Dancing through the Pandemic

Projects Abroad volunteer shares dance classes from apartment in Brasov

March 26, 2020  |  By Lucette Wood, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Dancing through the Pandemic

Photo : Sonja teaching at Maierus

Dancing through the Pandemic

Photo : Online dance class

  • Isolated in an apartment, 18 year old Sonja Rijkers continued to teach dance classes for Romanian children using a camera and a living-room.

Millions of people are stuck in isolation throughout the world but that doesn’t mean that their daily life’s must change drastically. Sonja Rijkers (18) arrived in Romania at the start of March hoping to volunteer for six weeks on a dance project with Projects Aboard. After a week and a half the schools closed due to new rules put into force by the government to try and contain the spread of the novel virus, Covid-19, within the country. At first, the Dutch teenager wasn’t too bothered about going into isolation and thus not being able to teach dance anymore but she then realised the implications it would have on the children. “I started to feel bad for all the kids who would be missing out on dance classes” Sonja confesses. That’s why, even in isolation, she still felt the urge to teach dance and thus came up with the idea of an online dance workout. All she needed was a camera, a tripod and some free space in the living-room. Music was projected through a small Bluetooth speaker and she then uploaded the footage onto You Tube.  

“Teaching in class is easier”

It all happened two weeks after her arrival in Brasov, the Romanian Government announced a state of emergency within the country due to the virus which limited everyone’s activity outside. Thus, the dance projects sadly had to be suspended. In the beginning, Sonja has chosen to do the dance project as she felt it would help her combat her anxiety; “The best way to do that was with something that I enjoy, which is dancing” said Sonja. She also dances at a dance school in her home country. Before the closures Sonja volunteered at three different establishments within the Brasov area: Step in 2 Salsa dance school, Prejmer Daycare centre and Maierus middle school, teaching a mixture of 2 styles: Urban and dance ballet.

Dancing and teaching at home is not the same as the real thing Sonja said. She enjoys interacting with different people, at the classes she was teaching various different people, who vary in social groups and age; “all were very happy to work with me, the kids in particular were very excited to dance with me. Teaching in class is easier because you can play into how the audience are reacting to it. Whilst online it is harder to gauge what the audience wants. It’s hard to plan out what routines you are teaching”.


Dancing through the pandemic

For Sonja, being isolated was an interesting experience. While the living-room classes where fun, she still hopes to come back to Brasov to finish the project, once the coronavirus pandemic is over. The Dutch volunteer isn’t the only one dancing through the Coronavirus crisis: recently, Indian Policemen recorded a dance to show people how to wash their hands and a Melbourne zoo keeper was caught on camera dancing on a live feed.

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