DK Dance students adapting to virtual learning platform

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting day-to-day life, Darci Ward, owner and founder of DK Dance Productions in Alton and Florissant, Mo., was quick to respond, temporarily suspending physical classes and productions on March 16, and launching a distance-learning site only days later keeping the students dancing and tumbling during this unprecedented time. Dancers are known for thinking on their feet and being adaptable … and they are doing just that with this virtual platform.

“Many of our families call DK their third place. This is the place outside of home and school where they feel as though they matter and belong,” Ward said. “My main focus is to sustain and continue developing the social-emotional health of our students and families during this time of social distancing by giving them something from their normal schedule.”

“Our entire staff stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park,” she said. “They have been creating, researching, implementing, collaborating, coding and putting in additional time to produce DKTV.”

DKTV features 78 live streaming classes 5 days a week and about 100 prerecorded videos of recital routines, strength and conditioning classes, flexibility exercises, and functional movement classes for students. “Everyone burned the midnight oil trying to hit our launch date of Monday, March 23,” Ward said.

DKTV also has added Pop Up storytimes with teachers several days a week and fitness classes for the parents.

“This is a time where our #dktribe is stronger together,” Ward added. “It will take a village to get us all through this and my staff and I want to help any way we can. We love all of our families.”

DK Dance Productions serves children as young as 18 months through adult, offering lessons in ballet, jazz, tap, musical theater, poms, hip-hop and tumbling for all abilities, beginner through pre-professional. The foundation of the organization is built on a strong mission to be innovators in dance and develop friendships and life skills.

“It was a natural response to what our community of dancers would need at this time in our world. We have to keep them dancing and keep something active and normal in their lives,” Ward said.

This is just another piece of the “more than just great dancing” philosophy of DK Dance Productions.

“We teach dance, yes, but there’s something really big that we are teaching during this time,” Ward said. “We are teaching our students about change and the ability to not only pivot turn in dance, but that we sometimes have to pivot in life too. It is my commitment to our families and my employees that I will do everything I can to get us all through this historic time in our country.”

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