Dance studios left to wonder when they can reopen

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Gov. Tate Reeves announced the relaxing of some restrictions across the state on April 24 by replacing the shelter-in-place order with a safer-at-home order.

Certain businesses were allowed to reopen, but that didn’t include dance studios.

Now the owners of dance studios such as Miss Sarah’s School of Dance and D & L Dance Center are wondering when they’ll have students back in class.

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Both businesses offer a variety of classes to students of varying ages, but those services have essentially ground to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Oldmixon is the owner of Miss Sarah’s School of Dance while Dena Guy owns D & L Dance Center with her sister Lisa Keene.

The owners of both businesses said having to shutter their doors has led to a loss of income.

Oldmixon has approximately 200 students while D & L serves nearly 120 dancers, all of whom would normally pay tuition.

However, due to the uncertain times and amount of unemployment, Oldmixon said she decided to not charge students while the studio is closed, which is a practice Guy adheres to as well.

“They’re not going to be charged any more tuition, even though a lot have tried to pay me. I said, ‘Nope you can pay me when I can get back to work,’” Oldmixon said.

Both studios have tried to find ways to keep their students working on their routines, even with the studios being closed and recitals delayed.

Originally both sets of dancers were due to have recitals in May, but those dates have been pushed back.

Now Guy and Oldmixon have had to get creative in making sure the dancers still practice their routines.

Guy said she took videos of her performing all the necessary choreography and uploaded them to a cloud based service that is accessible to the students.

Meanwhile Oldmixon started a YouTube channel to make the routines and choreography easy to find for her students.

“As far as routine the more you practice the better you’re going to remember it. Even if they can’t do it full out, put the music on, try to remember it start to finish and work on your problem spots,” Guy said.

It’s still possible that in the coming weeks the studios will be allowed to reopen their doors once the restrictions are lifted, but Guy and Oldmixon realize they’ll have to make some changes when it occurs.

Guy said things like sanitizing the classrooms, splitting classes into smaller groups and other guidelines will likely be in place when the dancers are able to return.

Oldmixon talked of making similar changes, but for her the hardest decision to make will focus on preventing non-students from hanging out around her studio.

“This is a family around here. Any given normal dance day you’ll have extra kids playing in the yard or (moms) enjoying my porch. Those are the things I’ll regrettably have to change,” Oldmixon said.

One thing is for certain for both studios however, and that’s the inevitability of putting on a recital. “Even if I have to have a recital one class at a time I will do it. I will do whatever I have to do,” Oldmixon said.