GRAFTON— Through love, determination and perseverance, the students at Studio C will finally have their hard work showcased, as owner Casey Cox proudly presents Studio C’s First-Ever Virtual Recital, “Lights, Camera, Dance!” available for the community’s viewing pleasure on Saturday, August 15.
Typically, each year in June, Studio C puts on a showcase of the students’ hard work at their annual recital held at Grafton High School, however, once COVID-19 struck, Cox was faced with a difficult choice; let the virus win and end the dance year, or come up with a new plan.
Fueled by her own love of dance, as well as the love she carries for each of her students, Cox knew allowing the virus to take recital from her students was not an option.
“When we had to close down due to COVID-19, I honestly thought it would only be for a week or two, and the kids would pick up right where they left off,” she disclosed. “However, as the weeks progressed into months, I began to understand that this wasn’t going away anytime in the foreseeable future. I knew that I had to develop a plan for my students.”
Coinciding with the governor’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback initiative, Studio C was able to open its doors and invite students back to classes on June 1, with new guidelines in place.
Cox’s plan, once she was able to reopen, was to put the finishing touches on routines as quickly as possible, and from there she would record their acts, for what would be studio’s very first virtual recital.
“When our dancers came back, you could tell they had all been practicing, but after three months, and not being in the studio rehearsing with their friends and teachers, a lot of them had forgotten their routines,” she shared.
This meant that Cox had to start some of her classes from scratch; a very challenging feat for both herself and her young students.
With the fluidity of the situation that is the Coronavirus, Cox knew that time was of the essence to complete these routines and have them recorded.
“The situation was constantly changing, making it a scary situation for me and my students. I was constantly wondering if I would be forced to close the studio again, before we had the chance to record,” she expressed. “Whether they were finishing the routine they partly remembered or they were having to learn an entire routine from beginning to end, they were forced to learn it and finish it quickly.”
While it wasn’t with ease, as many days Cox found herself working from early in the morning until late at night, the first group of routines was able to be recorded at the end of June.
“In order to follow CDC guidelines, and maintain social distancing, group gathering numbers, etc. I worked from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., so that there was only one class in the studio at a time. This also allowed us to have an adequate amount of time between classes for sterilization,” revealed Cox.
When it came to recording the completed routines, and capturing the traditional dance year photos, the schedule was worked the same way; one class at a time, to keep from having a large number of students together in one space.
After the last class was recorded mid-July, the dancers of Studio C could breathe a sigh of relief that they were finally able to conclude another season of dance, but for Cox, the work was far from over.
Once recording wrapped, she would spend over 20 hours, editing and compiling the videos together to create the virtual recital video, but Cox didn’t stop there.
In an effort to make this unusual situation as normal as possible for her students and their parents, Cox also spent hours each day creating a program for the virtual showcase.
“Because all of my students were unable to perform for a live audience, I wanted to make sure this experience was as close to what they’re used to as possible,” she commented. “ Of course nothing will ever replace the feeling you get being under stage lights and hearing the crown applaud and cheer for all of your hard work, but I’m really hoping this will come close.”
So, why did Cox go through all the extra work for her students? Because the same love of dance she had growing up, is now the love of dance that she sees on the young faces of her students.
“Sure, cancelling would have been easier, less time consuming, but so much harder on my heart and the hearts of my students. They worked so hard. They deserved this,” she expressed. “I know how special that one day of the year is to these kids.”
Cox said to her, growing up, recital day was even more special to her than Christmas Day.
“I can’t imagine how it would have felt for me as a kid to have to abruptly stop going to dance, and for all of my hard work to be for nothing. To me, there was no question that we would have a recital. I will always do my best to make sure my students get what they deserve, because to me, my students are not just my students, I love them all like they are my own,” she exclaimed.
Through all of the changed plans and bumps in the road along the way, Cox came out more proud of her students than she had ever been before, and also appreciative of the parents that worked so cooperatively with her through a most uncertain time. And not only did she appreciate the parents, but they appreciated her and all she had done for their dancers, more than words could express.
“In the face of adversity, Casey managed to save the rest of our dance season,” remarked dance mom Megan Hicks. “The virtual recital, while not our ideal situation, proved to give the kids closure and showcase their talents and hard work.”
Hicks added that she is extremely proud of the outcome given the circumstances saying, “each dancer should also be proud of the work they’ve done, and that they were able to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity!”
Anyone wishing to view Studio C’s First-Ever Virtual Dance Recital may do so from the comfort of their own home, by following a link that will be shared on the studio’s Facebook page before the show begins.
The link will be posted to https://www.facebook.com/StudioCdancing, shortly before 6:00 p.m., on Saturday, August 15. A test link will be posted on Friday, August 14, to ensure everything is running smoothly. The recital will also be streaming on YouTube.
If you have a child that would like to give dance a try, and become part of the Studio C family, Cox shared that she is accepting new students for the 2020-2021 dance season, which is slated to begin in October.
Those wishing to do so may register by visiting studiocdancing.com, or by calling 304-903-8675. Alternately, to register a child, you may also call or send a text message to 304-641-7566.