Most of us dancers would say we’d love to return to normal dancing again. Are we ready to get back to dancing in a post Covid world (or even while it’s still rampaging).
Depending on your country, the opportunities to dance are different. In New Zealand and Australia where they’re trying to stamp out Covid infections, they’ve been mostly (aside from temporary localised lockdowns), able to act as normal and social dancing has been back on for a while.
I’ve also seen videos and photos from a few dance events in Asia, where people are wearing masks to dance, but events are going on.
In the UK, up til now, social dancing has been more restrictive in line with government pandemic rules. It’s not been social dancing, it’s been solo dance classes or fixed partner classes. Dance organisations have done the online teaching and many are now back to face to face classes. But restrictions are in place, with restricted numbers, shorter specific classes, prebooking only and social distancing is still in place. Although masks haven’t need to be worn during the class only before and after as you arrive and leave, before going into your dance area.
Monday in England is being touted as freedom day with most rules being lifted, and others like masks turning into guidance (but realistically the recommendation is to still wear masks where indoors or in busy places. But social dancing (the nearest similar final business to open being night clubs) can begin again.
Opinions on getting back to dancing is mixed. Some organisations are going for the higher safety, less risky offer. Expecting either proof of vaccinations or a negative test before you can turn up, as well as test and trace details still being collected. Some will stick with classes that offer people the chance to stay as fixed couples, and will only be opening large freestyles further down the line once they’ve seen what’s happening with cases increasing, and how it goes for other similar organisations.
But there are some companies who’re opening up fully, no need for pre-booking. They just see it as a chance to get back to normal and get everyone on the dance floor.
For me, I’m not ready to go back. I don’t have a fixed partner. The whole point of modern jive and other social dancing is just that. It’s social dancing, and the chance to dance with lots of different people.
I’ve had both of my jabs so in theory am safer, and at a lower risk of catching Covid. I’m still working at home too, but there are still people at home and on the farm who I could transmit the virus to if I ended up catching it. My son’s school has (with 1 week to go til the holidays), managed to stay clear of any bursting bubbles, but I still don’t want him catching it. Our nephew (early 20s) has had it quite badly, so you just don’t know how people will be impacted. My OH can’t take time off from the farm, so it would be hard to feed animals and keep isolated from everyone else.
I don’t want to go dancing while there are restrictions in place – it’s not dancing like I know it. But I’m definitely not ready to let everything loose and act like everything’s normal. If I was to go back to dance evenings I’d be looking for venues that were taking a more careful approach. Which listens to the concerns from its dancers, many of whom won’t be ready to go to the freedom extreme. Who are still ensuring those are checking in for track and trace, who’re asking for vaccination of proof of negative tests. Those keeping reduced numbers and in highly ventilated venues.
But at the moment I’ll be waiting. Another year won’t bother me, I’ve had 6 years off before due to having children, and another due to injury. It’ll make it all the sweeter when I do return.
I’ll use the time to get fitter. To try outdoor sports (I’ve finally done a bit more tennis, and need to keep playing more to not embarrass myself against my son). To dance in the kitchen, or to online dance classes or video tutorials. To try different styles of dance.
The choices venues and organisers make won’t suit everyone. But hopefully they’ll suit enough people to feel comfortable and desperate enough to get back to social dancing. Enough that these dance organisations and venues will still be there once Covid is under control and those more wary of us are ready to return.
And of course, we’ll all hope that we won’t see cases increasing as all these indoor venues open their doors again.
Are you back dancing already or planning to? How do you feel about returning to dance during Covid times?