Getting Back on the Competition Stage
* SAFETY * RESPONSIBILITY * COMPLIANCE *
As you are aware, Government restrictions across the country regarding COVID-19 are beginning to ease which is fantastic news … especially now that you can physically get back into the studio!
As of today (18 June 2020) however, dance competitions are still navigating a number of difficult issues which need resolution before they can resume their scheduled events ‘as normal’, or as close to normal as possible, to comply with State and Federal Government and Health Department guidelines and restrictions that apply to our industry.
Most competitions have a contingency plan in place to deliver their events in your region at a later date, or online, however they need to wait for social distancing restrictions to lift adequately before they are able to confidently go ahead with a workable and safe environment for all concerned. Various competition organisers are also subject to State borders being open before event managers and competitors can travel interstate.
The current 4m2 social distancing restriction (NSW) makes troupe events difficult due to dressing space, backstage and stage space issues. Health and Government departments in each state are mostly concerned about potential ‘transference’ due to perspiration (mainly in dressing spaces and onstage), hands on floors (mainly on stage), and on walls/surfaces (backstage), with regard to dance competitions at this point in time.
AusDance National has advised last week that studios should mop floors between each class to comply with Covid-Safe measures. We assume the same policy would apply also to dance competitions mopping between each item to prevent transference between each individual or group of dancers. This criteria would not be sustainable in a dance competition environment for the obvious reasons of time it would take to adequately mop and dry a dance floor to a dance-safe standard up to 200 times per day. We are seeking clarification on this point also.
Additionally, although venues are ‘ALLOWED’ to reopen for hire from July 1st in some states, most venues are not 100 per cent committing to confirming hires until restrictions have eased more due to their own public safety codes. This varies between venues based on their ownership and who they are accountable to at this stage. For example, some venues used for dance competitions must comply with numerous rules and answer to many levels such as the school principal, Catholic church, State education departments, state health and government department guidelines, and Federal health and government department guidelines before they can ‘guarantee’ a booking. This many levels of bureaucracy makes it difficult to secure any firm venues or dates in the foreseeable future.
Considering all of the above, DanceLife Unite, as an example of national dance competitions, have decided to postpone their (originally planned) July and early August events for Sydney and Brisbane in the hope that restrictions ease adequately for them to conduct events later in Term 3 or throughout Term 4. DanceLife Unite has also confirmed that they will not be holding their annual Troupe Nationals at Luna Park in September this year due to the massive disruption to all dance studios from the COVID19 lockdown.
DanceLife is 100 per cent mindful of the huge impact the COVID19 lockdown has had on studios and does not wish to add any financial pressure to what has been a difficult year for all. At the same time they are also mindful that dancers need reasons to attend performance and competition team classes so they are working hard at present with venues and all relevant organisations to come up with workable and compliant alternatives for our events. At this stage DanceLife Unite organisers are optimistic that Solo Nationals can go ahead in January 2021 which will also be opened up to Troupes who wish to attend.
All dance competitions are hopeful that Australia will soon be following the New Zealand example over the coming weeks as restrictions (hopefully) ease significantly to allow all to operate at a more ‘normal’ capacity.
DanceLife Unite will be re-evaluating everything on July 1st and will be in touch with potential rescheduled dates for their event shortly thereafter.
Please contact your preferred dance competitions directly for information regarding how they are planning to move forward with their events this year and into next.