COVID & SOCIAL DANCE
|On March 7,
2020 former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (Bless you, Andrew) declared a COVID state of
emergency. On March 12, 2020, Broadway shut down. On March 16, NYC
schools were closed. At that
time, there were zero COVID cases in Tompkins County, and we had a
small dance planned March 15. I decided to go ahead with the
dance, but I received considerable vituperation and harassment from a few local
"concerned" dancers. I even paid a visit to the County Sheriff to file a
formal complaint against one particualarly insulting super-wacko nutjob, who after being told to
cease and desist, would not leave me alone. We had our little dance, our friends came, and
in retrospect I am so very glad
we had the dance. No one contracted COVID. And it was our last dance
before a looooooong shutdown.
I cancelled all ongoing dance classes the next day, and refunded all the students. But the rent I had pre-paid for the room at a local fitness center was a loss, and never returned. Instantly, Ithaca Dance's comfy 7-figure annual gross income (including the decimal and the two zeros after it, ha-ha....) dropped to ZERO and stayed there for two years - to the present moment.
Now it has been two+ years. As of October 2022, 69 people in Tompkins County have died from COVID. Some dance organizers are holding dances in Central NY. (Bless you, brothers & sisters.) Temperature tests at the door, show your vax card. No vax? Ok, wear a mask. People are going to major dance weekends, cuz the organizers feel it is now safe, but IT IS NOT SAFE. People are getting COVID at these dance weekends. Vaccinated people are getting COVID, cuz they are being careless. The danger is NOT over. People think, "Hey, the coast is clear" but obviously the coast is NOT CLEAR. With that in mind, if you are holding social dance events, particpating in social dance events, you have my blessing. Blessing: yes. Endorsement: no.
Think about it: social dance is probably the most contagious thing you can do. Your face is within inches of a random dance partner. Your hands (at the very least!) are touching. And your partner of the moment has just shared and will share equal physical intimacy with many, many others in the same room, over and over, again and again! In an enclosed room, and people are breathing harder than normal, doing fancy spins, fast footwork, pushing and pulling each other. So no, we are NOT holding dances just yet and we are NOT teaching dance. And yet, every single week, at least one person calls and asks about dance classes. Hello?! NO classes. NO private lessons. Period.
I dance every day: morning, afternoon, evening, night. Solo dance. Lately I am quite fond of Bossa Nova music. My music collection of this genre has grown and keeps growing. My dancing also is evolving - each time I dance, something new to explore spontaneously emerges in my movements. Fascinating. In 2021, I started an ongoing solo dance choreography project, incorporating patterns from swing, latin and ballroom. Still in the works, you can see some people in various parts of the world performing it: Kurt's Khoreo
Wear the mask, get vaxed. Oh, your choice? OK, then hope you are cool with my choice to text while I drive drunk and stoned, 40mph over the speed limit .... on your street, like that Ithaca College kid did (R.I.P.) in August......