Dance Majors’ New Virtual Reality

At the U, dance majors have had to adapt to online learning. (Courtesy Dissolve)

Google Images

At the U, dance majors have had to adapt to online learning. (Courtesy Dissolve)

By Gabrielle Klinge, Arts Writer


As the magnolia trees blossom and the birds chirp their friendly greetings, the world seems to be coming back to life. A cool breeze containing the hopeful tint of summer passes through campus. Yet, there is seemingly no one there to feel it. Instead, everyone is back in the “comfort” of their homes, staring at lovely faces of their classmates instead of the beautiful spring scenery. 

As we all know, all University of Utah classes were moved to online learning because of the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. This feat has not been an easy transition for anyone involved, especially with the virus introducing itself with only one month left in the semester. For fine arts students used to in-person instruction and collaboration, moving classes online can be an extra challenge.


Practice Makes Perfect

Amber Walterscheid, a current member of the dance program at the U, gave us some insight into her new virtual schedule. After admitting the difficulties of this unexpected upheaval, Waltershceid said, “We’ve worked around a lot of obstacles, but we’ve found that the best way to go about this is to ‘Zoom’ with our professors and class.” Despite the initial negative connotations that most people have regarding this video conferencing app, Walterscheid optimistically pointed out the benefits of Zoom — “We do what we can in the space that is provided while still getting online corrections and information from our professors.”


Let’s Talk about Transition

However, one can only imagine the amount of damage that a dancer could do to their house if they had to learn a jazz routine to Billie Eilish’s hit, “Bad Guy”, in their living room. “One of the biggest challenges is obviously not being able to dance out fully, thus risking the deterioration in the technique we’ve worked so hard to attain this year,” Walterscheid said. So, the dancers aren’t shattering mom’s favorite decorative figurine, but they could be endangering their coveted dance form and technique. Walterscheid explained an additional characteristic to the change in location, which is the new “workspace” that she has to work with — “Most of us are having to take class on hardwood floor, tile or carpet.”

Given these unwanted measures, Walterscheid gave her professors the credit they deserve for assisting them through these unprecedented times. “Our professors are amazing, and they often go above and beyond to help us out,” she said. 


We Can See the Light

Walterscheid also discussed the effect that this transition has had on the dance community. “Many of us are already really close because they’re my teammates, my crew,” she said, which has made this shift more reassuring for the dancers. “We talk and reach out to each other, check up on one another like family, in a way.”

Even though the spring performances were unfortunately canceled, Walterscheid gave us something to look forward to when we return to the U. “We have some pretty amazing performances planned for the fall,” she said.


 [email protected]