This month (October), we started partner dancing West Coast Swing with multiple COVID-19 safety measures in place. Prior to students arriving, the studio is sanitized by wiping down all doorknobs, chairs, benches, light switches, and bathroom fixtures. Student temperatures are taken upon arrival, followed by a health questionnaire. The studio has 20-foot high ceilings and the dance floor has been marked with 6x6 foot quadrants for social distancing. Lastly, all students must wear masks for the entire time that they are in the building. Classes limited to 20 people in the dance studio also insures a high level of social distancing.

In order to give people a method to partner dance, we allowed each student to determine how they would like to dance: Wearing a green sticker means that the student is willing to rotate and touch hands, and a red sticker indicates that they either do not want to rotate or prefer to dance solo. While most students have elected to rotate, there are some who choose to maintain one partner for the entire class. Because people are touching hands during partner dancing, we have hand sanitizer available in 3 corners of the studio for easy access during rotations. We have also suspended our usual dance parties at the end of the evening to reduce everyone’s time in the studio to each 1-hour class only. Applying all of these protocols have allowed us to partner dance in the safest way possible.

As we go forward, I will continue to keep my dance community safe by sanitizing the studio, gathering health information if contact tracing becomes necessary, requiring mask usage, and encouraging frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer and proper handwashing methods. I will continue to use a pre-registration system, which has made it possible to maintain density guidelines before class has even begun.

I am incredibly grateful to the dancers who have felt comfortable enough to start dancing West Coast Swing again. Even though we started classes in September with solo dancing drills for West Coast Swing, many students expressed comfort returning to partner dancing as long as we were using appropriate safety measures. Thank you to everyone participating in keeping each other safe.

Dancing West Coast Swing with Safety on October 15, 2020