After a challenging spring and summer due to the coronavirus, Revere’s dance community begins anew this month.
Let’s check in with three local dance studio owners and take a look at the preparations they have made to ensure a safe transition to the new season:
Nicole Paolo, Owner
Nicole Zervas Dance Academy
The Nicole Zervas Dance Academy will begin its 32nd year of operation the week of Sept. 28.
“We’ll have limited class size because of the new COVID-19 guidelines,” said Zervas. “We’ve followed all the guidelines and the control plan that was given to us by the City of Revere and that is facemasks for everyone, six-foot spacing between every dancer and we’ve marked the studio completely.
“We’re doing touchless thermometer checks and the sanitizing of hands,” said Paolo. “All staff will be mandatorily wearing masks. We’ll be completely following the COVID-19 guidelines.”
After being closed in March due to the coronavirus, the Academy re-opened in June and held its first outdoor season-ending recital with more than 100 students performing at Harry Della Russo Stadium in August. Paolo assembled individual costume-changing tents for every student, along with individual garment racks.
“It was important that the parents trusted me so I put together this plan that I felt was safe and followed all the guidelines and went above and beyond the guidelines,” said Paolo. “The parents’ trust was really critical because the time of high anxiety was and is still with us.”
The event was live streamed to families so they could watch from home.
“The show was really wonderful – remarkable actually,” said Paolo.
She described the last several months as “definitely a unique experience and journey with lots of learning throughout it.
“I think the kids have really benefited because they were faced with a lot of obstacles and we were still able to follow the rules, follow the guidelines, didn’t quit, didn’t give up and made it to the finish line.”
Sheila Rosanio, Owner
Sheila Rosanio School of Dance and Gymnastics
The Sheila Rosanio School of Dance and Gymnastics opened for its 36th season on Tuesday.
Because of the large amount of space at the studio and the separate entrances and exits, Rosanio said the School will be allowed to hold two classes simultaneously.
“Everything is marked off with 6-feet blocking – there are ‘little feet’ stickers on the floor so the children know exactly where they’re standing,” said Rosanio. “All children and dance teachers must wear masks. We also bought an electric sanitizing machine so everything is completely sanitized and it is done after every class.”
The School will conduct dance classes six days a week.
“Enrollment is down but I think it’s down for everybody because people are nervous,” said Rosanio, who added the School is also offering online classes for children.
Rosanio said routines will be specifically choreographed so there is no contact between the dancers.
“We’ve bought little stuffed animals for each of our youngest dancers to use instead of dancing with their dance partner and we decorated each Teddy Bear to match their costumes,” said Rosanio. “You have to think outside the box.”
Rosanio said she assembled all the local dance school teachers to plan an outdoor recital at Della Russo Stadium.
“Everybody was on board. The city was great but on the the weekend of our shows, it was determined that no one could use an outdoor venue for more than 25 people. So we tried to move it to Lynn or Malden Catholic, but the Governor said nothing over 25 people. So we lost our recital after all that work all summer. I was devastated but we brought all the kids in and we videotaped their dances in their studio so we’re making a dance recital video for all the parents.”
Rosanio had planned a special recital to commemorate the School’s 35th anniversary.
“We had all these great routines for the 35th anniversary but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said Rosanio, whose dance teams have captured several national championships through the years.
Deanne Mantia, Owner
Mantia Sisters Dance Academy
The Mantia Sisters Dance Academy will begin its 30tht year of operation on Monday, Sept. 14.
“We have 6-foot apart little square for students to dance in – their only little dance space,” said Deanne Mantia. “The students are required to wear masks. We have extra teachers on staff and there will be no more than 10 kids in a class. There will be sanitizing procedures between classes.”
Mantia said that parents and children will not be allowed to arrive early and wait in the reception area or stay late and watch other classes as in past years.
“It’s been an adjustment period but we think we’ve figured it out,” said Mantia.
Mantia Sisters Dance Academy had opened for a six-week period in June.
“We’re supposed to have our recital Aug. 14 and the city canceled it,” said Mantia.
Mantia conceded that a lot of people “are very nervous” about the current COVID-19 situation.
“I have three students whose moms are nurses and they’re all on COVID units so they’re very nervous,” said Mantia. “I do understand but at the same time we’re taking every precaution to keep our students safe. Their safety and well-being is paramount with us.”