Students in the dance department are dealing with unusual practices because of COVID-19 restrictions. While other departments are allowing full contact, dance classes are requiring holding poles instead of hands. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.
After a semester of hybrid and Zoom teaching due to the pandemic, departments at Dixie State University are trying out new ways to go about social distancing in the classroom in an attempt to keep students coming to class in person.
The dance department has decided to still hold all of its classes in person this semester. The students are dancing with a six-foot distance from each other the entire class and are always wearing masks. Professors are also keeping dance rooms clean and sanitized after each class.
“If we use the bars, we wipe them down, and we have a sanitation spray for the floors,” said Sara Gallo, associate professor of dance.
Ballroom is a high-contact style of dance that is very dependent on having connection with a partner. The dance department has taken a unique yet effective approach to ensure ballroom students are socially distanced with no contact during class time.
Gallo said she and her colleagues had to brainstorm numerous possible solutions, and she has to make the overall decision that all ballroom classes will be dancing with wooden dowels in place of a partner.
“In order to follow the guidelines and maintain 6 feet distance with no contact, the sticks are a compromise,” Gallo said.
As students are dancing with the wooden dowels, it allows them to somewhat practice the necessary ballroom technique.
“We’re creative people, this is just forcing us to be creative in a different way,” Gallo said.
The art department has also decided to continue its classes in person while maintaining a six-foot distance and wearing masks the entire class.
Alex Chamberlain, the art department chair, said it has been a hard change to teach art classes while having a few students joining the class remotely; however, more and more students are showing up to in-person classes each day, he said.
Timothy Francis, the music department chair, said students in the music department have realized the importance of going in person to class versus joining class remotely.
“I think students recognize that the face-to-face experience is the best experience,” Francis said.
Francis said he has no students attending class completely remotely this semester, and this is great news, he said, because teaching music through Zoom is no easy task.