Silver Stars and Star Dancers dance away virtual troubles



MID POSE: Sophomore Savita Kulkarni gracefully dances on the sidewalk. Adjusting to remote learning has caused the Silver Stars and Star Dancers to come up with creative ways to learn their new dances.

Nicole Rooney, Reporter

During the time of the pandemic, AISD decided to go online for the first four weeks of school. Because of these changes, the dance department made major adjustments. They have been doing their dance classes online through a Zoom call.

Just like anything else, dancing in person is very different from dancing on a Zoom call. In dance usually right now they might be practicing technique or learning a short dance, but this online environment has caused them to have to adapt.

“When we dance at home we have a little more freedom than we would in-person,” junior Parker Hawkins said. “The difference about learning new choreography is at home, we learn it in separate parts but in person, we can learn most of the dance within a week.” In person, the dancers would be prepping for upcoming games or for pep rallies but since everything is online now, there’s not much to prep or get ready for.

“For remote dancing we have Zoom calls for about an hour and a half and we have to keep our cameras on. We stretch together and then we learn new parts to our dance each class,” Hawkins said.

Although the Star Dancers are doing their whole dance class through a Zoom class, the Silver Stars are doing it very differently from the Star Dancers.

“For the past few weeks we would all log onto Zoom at 9 a.m., do a group workout and stretch, then work on our football routines either in breakout rooms with our squads or individually,” sophomore Savita Kulkarni said. “This week we have started in-person practice, so we have to be at Bowie by 7:45 to get our temperature checked with our masks on. Then we practice our football routines until 9:30 and go home to log onto Zoom for shout outs at 10:15.”

The dancers logically need lots of space in order to move around, so they can do every move full out, and avoid distractions. Not everyone has that much space available, so members of the team have had to make many accommodations from moving furniture around their house to even dancing outside in the yard.

“I usually dance in my upstairs loft area and it has been working out OK. I don’t have enough room to do everything which makes dancing harder,” Hawkins said.

In-person class makes it easier for the team to interact, and learn choreography. Using Zoom has made this much more difficult for the dancers.

“I like dancing in-person more because everyone is dancing on the same counts at the same time where on Zoom the music would be off and sometimes glitchy. I also like that I can see my friends in person even if we are six feet apart,” Kulkarni said.

Dancing on Zoom has its challenges. There are many things that could be changed or altered to make dancing remotely better.

“One thing I would change is going into breakout rooms with our squads and having our spirit leader watch us and give us any corrections they have,” Hawkins said. “In these breakout groups we can all ask questions about the dance and maybe get one-on-one corrections.”

Being on a Zoom call for dance is hard not only for the dancers, but also for the directors. Directing a dance team is a lot of work. A big factor for the directors is the reality that they cannot see the full team together, which means they can correct individual mistakes, but helping the team as a whole is nearly impossible.

“It is difficult to play music to dance to for a group over Zoom because of Internet lag time and glitches,” Silver Stars director Leanne Bilnoski said.” We would also love to see a routine come together as a team.”

Being in-person for class makes it easier to form a bond and friendships on the team, but being online makes it harder to connect with the rest of the team.

“It can be kind of awkward to think of conversation starters and the fact that we can’t interact with anyone we want to is hard,” Kulkarni said. “Meaning I can’t ask anyone questions unless I text them or I’m in a breakout room with them.”

Despite the difficulties of not being together, the team still works hard to make sure that at the end of the day they get all their stuff done, according to Hawkins.

“I enjoy getting to meet new people and becoming friends with everyone,” Hawkins said. “I love improving my dance skills and becoming a better dancer.”

Although Zoom can be challenging at times, there is a bright side to it for some of the team according to Bilnoski.

“One thing that is good about dance remotely, is that some students might feel more comfortable trying new styles and techniques in their own space at home,” Bilnoski said.