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WorkinCT: Virtual dance lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studio

While navigating the pandemic, we've all had to keep our distance from others, so you may be wondering, how could you possibly take dance lessons?

MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut — COVID-19 has forced us all to adapt to a new normal, and for one local dance studio in Middletown, the show must go on. But, that show looks a bit different now.

While navigating the pandemic, we've all had to keep our distance from others, so you may be wondering, how could you possibly take dance lessons?

"It was a little slow going at first because they’re used to that social aspect, seeing people in person, and actually physically dancing," said Andrew Kerski, owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Middletown. "They had no idea how an online lesson was actually going to work."

Kerski, who has been dancing internationally for 17 years, said he wanted to make sure his students didn't miss a beat.

"You’d be surprised what you could forget in a two week period, let alone 3-4 months," said Kerski.

Cue, virtual lessons, which surprisingly, ended up being wildly successful. 

For David Farrell and Crystal Hill of East Hampton, these dance lessons are getting them ready for the wedding set to take place next year. 

"We had one in-person lesson, and they had to shut down, and they were going digital," said Farrell. 

"We’re able to send videos back and forth," said Hill. "So we can send her a video of something we practice, and she can send us a video of the right way to do it."

Couples are now able to receive more precise instructions.

As for dance students Barbara and Rodrigo Ferrer, who has been dancing for six years, they too decided to give online classes a shot. 

"We thought, how can this possibly work," said Barbara. "To our amazement, it was excellent, we were even bickering in our living room, it was just like we were in the studio."

Both couples have since returned to in-person lessons, as the studio has reopened with some new safety protocols put in place. 

Students now have to take their shoes off outside before changing into their dance shoes, get their temperatures checked, fill out a questionnaire every time they arrive, student wear masks, teachers also wear masks and gloves, and the facility is sanitized after each lesson, which is now staggered to avoid crowding in the lobby.

Kerski said virtual classes will remain an option in the future, and there will even be some outdoor classes as well, where students are able to safely socially distance themselves. 

For more information on the studio, go here: https://www.fredastaire.com/middletown/