KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Darby O'Connor with Circle Modern Dance teaches a ballet barre class on the roof of her building.
She is almost alone.
"My neighbor is up here. Say hey to Andrew. And his dog. Lots of things could happen. But that's why it's fun. And we're dancing at home," she said recently while setting up a Zoom session.
Ashley Corey Wagner is also a Circle Modern Dance Core Member.
"We all look forward to getting back to our weekly classes in the studio because it's a home for us and we miss is dearly," she said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Circle Modern Dance offered five classes a week: two ballet, two modern, and an improv class.
Now it offers three a week. They are on Zoom. And they are free.
"All you really need is a small space. I know that can be an issue for some people as well. They think I don't have a big living room I don't have a giant kitchen or whatever," Ashley said. "If you have maybe a 10 by 10 space or something like that where you can move around a little bit then you can make that work."
The remote class format is a completely unexpected development as the dance company celebrates its 30th year.
"Circle also does a lot of performances. Some of them are small, we were prepping for Rossini before it got postponed unfortunately," she said. "We have a large scale stage performance that we were planning to do in August at the Bijou. That's looking like it's going to be postponed."
Circumstances have changed but not Circle's mission.
"Our motto is that every body has a right to dance and if you have a body then you are a dancer. So we welcome everybody to bring to their talents and their visions and their skills,"she said.
"The whole circle crew has a whole lot of adaptability and a whole lot of creativity and I think we are going to be pushing forward for the celebration of that 30th anniversary.
One advantage of the video classes is you're at home with no pressure.
"If you were at all hesitant to give it a shot or to try out something like that then this is actually a great opportunity to come see what it's all about," she said.
Darby wrapped up the class with a stretch and some calming words: "Draw your hands to your chest."
The classes are free with an option to make a donation on PayPal. A generous financial gift is keeping the dance company going,
"Kathleen Frey was a longtime Circle Modern Dance Board member and friend of Circle who we unfortunately lost in February and it was one of her wishes that a lot of the donations that came in her name went toward Circle. So we've actually been able to carry on the classes in her honor and in her name," Ashley said.
Below are the Links and Codes to the Wednesday night Ballet Class.
Please copy and paste this link to add to your calendars:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 408 710 110
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,408710110# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,408710110# US (New York)
Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 408 710 110
Find your local number: https://us04web.zoom.us/u/fb4WamlaOV