Dance is the thing that brings us all together, right? Right?
Yes. And now more than ever.
As everything was closed in mid-March, families and students everywhere were figuring out how to keep themselves safe and busy. And, apparently, they were also adamantly figuring out ways to continue doing the things they loved.
Perhaps it meant commandeering the living room for dance class from 5:00pm-9:00pm each night. Perhaps it meant creating makeshift dance floors on cardboard, garage floors, and kitchen tiles to continue taking tap dance classes. Perhaps it meant using a bedframe, or a couch, or a kitchen counter, as a makeshift ballet barre. Or maybe it looked like hours spent on Google Meet perfecting old and learning new choreography with their classmates in preparation for the annual end of year show.
Whatever it looked like, Gotta Dance dancers proved night after night, weekend after weekend, that dance is indeed the thing that brings us all together. Their commitment to dance showed us that the bonds, the skills, and the commitment dance demands is one that stands the test of time. It certainly stands the test of a pandemic.
Dancers, aged two to seventy, logged in every day for fifteen weeks to continue their dance training, never faltering in their love for the artform. Dance training through a screen is difficult, but they persisted and shined, lighting up their educators and fellow classmates with their positivity and passion. Their persistence confirmed Gotta Dance’s dedication to continue with their most beloved studio tradition: a high-quality week-long run of professional level dance concerts mid-June. They mailed 2,500 costumes and quickly adapted to make their year-end show like no other. They hired LA based professional video editor Mike Delegal, as well as professional animator Todd Bright, both with extensive careers working with companies such as Disney, Universal, and Netflix. Gotta Dance’s JUNGLE: Jump into the Wild Virtual Concert was going to be one to remember.
The animators and the Gotta Dance team laid the ground work for a dance concert that had been reimagined into a cinematic experience. They would not have been able to pull it off, however, without the rigor, ambition, and passion of the dancers. Each and every dancer rose to the challenge, transforming their bedrooms into rehearsal studios and their living rooms and kitchens into stages. They reworked their choreography to not only fit in their homes, but to make use of the uniqueness of their new performance space, tapping on the stairs, dancing in the backyard, and using the couch as a jungle gym. Mom and dad turned into videographers, while sisters and brothers turned into prop and makeup accomplices. Some dads (119 to be exact!) joined in on the fun, logging into their own class every Friday night to learn the choreography for the traditional ‘Dads Dance’.
The final product was fun, professional, and truly unlike anything else. These dancers brought the magic of dance into their homes, coloring a time that could have been remembered for disappointment into one that would be remembered as a time of transformation. Each and every dancer at Gotta Dance transformed dance education, live performance, and community into something more colorful and more important than anyone ever could have imagined. And, they did it from the comfort of their own homes!
So, yes. Yes. Dance is definitely the thing that brings us all together- no matter what is going on in the world. If you have any doubt about it, be sure to check out the magic that is JUNGLE: Jump into the Wild Virtual Dance Concert here, A feat made possible (and starring) every single dancer at Gotta Dance NJ.