Academy of American Dance
April 12, 2021
Led by director Julia Dugan, the Academy of American Dance in Redwood City, formally known as the Academy of American Ballet, has been able to find new ways to encourage the dancers to continue their training and keep everyone engaged. This year, they introduced a new virtual version of the well-known nutcracker due to the inability to do a typical production.
“I tried to still give the dancers a goal and something to look forward to, as well as the parents. We did a virtual Nutcracker, where we filmed in my parking lot outside and rigged up an entire stage with backstage and costumes, and we filmed it … I think that that provided a nice outlet for everyone, and there was a lot of joy that came from it,” Dugan said.
Although Dugan has been able to find ways to make the best of the current situation, given the circumstances, COVID-19 has faced studios with many difficulties.
“It has disrupted the community of people, and the social fabric has been eroded (…) Another difficulty is financial, and the studio has definitely taken a hit financially, and it’s difficult to keep up a level of training,” Dugan said.
Dugan has found that the dancers and families at the studio have been a helpful aspect in keeping the studio running through these difficulties.
“I have been really impressed with the parents and families, all the dancers and their flexibility and loyalty, and willingness to support us. This has been tremendously inspiring for me because they’ve really come alongside us, and we always knew that that was there, but that’s been strengthened, and I’m grateful for that (…) I feel that God has called me to do this, and I think it goes beyond just providing novel lessons and dance to providing light and love and care,” Dugan said.