Dance studio pirouettes to online

En Pointe Dance Studio transitioned to running classes online during the COVID-19 shutdown to keep the students engaged and community alive.

En Pointe online classes. Picture via April Anusky

A few days into the COVID-19 shutdown, Kelley Slaven and Jennifer Holt knew they couldn’t keep En Pointe Dance Studio shut down. Based at 3114 Willits Road, the studio teaches around 200 students from 3-year-olds to adults, and the co-owners knew they wanted to keep them engaged and connected.

Running a dance studio virtually is a challenge neither ever expected to face, but now in its fifth week of online classes and hangouts, Slaven and Holt have it down to a system. In fact, it’s opened even more opportunities for them to stay connected with students by hosting hangouts like popcorn and pajama night.

“We have a great little family where everyone supports each other, and we want to keep it like it is,” Slaven said.

Thanks to the help of studio secretary April Anusky, who spearheaded bringing the lessons to video conference program Zoom, the studio has been able to keep its regular nightly lesson schedule. Students connect via webcam to practice and show off their moves. Students who can’t make lessons have access to an online vault of recordings.

Many families have created tiny dance studios in their homes so they can keep grooving, Anusky said.

The studio, which has been in Northeast Philadelphia for 13 years, teaches a broad range of dance genres from hip hop to jazz to ballet. The competitive team of about 45 girls was rehearsing for a springtime recital of Cinderella, which Slaven said she is determined to make happen – eventually.

In addition to continuing to run the classes, teachers have stepped up to create things like scavenger hunts and virtual tea parties to keep the students engaged and connected.

“Everyone is doing just a little extra,” Slaven said.

Running the studio virtually is particularly challenging for Slaven and Holt, who both decided to make a difference in the lives of children. Slaven became a foster mom to a 5-month old baby and Holt became a foster mom to three children ages 2, 3, and 5 in addition to having a 10-year-old daughter mere weeks before the shutdown.

Learn more about the studio by visiting EnPointeOnline.com or calling 215-856-7100.