Bringing the dance studio to the living room during COVID-19

Posted at 7:38 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 19:39:22-04

(WKBW) — COVID-19 isn’t stopping the Haen family from Lancaster. Mom, Jamie, has rearranged her dining room to allow room for an at-home dance studio.

Jamie's daughter, Camryn, has called Danceability, Inc. home for three years. It’s a nonprofit that gives children and adults living with special needs the opportunity to dance. Camryn heads to the studio once a week.

“That was our first thought is oh my gosh, our students thrive on routine and structure and what’s going to happen when they don’t have it?" Danceability co-founder and executive director, Robin Bishop, said.

The studio turned to Facebook Live for help during this time. Like clockwork, Camryn and her classmates tune in for class. From Monday through Thursday, the classes go live on Danceability’s Facebook page at 6 p.m.

“It’s a really good outlet socially, physically where they can feel included," Jamie Haen said about her daughter's dance studio.

Danceability teachers hold class from either the studio or their own living rooms. Students can either watch live or pre-recorded.

"I mean we’re trying to make it as normal as possible. She is autistic so schedules and routines are very, very tricky for these kids," Jamie said. That's exactly why Bishop wanted to move to online classes while many are at home. The classes give both students and families something to count on. Bishop said their first virtual class had more than 1,500 views.

“We really miss you, but moving is going to make you feel better and the good news is before you only had one class a week and now you can take four if you want to," Bishop said.

But the connection goes beyond Facebook Live. Danceability teachers and volunteers are also sending pre-recorded messages to their students checking-in.

“I truly feel that this event will bring humanity together and it’s one step at a time and Danceability did their job and stepped up to the plate," Jamie said.

One step at a time, from the studio to the living room, Danceability said it will continue these classes for as long as it can. The nonprofit is asking those we may be able to donate to help the organization continue its mission to do so here.