Performing Arts, Athletics Benched By COVID-19

Dance students of Howell resident Lindsay Williams are learning their dance steps online due to the coronavirus crisis that caused a six feet physical distancing requirement. (Photo Provided by Lindsay Williams)

  HOWELL – Lindsay Williams has lived in Howell for about 10 years, and her passion is dancing and passing along that passion to young women. That is why she founded her Toms River based dance academy which due to the current social distancing has been hard to maintain.

  Williams’ dance school is among many youth oriented performing and athletic organizations and businesses impacted by the current lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

  “The dance community has been severely affected as it is normally done in close contact with others, and we mainly cater to children,” Willams said.

   “The virus is impacting the way children are learning and how we are all dealing with it, I own a dance studio in Ocean County, many of my dancers attend the Performing Arts Academy of Ocean County, and Toms River Schools,” Williams said.

Dance students of Lindsay Williams Toms River dance academy gather during a past event but current restrictions based on the coronavirus pandemic have limited their interaction to online instruction. (Photo Provided by Lindsay Williams)

  She added, “this has severely rocked the small dance studio owner community. Nearly all of our events have been cancelled, like competitions, conventions, master classes and potentially our recital.”

  During the current restrictions she has moved to online dance classes and Google classroom video sharing.

  Williams studio has been in Toms River since 2011, “we were just a few weeks from entering our 9th season. We were around during Superstorm Sandy, and we were closed for almost two weeks due to power outages. That was nothing compared to this.”

  Further recalling the experience of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and its aftermath into 2013, Williams said, “many of our families were devastated as we are very close to areas that were ravaged by the storm. I even helped out at the Crystal Diner, which is one block away from my location, serving coffee the day after. We have seen it all.”

  “My dancers range in age from 18 months to 17 years old, for the most part spirits seem to be high with the older ones, the little ones don’t understand what’s going on and why we can’t meet together,” Williams said.

  “We have videotaped many of the things we do with our preschool dancers and we are having virtual dance classes for the older ones using Zoom. The kids join in and dance in their living rooms. It takes a little getting used to but we are making the best of it,” Williams said.

Before COVID-19 struck (Photo Provided by Lindsay Williams)

  “Many prominent teachers and dancers in the industry are doing free live classes on Instagram, which is amazing. Our dancers are able to take class and learn from people they may never have been able too if not for our current situation,” Williams said.

  Williams wants to put together an outdoor Dance Festival for the dancers in the Ocean County area who have had all of their events cancelled. “I would love to see the students perform what they have been working on all year.”

  She even has a location in mind for her dream. “I would love to do it in Seaside Heights on the Franklin Avenue Stage on the Boardwalk. I think this would really bring the arts back into the community.”