandemic has made Lisa and her team appreciate their students and the art of dance more than ever. “We’d tear up seeing the cute kids on the screens dancing together,” Lisa said. “We love working with our students, with whatever adjustments we have to make. Thank you to everyone that has continued to support us during this hard time. We wouldn’t be here without you!”