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Coping with COVID: Borchardt Dance Company

FAIRMONT–Borchardt Dance Company is not new to the Fairmont community. Nita Borchardt is the second-generation owner of the company and has kept her business going through the pandemic with adjustments and positivity.

Borchardt’s experience consists of dancing professionally for 12 years, including stints in New York, Los Vegas, and on cruise ships. Borchardt Dance Company was originally opened by her mother Kathy and has been around for 40 years. Borchardt came back to Fairmont five years ago and took ownership of the company from her mother in September of 2019.

The pandemic came six weeks away from their annual dance recital. Borchardt and her teachers adjusted to the pandemic by putting together videos for their kids to practice their dance routines and a week after the first shutdown the company moved to teaching over Facebook Live. During the second shutdown, the company moved to teaching Zoom classes.

“We are thankful that we have the virtual as an option,” Borchardt said. “It’s not ideal by any means for the kids or us, but we’ve been able to navigate through it.”

In the classroom, Borchardt Dance Company mapped out six-foot squares on the floor that were assigned to each kid. This was changed in the summer leading up to their dance recital.

“The way that we’re teaching and have had to transition from in-person to online has been challenging,” Borchardt said. “None of us are very technologically savvy. I chose dance for a reason, but my teachers have been really great in helping me along the way and we’ve all learned a lot of things about video editing, downloading and uploading videos and finding it fun for the kids to learn online when we can’t see them in person.”

The kids and parents want to be back in the classroom, but Borchardt has described them as super supportive and cooperative during this process. Borchardt stated that most of their families have returned this year. Borchardt finds it comforting to know that the families see the value in dance.

“We had kids dancing in their kitchen, in their bathroom, in their basement, and in their garage so they were really rockstars when it came to that,” Borchardt said. “So when we got back into the studio I was like run, leap and turn. We used the whole room and worked the kids so they could physically be moving again, expressing themselves, and enjoying dance again.

Despite the pandemic, Borchardt Dance Company proceeded in their annual recital and held it last summer. Borchardt was very concerned about their safety and have them gather together. She and her staff gave out a survey to the parents and asked them if they wanted the recital and a majority wanted it as well as Borchardt Dance Company wanted it as well.

With the help of Bethel Evangelical Free Church and Martin Luther High School, the recital was able to be held. Bethel Evangelical Free Church helped out by providing space for recital practice. Martin Luther High School allowed Borchardt Dance Company to perform their recital in July.

Rehearsals consisted of four weeks of in-person and then had the recital in one day in July. The format changed as they switched from a recital format into a showcase format. They could only do a couple classes at a time for performance purposes.

Borchardt coped with COVID by thinking of a quote. The quote is “Getting knocked down in life is a given, but getting back up and moving forward is a choice.”

“I think we’ve kinda lived by that where things are going to happen and we’re going to face hurdles, but we’re going to work to overcome them,” Borchardt said. “As dancers we are doers, so we see an obstacle we just find a way through it, above it or around it and that’s the mindset that we’ve had. That no matter what we’re going to keep plugging along and keep offering kids dance lessons.”

Borchardt described her mindset and attitudes as scared. She took over the company and in less than a year the pandemic happened and it was scary moving forward. The fear was if she would have students. The fears were reassured with a group of dedicated dancers and parents that have shown their support.

Borchardt learned during the pandemic a lot about technology, the virus, her teachers who have stepped up and did things that without their help she wouldn’t have been able to get through things without, how supportive the families have been, and really passionate kids that really want to learn, dance and see the value that dance brings to their lives.

Borchardt’s advice and the message she wanted to send was to keep moving forward. Borchardt views herself as a positive person and to her always finding the silver lining, valuing the people that support her on the way, and just keeping a positive outlook is really important.

“I’m just thankful for the community, the parents that have supported us along the way, and the kids that want to come out and dance, are so passionate about dance that despite this pandemic they’re still going to attend class and be here and support us,” Borchardt said. “Without my teachers and dance assistants’ support, I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a story about coping with COVID-19 whether you are a restaurant owner, small business owner, or an individual who would like to share your story, contact Sentinel Staff Writer Blake Faith via his email: bfaith@fairmontsentinel.com.

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