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San Luis Obispo dance school builds outdoor stage to resume in-person classes

Posted at 11:38 AM, Sep 14, 2020

A San Luis Obispo dance studio is ready to resume in-person classes after six months of being closed.

Students of the Academy of Dance are dancing together again on a new stage that was built outside in the studio's parking lot.

Until now, classes have been exclusively over Zoom since March.

Before class, dancers use hand sanitizer and wear masks. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, the dancers are spaced out across the outdoor stage and only eight people can take class at a time.

Dancer Olivia Cusick said while she appreciated being able to continue her dance training over Zoom, nothing compares to taking class in-person.

"It's so exciting to finally get to be back," Cusick said. "It's been six months since we've been here and I'm just really excited to get to see all my friends and my teachers again."

Academy of Dance owner Drew Silvaggio said they would normally hold 50-60 classes weekly in their studio rooms but outside, they are able to offer about 20 classes a week.

"For all intents and purposes, this is like our dance studio simply outside," Silvaggio said."I guess, we're missing mirrors but we'll do without mirrors if we can get some dancers jumping around. It's worth it."

Classes were canceled Monday due to poor air quality but they plan to resume when conditions improve.

Silvaggio said plans for The Nutcracker this December are undetermined but the ballet company, Civic Ballet, will adapt as necessary to offer the community some sort of holiday performance.