Studios across the country are opening up post-COVID and that means burlesque dance classes are beginning to return to face to face teaching. Some schools will continue running online classes, some will run hybrid online and in studio classes, and others will return fully to the studio, so how can you get ready to go back to dance class?
Restricted Class Sizes
Many schools will have a strict guide on how many people can be present in the studio or class room during burlesque dance classes, so that means if you are serious about attending a course, you’ll need to ensure you decide early and book in advance. But make sure you are committed to and can actually attend – if you’re only ‘thinking about it’ still, perhaps leave the pot for someone who is really keen to be back in class, and check with the school closer to the start date for availability.
There will not likely be ‘drop-in’ style classes for quite some time as schools will need to be able to contact all students to notify if any risk of exposure has been detected.
Be sure to know how to contact your teacher or the school if your circumstances change, you are unable to attend, or if you are struggling to adjust to returning to class. If you are unable to attend, make sure to give plenty of notice so they’re not holding the class in case you will arrive, and if necessary your teacher can record or advise how you can catch up.
Additionally, if you are tested for COVID-19 and results come back positive, you must notify the school/ studio as soon as possible to ensure deep cleansing can be conducted to protect other participants and users of the building.
When sick – Stay At Home!
If you have ANY cold and flu symptoms AT ALL, stay home. We know it’s disappointing to miss out on classes, and you may not feel ‘that bad’ but COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, so in an exercise based activity indoors, the risk of transmission is much higher. So if you have a cough, sneezing, runny nose, headaches, fever, feeling run down or anything that could be a symptom of a cold or flu. Just stay home.
Contact your teacher to find out if there’s any specific ways to catch up on the class. If you go to class sick, you’re putting your colleagues and friends at risk. More importantly, you’re putting your teacher at risk and your teacher is likely to see more students and place them at risk too. If you go to class sick, you’re endangering the very livelihood of your beloved teachers and schools. You could be putting your favorite performers at risk!
If you develop flu-like symptoms, definitely get tested as soon as you are able.
Cleanliness is next to Goddess-liness
Remember that whole ‘sing happy Birthday twice while you wash your hands’ bit we had way back at the start? That’s going to apply a whole lot more now that we’re returning to be around people but without a vaccine. Remember that the virus can stay active on many surfaces for prolonged periods of time – days or even weeks. So while everything might feel safer at the moment, a 14 day incubation period means relaxing the cleanliness could easily let it slip through our soapy fresh guard.
Carry a hand sanitizer with you, wash your hands upon arrival if you can, and avoid touching your face as much as possible. You will need to use hand sanitiser upon arrival/ entry at class.
COVID Safe App
It’s best to download and activate the Government’s COVID Safe app to your device and ensure Bluetooth is on during your class. Note that iPhones also need to be unlocked for the app to work correctly. That may change as the app is updated but it’s a good tip to know.
In most states, the existing social distancing measures will still be in place. That means staying 1.5m away from people you don’t share a home with. This applies when arriving at the studio, throughout your class/es, and departing the school.
Whenever your class stops, take a moment to look around you and ensure you are still 1.5m away from the students next to you. Take each opportunity to reset yourself in to your own space to ensure social distancing.
Perhaps start back at class taking smaller steps than usual so as not to travel too far and in to someone else’s space. The take your measure off each other to work out the stride size you can all safely take while working on the choreography.
Additionally, this means there can be no mingling before or after class. Students won’t be able to stay around when not participating in a class to talk to friends and will be encouraged not to turn up too early.
Any socialising activity or ignoring of social distancing measures could actually put the school and your teacher at risk of fines or more severe action. Ignoring social distancing restrictions will reflect upon the school and could cause trouble for them in the public space or with the use of their studios.
BYO props and costume pieces
If you are learning a routine that includes glove peels or particular props, wherever possible, bring your own. Gloves are really easy to pick up from party stores or eBay.
If you need to borrow items from your school or teacher, if allowed, look to keep the item/s with you for the duration of the course and ask for instructions on how best to maintain and clean them before returning them.
Remember to clean your gloves and props each week after attending class to reduce any potential spread of virus.
Quarantine your possessions
Ok, it’s not as drastic as it sounds, but we now all have to spend more time considering the gear we take to class. Plan to take the bare minimum – a drink bottle, a towel, a warm layer, your props and costumes if applicable, and your personal items. The less you take, the less potential surfaces to transmit or carry the virus on.
