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Staying home, staying safe and staying sane!

As I write this, the UAE is a few weeks into business closures with no end in sight. When fears of Covid-19 first started taking root here, we were somewhat reassured by the organized response of our government and health authorities, and were optimistic that the disruption to our everyday lives would be temporary.

However, as the number of cases continue to rise locally and around the world, curfew hours have been extended and restrictions on movements and business activities have increased. The beautiful spring weather mocks us, birds chirp against the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky, and we miss sitting in the studio reception with its view of the green park, chatting and laughing with our students and making plans for the next lesson.

However, as the saying goes, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! And so we are doing our best to keep our chins up and carry on. It is important to heed the advice to stay home to reduce transmission of the virus, but at the same time we should not neglect our mental and physical well-being. For so many of our students dance was an avenue to de-stress and stay active, and the current situation is no reason to lose sight of these goals and needs.

Over the past couple of weeks we have started to increase the frequency of our social media posts, consisting of simple steps that anyone can learn and practice at home to music, as well as mini challenges that will improve balance and coordination, and strengthen the muscles required for dance. We hope you are following along and that you find these helpful!

We have also transitioned to virtual dance lessons, which our instructors that are hosting via Zoom. I'll be the first to admit that I was a skeptic (or perhaps a dinosaur) - and I thought that surely things will blow over and we will be back to "normal" soon! However it looks like this may be our new normal for a while, and after I tried out the virtual format I was pleasantly surprised and how well it worked. For those of you that are still on the fence, don't be - you have nothing to lose by trying! All you need is a laptop with a stable internet connection, and about 3m x 3m of clear space. If you can cast your laptop screen to your television this is even better as your view will be a lot better. Feedback from students has been positive.

While virtual dance lessons cannot substitute dancing with a partner, there are still many things we can work on in this format. As students we are forced to be more independent, learn better timing, balance, and directions, instead of relying on the partner. By working through steps on our own we may also discover new nuances and think to ask questions that would not have otherwise crossed our minds, leading to a deeper understanding of how to, and what we are trying to achieve.

All that said, let's keep dancing to keep our spirits up. Looking forward to virtual lessons with each and every one of you!

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