Without COVID-19, clubs, teams and classes would be thriving. Due to the fact that organizations have to adapt to the new guidelines and make adjustments accordingly, many organizations have been split in two. Those who learn in person and those who opt for a remote option. It was no different for the Prowlers as they transitioned into the ‘new normal’.
“The practices have been different but good,” said Rachel Peters, senior co-captain and Prowlers. “It’s just awesome to be able to dance in a group again even though it’s on Zoom.”
The Prowlers have made safety an important priority for their meetings. They have been hosting their in-person practices since early October and their virtual practices have been taking place since September. For dancers who are on campus, they are of course required to follow the university’s health guidelines in order to continue to meet.
“Once we got school approval, we started doing in-person practices,” rookie Sophie Hedley said. “Before practice we have to take the TU health test and show our green badge. Everyone is dancing six feet apart. We also have to practice with our masks on which can be quite uncomfortable but well worth it. barely for health and safety reasons. After training, we sanitize the studio and repeat the process weekly.
For remote members, their option to connect via Zoom is very similar to what in-person practice would hold for them. But like many of us, Zoom was able to garner some concerns from the team.
“Zoom is pretty much the same as in-person practice,” said senior Tiki Selvan. “It’s a bit different from where you might sometimes run into connectivity issues. At the same time, you can see your friends. Of course, it’s different to see them in person. Sometimes I dance here in my room, but I don’t have room. And in typical dance practices, there are a lot more people, so you feel a lot more anxious because you’re alone.
In addition to the technical details that come with the in-person transition to Zoom, there are also emotional aspects that arise as well. The majority of clubs and teams can say that there is a bond between members that is family in a sense. But with the team divided by social distancing and computer screens, morale could fluctuate.
“Dancing in a dorm isn’t the easiest, but it’s doable,” said freshman Emma Turner, “I would say the hardest part for me is just getting to know the other members. As for the team, being my first year, I’m not quite sure what normal really means, so I can say exactly how difficult this transition has been.
While the new normal for The Prowlers isn’t exactly ideal, their current method of practice seems to be underpinned by the notion that dance is something that can bring people together in its own right.
“It’s definitely been hard to feel this bond that we have between our members since we don’t practice as much and are apart,” Peters said. “But, we’ve had a few social events like Netflix Party nights and we’ll be hosting a virtual secret Santa party to celebrate and bond as a team.”
Members attribute the art of dance to being therapeutic in a sense. Although COVID-19 may impact the format they are able to dance in, whether they are able to dance as a team remains consistent, even if they are not physically together.
“I think it’s a really good outlet to have some sense of normalcy,” junior Beth Bachman said. “I spend most of my days sitting in front of my computer, like many people. Especially on the days when we meet in person, even though we are social distancing and wearing masks, it’s still very nice to be in a room with other people and just move your body. You know, sometimes you just have to run across a room and do a bunch of jumps. And just having that as an outlet has been really helpful for my health.
Like other art forms, dance allows for an expressionistic and interpretative flair. Just like an artist who puts emotion into every brushstroke, dance allows members of the Prowlers to convey their emotion while doing something they all love, whether on the floor of the Bell Center or on the floor of their house.
“Dancing is different for every person,” Bachman said. “I would say for me personally, it’s about beauty, and finding that beauty in yourself, in your body, and finding that connection between your body, your mind, and your soul. Often we can feel stuck in one place or not really living life. But when I dance, it’s like an expression of all the emotions that I feel and I express them. It’s a lot of things for different people.