Salsa dancers spin to a new beat as Coronavirus pandemic continues

Hispanic Heritage Month

RICHMOND, Va. — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Latin dancers across Central Virginia are moving to a new beat.

Adelle Broom has been with the Latin Ballet for 11 years and said this season is a lot different.

“Its been really hard not being able to express our culture, to be able to spread it to everyone else,” Broom said.

Rehearsals are now virtual. Dancers are using video conferencing as their stage.

“It’s surprising because you just learn what you really can do. A lot of us say I can’t, I can’t, but when you’re forced to have to do it, you surprise yourself,” Broom said.

The director of the Latin Ballet edits prerecorded dances into virtual performances.

“This disease is trying to separate us all, but it’s good to know we can all still be together, even if not physically, we can still be together and enjoy the love of everything that we do,” said Broom.

The Latin Ballet typically takes part in several events in the community that were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Many dancers in the community look forward to the annual RVA Salsa Bachata Congress. The organizers like Anita “Annie” Fund decided it wasn’t worth the risk this year.

“When everything happened and it happened so suddenly, the first thing that came to mind for us was our community and keeping our community safe,” Fung said.

With the setbacks, there are glimmers of hope. Boris Karabashev was able to reopen his doors after shutting down his salsa dance studio for months.

“The economic toll is pretty big because for the first four months, pretty much, I wasn’t allowed to do any business,” said Karabashev.

Now he can teach, but each dancer must do a temperature check and wear a mask.

Dancer gets a temperature check at Salsa with Boris. (Photo: Sierra Fox)

“The problem is, especially for the instructor, like when you just dance, you can adjust your breathing, inhale, exhale, but when you start talking during intense dancing and you have to talk loud then things become really, really difficult,” said Karabashev.

With precautions in place, Karabashev providing a sense of normalcy for the dance community.

“I’m glad I can contribute in a certain way so people can feel better during this hard time,” said Karabashev. “The whole lockdown situation is very difficult for everyone, not being able to communicate and socialize.”

Dancing has been threatened by the pandemic. (Photo: Sierra Fox)

While there are plenty of uncertainties moving forward, people are turning to dance as an outlet. It’s beautiful to see them making the best out of the situation.

If you’re interested in learning salsa and bachata, visit Salsa with Boris.

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