As the realities of a new and limited pandemic lifestyle have sunk in for people of all ages, creeds and colors, it has become increasingly difficult to find the joy of physical activity and self-expression.
Gonzaga Dance Team’s Dance Day event on March 20 lit a beacon of hope that there still exists the opportunity for learning and dynamic engagement even when we’re separated.
As COVID-19 protocols required a shift in nearly every aspect of group activity, GU Dance Team had to modify the marketing strategies, in addition to the offerings of this year’s Dance Day.
“Under normal circumstances we hold our Kid’s Clinic in January,” GU Dance Team President Meghan Horn said. “This Dance Day was a little bit different… It’s [a] free, all-day clinic with team members teaching classes to kids in the community from the convenience of their own home.”
As last year has brought forth the advent of a new virtual realm of activities, GU Dance Team embraced that opportunity wholeheartedly. Classes containing jazz and pom dance routines for young dancers from 6-9 years old were held in the morning, with more intermediate and advanced classes geared toward high school dancers taking place in the afternoon.
Each class was constructed in an hourly format as a group of GU Dance Team members took participants through each move step-by-step, until putting the final routine together for a mini performance at the conclusion of the hour. Despite the limited virtual format, positive energy became tangible as the lighthearted nature of dance provided participants with a dynamic hour of engaged learning.
Similar to the format of Dance Day, GU Dance Team was provided the opportunity to seek creative marketing strategies to spread the word about the event.
“We do have a crowd of kids that return each year for the Kid’s Clinic that really enjoy it,” Horn said. “We’ve had to market online, and find new ways to reach new people while engaging with our existing contacts of past participants.”
In addition to email chains and social media posts, GU Dance Team utilized digital flyers to spread the word of Dance Day opportunities to possible dancers.
“The opportunities we typically offer versus the workshop format that we’re offering now is definitely a different experience,” said Alexis Villanueva, a junior on GU Dance Team. “But we decided to treat this as more of a community service event, by making it free to those who wished to sign up, with donations being optional.”
Despite the reconstruction of Dance Day, and difficulties surrounding the virtual gap the Day of Dance proved to be an enjoyable, energetic event that GU Dance Team members had fun providing to the young dancers of the Spokane community.
“At the end of the day, it was just something really fun that we wanted to do,” Villanueva said. “We wanted it to be a way that we could outreach to the community, and make this available to everyone who wanted to participate.”
Anders Svenningsen is a staff writer.