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Virus postpones, cancels Fairmont dance recitals

FAIRMONT — May is traditionally a busy month with graduations, confirmations, weddings and other celebrations. Many have been postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes two local and popular dance recitals.

Kathy Borchardt of Borchardt Dance Company in Fairmont said their recitals have been taking place Mother’s Day weekend for more than 50 years. This year marked the first time a recital had to be rescheduled.

She said the worst thing that could happen in the past was rain on Mother’s Day weekend.

“I’ve never had to go through any of this before but this is something new to most people in the country,” Borchardt said. “We’re going ahead with the recital. Our routines are ready to go and we’re scheduled for the end of July.”

“It sounds like everything is going to be the same as it would be on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Carrie Westcott, mother of a senior dancer, Andrea Westcott.

Andrea has been dancing for 15 years. Her older sister, Alyssa, also danced through her own senior year. This means Carrie has been attending recitals on Mother’s Day Weekend for nearly 20 years.

“It was weird. I went from expecting a super-busy weekend to nothing,” said Carrie, explaining that she is used to going non-stop from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening on recital weekend.

New dates are set, with the rehearsal scheduled for Friday, July 24, and the recital taking place Saturday and Sunday of that weekend.

“It’s tentative at this point, depending on what the guidelines are then. We’ll reassess closer to those dates,” said Nita Borchardt, instructor at Borchardt Dance Company.

Nita said the last in-person class took place the week schools were closed.

“We were in the studio that entire weekend recording all of the recital routines for the kids so they could continue to learn those,” Nita said of herself and two other teachers.

The videos were then made available to students.

Students used the videos for the first week while the teachers considered what platform to use for classes.

“We considered Zoom and YouTube private videos, but we ended up going with the Facebook live feature,” Nita explained.

Since then, classes have been held on their normal days and times.

Andrea noted that it has been strange dancing solo. Typically she dances with other senior students, including five from Fairmont and one from Martin County West.

“When we have formations or groups, it’s hard to do without other people,” Andrea said.

As a senior, many events and celebrations have looked different for Andrea and her classmates.

“It was hard dancing all those years and then realizing I wouldn’t get to finish this year,” she said, adding that she is optimistic a July recital will take place.

Nita said she knows some studios have simply closed their doors and said no more classes. But many also have transitioned to online classes.

Ticket day had not happened so no refunds are necessary at this point. As it gets closer to the date, tickets will be made available if a recital will take place.

Tammy Armstrong is the owner of Dancin’ Plus, located in downtown Fairmont.

“We made the difficult decision a few weeks ago that we would just push the pause button. We are currently on hold with all of our classes,” she said.

They also cancelled the recital, which was supposed to take place this weekend.

“One of my goals when all this started was to not create extra stress and workload on our families. I know they were going through enough with transitioning to working from home or, worse yet, being furloughed or let go, and trying to home-school kids. It’s a crazy time so I wanted to make it as simple as I could,” Armstrong explained.

She said that when schools were closed, they knew the studio should close too. Shortly after, they were closed by the state as a non-essential business.

Armstrong has created a Facebook group page for dance families.

While there are so many uncertainties right now, Armstrong does have plans for the fall.

“We’re not going anywhere. We’ll be here and we’ll open when we can open. And we’ll get back to dancing,” she said.

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