Dancing Through the COVID-19 Crisis


Kaitlyn Greer, Arts and Leisure Editor


As seen by these recordings, the transition from in studio to Zoom dance classes has been one like no other. Due to COVID-19, Le Moyne professor, Lawrence Crabtree quickly had to adapt to a new style of teaching in his hands-on dance classes.

Professor Crabtree emphasized that “Not being there for hands-on training” has been a downfall these past few weeks while teaching both ballet and jazz classes.

This new change is not only difficult for Crabtree, but his students as well, “covering center work is nearly impossible with student’s space”. With teaching online, come barriers, but Crabtree is trying his best to make it as smooth of a transition for students as possible.

One major conflict with the lack of space students may have is that they now, “hinder in vocabulary” that they would have learned with across the floor exercises and executing moves in the dance studio.

Even basic turns that were once incorporated into the dance routines have been altered because “every student’s in a different environment… some have bigger space to work in or animals walking through…some might be on concrete floor or some might be on a carpeted floor, so all of those things are a factor”

However, to help ensure the success of his students, Crabtree said, “I’m still focusing on placement and making sure that, you know, people don’t get injured, especially because they’re in a new environment…”.

With having online classes and not walking to class every day, there is a lot of sitting and staring at computers for hours at a time. So, he explained how important it is for students to have some sort of “physical relief”.

With that being said, his expectations have not changed and neither has his students. Crabtree said, “I think there is respect for me as an instructor, and I think they all feel that I have a good respect for them in dealing with situations, and the situation that we’re in” and that “they’re still taking this class as serious as they were before.”

Le Moyne student, Emelia Pollock, is currently taking Crabtree’s Jazz Dance Technique class over Zoom. Emelia explains how this transition has been for her. “The classes have been a little hard to adapt to considering that sometimes I have lack of room and I have a lot of distractions at home, especially my son.”

She says that Crabtree has been “really accommodating and understanding” for his students like Emelia who may have distractions at home.

Getting in the proper amount of exercise has also become a challenge for many, but Emelia said, “I look forward to the classes (with Lawrence) because if I didn’t do his class I honestly would probably lounge around the house”.

As far as grading goes for Crabtree, it will be very similar to how he would have if classes were still held in person. He said, “I will review everyone’s ability to present the choreography we have worked on and aside from attendance, participation, involvement, test, homework, etc., I will look at where they started and how far they have developed during the semester when determining their grade, individually”.

Overall, it is important for Crabtree and his students to express how they are adapting to everything going on in this COVID-19 consumed world. So, he said that in his classes they “check-in before and after class” to make sure every student is doing well.

Now, after dancing for 52 years and teaching for 35, Crabtree expressed how teaching online has definitely been a different approach compared to a traditional dance room. However, it does not take away from how important it is to “relax and stretch” especially in this stressful COVID-19 world.