Dancing through a pandemic: Dance clubs take steps to stay safe

Students dance to music outside Bosco Plaza as part of a Swing and Salsa club event during an event in 2012. (Archive Photo | Collegian Media Group)

Although COVID-19 canceled, postponed and changed the face of many events and student organizations on campus, the KanDance and Swing and Salsa clubs at plan to remain as active as possible.

KanDance’s main goals are to increase the number of members from last year while still working around COVID-19 guidelines, Taybor Smith, senior in apparel and textiles and president of the KanDance club, said.

“We want to bring the dance community together,” Smith said.

KanDance teaches a variety of dance styles, including jazz, tap and ballet. Smith said no major, minor or experience in dance is required to join.

Since KanDance is connected to the dance program, the student organization also has access to an athletic trainer that they hope to include in new events.

“We want to hold a Healthy Lifestyle event, which this year would be a virtual livestream,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we could have an athletic trainer speak, have a certified yoga teacher hold a class and give out lifestyle recipes.”

As for club activities, KanDance plans to meet in person and teach dances that do not require a partner for the time being. If COVID-19 trends worsen, the student organization plans to post videos on YouTube for club members to watch and learn different dance styles.

“This pandemic does not affect my enthusiasm about the club, let alone dancing in general,” Neo Shockley, junior in fine arts, said.

As for Swing and Salsa, the officers are hoping to meet in person as long as protocols permit it. They also plan to add more dances that don’t require a partner to the mix.

“The club will begin by teaching the basics in Latin dancing because the footwork can be done without a partner,” Abena Taylor, graduate student in business administration and president of the Swing and Salsa club, said.

The club also wants to begin teaching the Charleston, which requires no partner. As an added bonus, that specific dance offers the chance to get competitive as some competitions focus on that style.

The Swing and Salsa club’s first meeting will be in-person at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the K-State Student Union Courtyard.

After that — depending on the local COVID-19 situation — the club members will be asked to bring their own partners in order to prevent spreading disease and germs to strangers. For partnered dances, the club will provide gloves to prevent skin-to-skin contact, and all participants will wear masks.