When Jessyka Bagdon set out to move her tap dancing classes online, big questions started popping up right away: What about kids who don't own their own tap shoes? How to tap dance at home without ruining the floor?
And then came the really big challenge: Online programs like Zoom are designed for meetings, not dance classes. "They're made to pick up voices," she explains, not the clickety clack of tap-dancing shoes. "So how do we make the system not filter out our tap sounds as background noise?"
So Blagdon, an instructor at 'Knock on Wood Tap Studio' in Washington, D.C., set about problem-solving. No tap shoes? Turns out Mary Jane flats work well. Saving the floor? A piece of plywood does the trick. And that muffled sound over Zoom? Blagdon says fiddling around with some computer settings can help.
In the nation's capital, like the rest of the country, kids cooped up at home for weeks now are craving both physical activity and the mental and creative challenges that extracurricular activities bring. And ballet instructors, soccer coaches and piano teachers — just to name a few — are finding the shutdown every bit as complicated as schools moving academic lessons online.
As their counterparts in schools are finding every day, it's really difficult to explain — watching on a screen — to children in a painting class exactly how to hold the brush to get the right effect. Or to align a young karate student's body just so, for a proper sidekick.