The year-end recitals are that magical moment dancers wait for all year long! Due to Covid restrictions, this year our dancers were not able to perform on stage again. However, we challenged ourselves to think outside-of-the-box to find a way to still celebrate together and recognize the hard work of our dancers, volunteers, teachers and OTs.
The main focus of the team was to find creative ways to replicate that sense of magic and feeling of pride that dancers get after performing on stage. “We knew we had to be creative with how to achieve a sense of being together when we are all apart”, says Mallory Ryan, DAM’s Director of Quality & Development. “Jade had the great idea of coordinating ‘goodie bags’ for dancers inviting them to the virtual VIP cast party to celebrate together, and to use a Movie Night theme to turn the challenges we were facing into a creative opportunity for a unique style of celebration this year!”
The DAM team carefully planned all the details to create a memorable experience for our dance community. Jade and Mallory recorded themselves on Zoom with their “movie directors” backdrops and costumes to set the stage for the production. The DAM teachers and OTs recorded a fun video for the opening and students shined bright as the stars of the evening. “We had a lot of help from our multi-talented dance instructors with editing the videos using basic video editing software – I think we’ve all learned new skills”, says Jade Ryan, DAM’s Director of Inclusion & Operations. “We overcame the challenges we faced using collaboration and the support of our amazing community!”
Families were also part of the crew! They got to truly be behind the scenes – and in many cases – in the scenes – with our younger dancers! Their participation and support in coordinating this for their dancers were really special.
Luka and his family loved making a night of the virtual showcase. With the Dance Ability t-shirt on and popcorn in hand, they logged on ready for the show. “Luka was over the moon with excitement to see himself dancing on the screen”, says his mom, Sarah. “One benefit of the formal was that we could go back and rewatch it several times and we did! And each time was just as exciting for him!”
Running a virtual showcase was challenging but there were many positive aspects too! “ALL of our Dance Ability Movement dancers were in ONE showcase!”, celebrates Jade. “This was a huge highlight for us and for our community – dancers from across Ontario sharing the joy of dance! Our instructors loved being able to see each others’ choreography – something that doesn’t happen when we are in-person at different locations and shows!”
For Mallory, one of the great advantages of hosting a virtual showcase was being able to enjoy it from the audience perspective – something that she doesn’t typically get to do. “I soaked in every minute of watching (and re-watching) the dancers in their element – performing their hearts out at home for the camera”.
All the creativity, efforts and extra time the team put into the virtual showcase paid off! Jade and Mallory were blown away by the amazing feedback they received from families about their experience with it. “We thoroughly enjoyed watching the online “recital”, says Silvia, one of our dancer’s moms. “We loved the way it was all put together and flowed so well. It was so much fun to watch. We had smiles on our faces from start to finish. You and your entire staff did an amazing job.”
We are truly grateful for another great season and for all the incredible things we achieved together as a community! We hope to keep dancing with you ALL throughout the Summer!