The cancellations of end-of-year recitals and competitions have been disappointing to teachers, studio owners, students and parents alike.
But for high school seniors, who are likely missing their final opportunity to dance with their studio family—and dealing with the cancellations of other milestone events like graduations and proms—it's a particularly heartbreaking time.
As studios throughout the country deal with the uncertainty of gradual reopenings, many are finding safe, creative ways to give their seniors the recognition they deserve.
Social-Media Shout-Outs<p>COVID-19 has forced many dance classes and performances onto social media—so it makes sense that Instagram and Facebook were the first stops for studio owners looking to recognize their seniors.</p><p>Stacy Young, owner of Variations Dance Studio in Auburn, Alabama, started by interviewing each of her graduates, and creating sleek social-media posts with quotes and photos. Having separate posts for each student allowed them to receive individualized congratulations from members of the studio community—which Young helped facilitate by encouraging comments on each post. "It gives everyone an opportunity to commend these dancers and what they've accomplished," says Young. "And it's a platform for the younger students to give them a virtual hug."</p>
Socially Distanced Celebrations<p>Off-screen celebrations are giving studios the safe, in-person interactions they're craving—and bringing them community-wide attention.</p><p>Both Studio Bleu and Variations Dance Studio made congratulatory yard signs for their seniors, which can double as free marketing for everyone who drives by.</p><p>Variations held a drive-by senior send-off, where graduates stood (six feet apart!) in front of the studio as parents and dancers drove by with signs, balloons, gifts and congratulations. That event also gave the Variations seniors a chance to safely continue a tradition that usually happens on the last day of classes—rolling up the marley and signing the floor underneath.</p>
The Variations Dance Studio seniors at their send-off.
Photo courtesy of Stacy Young