Don’t place your gear or bag on any chairs at the studio. Chairs are high traffic locations and can be a cross contamination point. Keep all of your possessions together neatly and in once space within the room to reduce your risk of exposure.
Masks and Towels
If you feel inclined, you may want to wear a mask during your class to protect yourself and stop any potential spread from yourself to others. Note that the N95 masks with vents on the front stops particles entering the mask, but does not stop particles exiting the mask so they will not protect others from your respiration. Wearing a full mask that you wash regularly will significantly reduce your potential transmission to others and may reduce your likelihood of contracting the virus as well.
You may be asked to wear a mask to and from classes, please do so if required.
If you are catching public transport to your classes, definitely wear a mask to protect yourself from possible public transmission.
Take a small towel to class and have it available on top of your gear so you can easily access it to wipe yourself down. Remembering the virus is transmitted by droplets, your sweat can pick up respiratory droplets from your breathing and help to spread it further and more quickly.
Keep your towel to yourself, wash it regularly, and use it liberally to keep your sweat at bay.
Arrive Ready to Dance
Turn up to class as ready to start the class as possible. Don’t rely on changing at the venue as that will increase risk factors and may cause issues with achieving social distancing with the need to use bathrooms and spaces within the building. Wear your dancewear and if need be put your costume pieces on over the top.
Take It Easy
We’ve all likely lost dance fitness. We’ve not been exercising and stretching as much as we normally would, so take some time before hand to get the blood pumping with some light exercise or dancing round your home before heading off to class. Consider doing some extra stretching at home after class or on days between classes to help limber up your body.
In class, don’t push yourself to your limits immediately. We need to ease back in and check our limits of our bodies, and get them used to moving in these ways again. And if you’re not getting moves or choreography like you used too, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal to have fallen behind in fitness and technical skills, it will only take a bit of regular practice to get your mind and body back to full function.
Give yourself permission to suck. No one is expecting you to be perfect and on form. Everyone will just be glad you could make it, so give yourself a break and enjoy dancing with friends.
Do Your Homework
Many students only do the choreography at class, but our bodies and minds aren’t quite as used to retaining that right now. So make a time at home once or twice in the week to just run through what you have learned.
It will make you feel more confident and able each time you go in to class, and will reinforce the movements and choreography your body has learned.
Dealing with Anxiety
Many people will be excited to return to class, but many may develop anxiety when the reality of being around people in a heightened exercise experience. You might not even feel anxious until you are in the class and it hits you. There are a number of steps you can take both before and during an anxiety experience to reduce the impact on you.
- Try meditation daily to help calm your mind and reconnect with your body. There are free guided meditations you can try online, or there are apps you can download both free and paid versions. Being more calm will help you to navigate the emotions you may experience
- Talk to people about how you are feeling. If there is a class chat or group online you can speak to your teacher or fellow students just to talk through any concerns or feelings you may be having to help everyone understand how each person is reacting and adapting to the changes. It’s really normal to have emotional reactions to change and being able to talk with those around you will make the situation more approachable
- Have some breathing techniques on hand to help calm you. Try square breathing to help slow your mind and heartbeat and regain control of your emotions. Square breathing is a deep breath in through the nose for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 4, exhale through your mouth for the count of 4, and hold your breath for the count of 4 and repeat 4-5 times.
- Take a time out. Step to the side of the class and close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Then focus on the feeling of your feet pressing in to the floor, noting where your weight is spread, how the floor or shoe feels beneath your feet and that will help ground you and reconnect you to the here and now.
- Try journaling. Writing down your thoughts and experiences in a journal, in a journaling app, or even in notes on your phone can help to process and alleviate the pressure. It will also help you to reflect and remember the good days and good moments you do have, rather than dwelling on the not so great moments.
- Seek professional help. If you’re really struggling with returning to social situations and classes, it’s worth finding a mental health professional to talk to on a regular basis to help work through the stress that the lockdown experience may have put your through.
Display your Patience and Grace
Everyone has been through a tough time. Some people will be battling with their physical and mental health, may have changed shape and lost fitness during lock down. Your teachers especially have been through some of the most challenging times their business will have ever faced.
Your teachers will be cleaning the rooms before or between each class. They will be responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained. They have been running on empty for months and have faced financial and personal stress. And they’re doing their best to make sure you have a great experience.
Take the time to genuinely thank your teachers. Follow their instructions and make life easier for everyone. We all have the same goal, to have fun and share the joy of burlesque. You can help make that happen with your actions and words.
So express your gratefulness in person and online, and celebrate your burlesque school going back to the class room in a positive way.