Area dance studio staying flexible during uncertain times

Posted at 7:02 PM, Apr 08, 2020

Social distancing measures make it tough for companies like dance studios to continue their typical day-to-day operations, so that calls for altering their classes. Studio A Ryan’s American Dance in San Luis Obispo is doing just that during this time.

“Dancing in their living rooms, dancing in their garages, dancing in the corner of their dining room; it’s kind of rad,” Ryan Beck, owner of Studio A, the Home of Ryan’s American Dance, said.

It’s not the norm, but it’s how Beck and his dance students are expressing themselves when being at the studio together is unrealistic. Beck’s dance studio is offering Zoom classes to dance: The 1st day it was offered, over 60 people took part.

“Intimidation? Yes, it’s there. The change? Yes, it’s there,” Beck said. “The challenge of not knowing who’s going to accept. Everyone could’ve gotten live and said, ‘I don’t like dancing in my living room. I don’t like this.’ It took some explaining, some live chatting, to explain how we’re going to move forward.”

The inability to be in-person has posed challenges for Beck and his teachers, but it hasn’t stopped their ability to teach at a high level.

“My first few classes – you’re seeing them in this 2-inch screen,” Beck said. “My thing was just, ‘Keep teaching, just keeping giving information.’ I’m sweating, and my brain’s going. Lately, I’ve found myself – my eye’s doing this – like, ‘I see your feet. I see your shoulder. No! Chin up more!’ I’m getting as close as I can to the camera because I’m so used to being right there with the kids.

The everchanging art of dance will continue to thrive, even with a slightly different way of instruction.

“We are demanded to be at our best at this time. We have to stay positive, we have to make art, we have to let these kids and these adults keep expressing themselves, and I think it’s one of the healthiest outlets right now,” Beck said. “It’s just bringing positivity.”