Dance team resumes practices over live video calls using Zoom; tryouts postponed until summer

April 2, 2020 — by Andrew Lee and Kevin Sze

Given the shelter-in-place order and health precautions due to the potential spread of the novel coronavirus, the dance team is continuing to meet over live video calls.

The 21 members of the dance team were hit hard when they received the news that both Dance Nationals — which was originally set to take place during late March in Los Angeles — as well as their spring showcase to conclude their year-long training were canceled.

“As soon as Ms. Peck and Ms. Young came in and looked at my coach, we knew there were no Nationals,” senior captain Lillian Wang said. “After our practice fell apart, everyone was really emotional, and we sat with each other and talked about what happened.”

As dance team members became comfortable with the school’s transition to online platforms, they decided that they could hold dance practices over live video calls. Members of the team decided to organize warm-up and practice sessions that would take place over Zoom, giving the team the opportunity to continue perfecting their skills with occasional coaching by dance team coach Maleia Fernandez on the call.

“The entire team was really hit hard with disappointment when we heard the news about the cancellations, so I think this is an extremely positive step we are taking right now,” senior Ashleigh Abe said. “We’ve worked so hard together this entire year, and it’s just nice to still see everyone dancing together as a team again.”

Video calls are planned to occur at least twice a week, often starting between 2 and 3 p.m. Though participating in the calls is technically optional, the team is pushing for all of its members to treat each call as if it were a mandatory meeting in order to foster a sense of togetherness during this emotionally stressful time.

Each meeting usually lasts about an hour, with members engaging in live group dances, as well as discussing different dance routines they have been practicing individually. 

Additionally, the social media app TikTok is popular among the dance team. Members have started using the app as a means of friendly competition; being able to record short videos of difficult dance choreography through the app has allowed them to challenge each other, and, in a sense, continue to dance alongside teammates. 

Dance tryouts, which normally would take place late April, have been postponed. Specific dates and details have yet to be determined, but prospective members should expect tryouts to occur during the summer if the shelter-in-place order ends by then, according to Wang.

“Having dance practices online is definitely still a huge compromise, but it’s one the entire team is really happy to take part in,” Abe said. “I’m going to really miss being able to dance with the other girls in person, and I think practicing over Zoom is going to help relieve disappointment and keep team morale alive.”

 

 

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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