SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With classes entirely on computers and fall sports sidelined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some kids are stuck without a way to exercise.
One solution is Santa Barbara Dance Arts, which has been offering in-person dance classes with distance this fall.
“Whether it’s the physical activity or social connection, the beauty of dance is also physical self-expression,” Santa Barbara Dance Arts owner Alana Tillim said.
Following countless hours of screen time, these dancers are thankful to sweat out their stress within the outdoor studio.
“In Zoom, there’s small distractions,” Santa Barbara High School freshman Mia Kirsch said. “Here you can just really focus on what you’re doing and it’s nice.”
Most parents appreciate this after school activity.
“To be able to have in-person classes has been just really amazing for us,” Jennifer Zacharias said.
Each day, three to five physically distanced classes with limited capacity are taught outdoors with masks mandatory for all age groups.
Throughout the summer months, the studio was allowed to hold classes indoors while being defined as a day camp by the state government.
With school back in session, the local business was switched into the gyms and fitness centers category.
This forced Santa Barbara Dance Arts to only operate outdoors with modifications.
Tillim quickly adapted by creating a dance studio under a large canopy in her parking lot.
“We sprung a floor, set up a tent,” Tillim said. “We have a proper sound system and have lighting.”
“They’ve build a beautiful outdoor studio for my daughter to be able to jump around, move, dance and have so much fun,” Zacharias said.
Santa Barbara Dance Arts has six indoor studios within its faculty.
Now, the local businesses is limited to just one.
“Right now, I’m trying to advocate at a state level for my industry to see if we can get different restrictions than gyms,” Tillim said.
“Whether it’s the physical activity or social connection, the beauty of dance is also this physical self-expression and a release,” Tillim said.
In the meantime, the dancers and instructors are making it work.
“We’re very lucky to have this outdoor space,” Tillim concluded. “Our goal is to try and get everybody in-person a little bit.”
If Santa Barbara County fell into California’s red reopening tier, the dance studio would be able to move indoors at 10% capacity.
For more information about Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visit their website.