I am not an extremely savvy person and though I am only in my early thirties I still appreciate traditional things, like actual books, phone calls etc. Before the entire coronavirus outbreak I had never used the “story” feature in my IG account, and I was quite worried about the fact that human relationships have shifted from a face-to-face model to a screen-to-screen one. Little did I know how these virtual platforms would become life saving.
I was asked to teach an online ballet class before the UK actually went into lockdown. I refused, I said it will be fine, we will only allow 5 people into the studio and that would allow us to social distance. However, the studio complex I was teaching in was a part of the uni’s facilities and it closed down a couple of days before class. At around the same time I got an email from a studio owner who I teach Pilates for. She explained she was starting an online platform and would like me to stream my next class from the studio (while people who already booked might come). I was quite scared about doing that, but it ended up being what help me head-start my online teaching. She showed me how to go live on FB and helped set up the camera. At that class people were actually also participating from the studio, but that lasted only one more week before the entire country was closed, and all of my classes became virtual.
Since then I have become a regular “story” user, I mostly post shout outs for my favorite teachers or small local businesses. I have also managed to teach live streamed FB and IG classes, as well as Zoom sessions. My classes included yoga, Pilates, Yogilates, barre, stretching, ballet conditioning, ballet, contemporary, jazz and acro-dance. I teach open and closed groups. Some of the classes I teach I get paid for, some are donation based. I usually give at least 1 free class per week via my private FB account. I am also extremely happy to still be teaching my lovely little (and less little) girls.
It’s not perfect, it’s not the same, but this allows me to still connect, to offer something to my friends and students and to allow some sort of stability and continuity. One of my favorite things is when me and my mom (who is now living in Israel) take the same class, and then I can see her in one of the Zoom windows. I also love when she joins my classes. I also love seeing m friends comment on FB classes we both take.
I believe and hope this is an alternative that will stay viable even after this crises is over. It makes classes more accessible and allows to close gaps of time and space (like joining a class in Israel or NYC). Not that all classes should be taken like this, but some, perhaps. I also see some of my shy kids flourish within the comfort of their own home. I honestly can’t imagine what this entire lockdown would look like only 20 years ago…