Dancers and gym junkies are jumping about this week following an announcement last week by NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian that gyms and dance studios could reopen.
The JKM Dynamic Fitness gym, along with Copper City Dance Centre (CCDC) and Western Studio of Performing Arts (WSPA) have been closed for almost three months under COVID-19 restrictions and all are keen to re-open in the next week.
As part of the new restrictions, all will be forced to adhere to a 10 people per class rule which means some changes will be made to class timetabling and some participants may be forced to miss out.
Co-owner of JKM, Amie Hill said there’s only a few changes they need to make in order to re-open.
“Most of our equipment is already spaced 1.5m apart and regular cleaning of equipment is all part of good gym etiquette,” Amie said.
“We will however be doing extra cleaning and won’t be able to hold back-to-back classes like we used to before the pandemic as we’ll now need to allow time between each class to clean.”
She said with numbers capped at 10, they will be looking at using a new booking system for fitness classes.
CCDC dance principal Eden Coughlan said While they were closed they launched an online program consisting of pre-recorded lessons and Zoom calls for online classes.
“Online isn’t for everyone,” Eden said.
“We have lots of students with a limited internet connection or space at home or a multitude of other reasons so we ran this program with just 30 per cent of our normal student base.”
When restrictions were slightly eased early last month, Eden said they were allowed to run “outdoor bootcamps” with a maximum of 10 of people.
“These boot camps were fantastic, fresh air dancing with the kids, however we can usually have up to 20-25 students in the studio at one time so 10 was a massive drop.”
She said with the weather getting colder this was also not going to be a long term solution.
Eden said reopening the studio will require a them to make a number of small changes.
“However these small changes add up and it will create a very different experience for the kids.”
She’s concerned her students’ dance experience will become “sterile” and the studio will lose its “homely” feel.
“We would like to see the government restrictions lifted from 10 people per class to at least the 4sqm rule which would see us increase capacity based on the size of our rooms which is how we would usually calculate class sizes,” she said.
WSPA’s dance principal Angie White said they jumped onto offering online Zoom classes just a week after they were forced to close and brought in some big name guest teachers.
“It’s actually been a truly positive experience,” Angie said.
WSPA continued to hold all of their usual classes each week (35 classes in total) and brought in guest teachers to teach students Lyrical, Pilates, Broadway Jazz, Technique, Urban Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Stretch and Tap.
They also held competitions and students completed theory worksheets.
“All things to improve our dancers.
“We have worked really hard to maintain a positive attitude the whole time and I think it has rubbed off on the kids,” Angie said.
“Our teachers have stepped up and I am so proud of them and very grateful.
“The kids have had the opportunity to dabble in genres they more than likely wouldn’t have normally – so as far as we are concerned it has been a great learning curve for us all,” Angie said.
Increased cleaning, the promotion of good personal hygiene, and practicing social distancing are all part of the government’s latest restrictions that the dance studios and gyms are required to adhere to.