IS IT possible to have ballet lessons online? With the current technology available, it can be done! Balletcenter Cebu has been doing it through the mobile app Zoom during this Covid-19 lockdown. All that is needed is internet connectivity, and the Zoom app downloaded and installed in one’s mobile gadget.
“The classes are adjusted to fit in a small area. You don’t need a special space. Any hallway, living space or closet will do,” said Gregory Aaron, known as Mr. A to his ballet students. The class levels offered are Nursery, Kinder, Ballet 1, Ballet 2, continuing to Pre-Pro.
Are the online classes successful? To find out, SunStar Live! did an email interview with the center’s executive director, Josh Romayla.
SunStar LIVE! (SSL): Whose idea was it to conduct classes online? How many of the center’s students are actually enrolled online?
Josh Romayla (JR): The online class was Mr. Aaron’s idea. He was worried that the students will get injured if they take a break. During these troubling times, the lessons will also give them a sense of connectivity, so they won’t feel so emotionally and socially distant from their friends. It will allow our kids to maintain their sense of community to get through this lockdown. We have 50 students enrolled in our online classes.
SSL: Since this seems to be successful, will this continue when we return to normal—whatever that will mean?
JR: Yes. With countries now preparing to transition toward a “new normal” in which social and economic life can function, virtual classes would help strengthen and maintain our services, and support each other to stay safe, healthy and well. And, because of the traffic in Cebu, and the absences of the students during the year, we have decided to continue the online classes year-round to help students take classes that they might miss.
SSL: Can you tell us more about the mother/daughter classes? What is that?
JR: Mommy and Me class is a great introduction to movement with your little one and a creative activity to do together! This class includes mom or dad or another loved one participating in the class along with the little dancer. Our teachers will keep the music and curriculum moving along, while parents take an active role in encouraging, supporting and keeping the little dancer on track.
SSL: We always look forward to your December presentations. Will there be one this year, or will it be an online thing also?
JR: A theater-based performance is doubtful as we don’t believe any of the venues will be operating. But Mr. A is thinking of a way to do an online performance.
SSL: What has been the effect of the online classes on your students?
JR: Now that we are under quarantine, children aren’t able to see their friends, the community becomes paramount. Kids are actually getting more from online classes on a mental and emotional level. Our students are showing more improvement because they’re able to take the class all the time without dealing with traffic jams and all. Therefore, some people are actually improving more than they normally improve.
Balletcenter’s studio in Ayala Center Cebu remains closed until government restrictions are lifted. Gregory Aaron and Nicolas Pacaña are its artistic directors.