Dancing in times of COVID-19

When the lockdown began, we all wondered, among many other things, if we would be able to keep on dancing, and how. Our instructors also wondered how to keep teaching and entertaining us while our Western Spirit dancing evenings must come a temporary halt.

At the beginning, the “Country Line Dance School on Facebook” experiment seemed something strange and new, just like any other slice of our lives that went virtual in the latest months. However, we were ready do anything else (lawfully) rather than stop dancing.

Thus, we got our live lessons neatly scheduled for the different class levels during the week, with the additional comfort of allowing the bravest among us to jump around the room in our flip-flops while rehearsing choreographies, boldly risking our ankles and toes. Our dancing evenings have turned into live dancing afternoons, but apart from the location, nothing much has changed– and luckily so.

Not only is the experiment working well, but we also love every bit of it and it’s drawing us even closer to each other, something we all really need.

On our Sundays on lockdown, sun and silence pierce through the window, and time seems to have stopped flowing for almost everyone. It feels like a slower, stretched time, diluted like the distance between oneself and every other human being, so very close and yet light-years away, as if they were micro-cosmos that suddenly stopped colliding; you know you should’ve got used to that, but somehow you never manage to. On these Sunday afternoons, the sofa calls and it sounds inviting, but you can shrug off the temptation easily, because you know there’s someone waiting for you.

At 3:30 p.m., it’s time to hurry, tidy up, make room and set the video connection, regardless of how badly you need to curse the internet provider before it works. Finally, you’re there on Facebook and cannot but smile because everybody’s there, too.

The whole Western Spirit school is online, a bunch of greetings and virtual kisses flying around, and you’re there waiting for the live session to start while checking the list of dances, painfully aware that, in spite of all the good intentions, you actually rehearsed an oh-so-tiny fraction of them… but who cares! Today we #danceathome in times of Covid-19, so even if you mess up, nobody’s going to notice anyway.

The instructors break loose; they dance the songs on their lists one after the other in their own living rooms, focused like crazy. It’s not exactly as if you could follow their every movements in a normal dance hall, but they’re still your beacon and it almost feels like they were there with you. Sometimes you slow down to drink and go back dancing, until you hear your favourite song’s first notes: time to open the window (it’s actually got pretty hot in there) and sing it out as loud as you can, just to make sure your neighbours understand how great it is to dance at the top of your lungs.

Time flies as it has never done for all the days before, and you’re sure that wherever they are, all your line dance fellows are enjoying it as much as you are, and seem closer than ever. Micro-cosmos start to kindle sparks of energy flowing through the distance, and by reading the comments you get the feeling that, today, everyone is a little less alone than before.

Your legs hurt so much earlier than usual, the instructors laugh onscreen for some mistakes and you are laughing too because the alcoholic happy hour clearly paid off. The degree of precision is sinking while the level of enjoyment grows, but that’s what you love the most about this amazing school.

Then, when it’s all over and you stop out of breath, you can’t believe 5 hours have gone by; but they felt like mere seconds, the room seemed full of people, and at the end of the live transmission you feel a bit reluctant to turn everything off, just to keep the sensation alive a bit longer. Nevertheless, there’s one thing you’re sure of: next week the magic is going to happen again. With that in mind, you finally give up and let silence step foot in the house again.

Dancing in times of Coronavirus means so much to us: to still want to turn and jump and release energy by any possible means, to get closer to our friends and the other people in a virtual circle where nobody can touch anybody else, but we all can feel each other. Without the Western Spirit magic, these Sundays would have been longer, and much emptier. We are all impatient to live the magic once again next Sunday, and the following, one week after the other until we’ll have overcome this difficult time, and the sound of our boots will echo on the wooden floor again in wonderful synchrony.


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