August 25, 2021
Dear MDU Families,
Thank you for a great kick-off to our 24th season of “More Than Just Great Dancing!”. We are now a full week into our season and it has been amazing to see kids and families back in the building.
As the leader of our studio community, I have the great joy of seeing the excitement of the kids and teacher returning to class. I also have the great responsibility of navigating a continuously changing situation as it relates to Covid-19.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, MDU has provided clear communication and real-time decision-making. This has allowed us to offer continuous programming with only .0002% incidence of Covid-19 while providing consistent access to the benefits of dance such as physical fitness, social-emotional health, and mental wellness. That’s the joy part!
Now for the responsibility part. At MDU, we make all of our Covid-related decisions based on a variety of inputs, including local and national sources, as well as industry and studio data. I wake up every morning, search the data, and track the trends. I also consult with our county, speak with other community leaders, and pray for wisdom. I’m pleased to say that MDU is still doing extremely well in terms of cases as shared above. That’s why we began our fall season by continuing our summer policy of mask recommendation, not a requirement. Our community, however, is not doing as well. The cases reported yesterday morning were double what they were the week prior and the 7-day average is one we have not seen since February.
In my Welcome Letter from one week ago, I shared that we would escalate our policies if cases continue to rise. As such, beginning today (8/25/21), the following mitigation measures are being implemented:
We will continue monitoring the situation week by week and will make you aware of any changes. If community cases continue to rise, potential escalation of policies may include closing the lobby to reduce traffic, further limiting class sizes, greater physical distancing requirements in classes, and/or masking requirements for all ages.
In closing, I fully understand this message will cause relief for some and disappointment for others. Some will think it’s too much and others may think it’s not enough. This is the nature of the times we live in. But, it’s also in our nature to adapt and to support each other. Our kids are mirrors of our reactions and emotions, so let’s focus on what’s positive! In a time when our community is welcoming Afghan refugees who have lost all, we have much to be thankful for. Thank YOU for your support!
You drop off your dancer once or twice (or more) every week; when you pick her up, she’s a little sweaty and needs a snack. You wash the dance gear and keep track of the shoes, and you smile at the other parents who are doing the same. You peek through the doorways and curtains during class, you spy your child practicing dance moves in the living room. And at the end of the year, you gather the dance gear and the family, and you head to the recital.
Getting out of the car at the recital, your dancer’s sibling cries, “Why do they even have recitals? Why do we have to go?” And here’s your answer.
A recital offers a culminating event, a chance to say, “Hey, Mom, watch this,” as your child proudly shows a new skill that has been eight or nine months in the making. The photos and videos of the event become archives of your dancer’s childhood, memories of that time she worked so hard to achieve something beautiful.
Performing in a recital builds confidence in your dancer as she showcases her hard-won skills in front of an audience, all lights shining and eyes on the stage. The applause at the end is the reward for months of effort, and the dancers walk off the stage feeling satisfied about a job well done.
Dance is a team sport. Dancers in a group routine must be constantly aware of the other dancers, in tune with their movements. Working to perfect a routine takes investment from everyone in the group, and by the time the recital rolls around, these dancers have learned the true meaning of teamwork.
Even the youngest dancers understand that nobody will learn a dance routine the first time—or the second, or the fifth. These dancers have built technique upon technique, skill upon skill in order to present their very best selves to the audience at their recital. They’ve had to listen, to focus, to make mistakes, and to get back up again when they fall.
During those months of dance class, students learn so much more than a few cool moves. They learn to communicate, to be patient with others and themselves, to appreciate their bodies, and to be accountable for their learning. A recital brings all those elements together at one time, on one stage, and your dancers have the opportunity to see the outcome of all their hard work. That’s something to celebrate. So is it worth it? You bet it is.
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