The lifting of business closures last month meant good news and bad for Ahwatukee Dance Studio 111 Kimberly Lewis.
First, the bad: For the first time in 26 years, her studio will not be presenting a summer show.
Lewis, whose studio has been in lockdown since the state’s mid-March business closures, had hoped to still present “High School Musical” in June but said “we had no choice to cancel.”
“The safety and health of our children is our priority and in these uncertain times it was the right decision to cancel our show,” she said.
But the good news is that she is reopening her studio Saturday – and set an Aug. 8 audition for her 22nd annual presentation of “Ahwatukee Nutcracker” this December.
“We open officially on June 13 for summer dance camps and summer classes and summer ballet intensives,” Lewis said. “We did a trial run this week with a few students to see how it went and it was really good.”
“Parents were pleased and dancers were overjoyed to be back inside the studio,” she said.
Of course, the studio’s operation has changed somewhat in deference to COVID-19.
Lewis hired Ahwatukee-based Sanitize Now, which she said “brought in the most amazing equipment and spent a full day completely sanitizing the entire studio, including AC units and all air ducts.”
Then Lewis made 10x10-inch square markings on the floor of each dance room “so our dancers would have their own social distancing box to dance in.”
“When dancers enter the studio, they take off their street shoes,” Lewis added. “We take everyone’s temperature and we have them sanitize and wash hands – which is important. We have the entire studio marked off so everyone keeps a safe social distance.
“After each class we go back is to each dance room and sanitize and clean all the floors and dance barres before starting the next class,” she added.
Like many other businesses offering classes and entertainment for children and teens, Lewis has started a hybrid outreach.
While young dancers can attend and dance students can, she said, “we will still continue to offer all summer classes and dance camps and ballet programs online through zoom as well.”
Lewis will roll out audition details for the “Nutcracker” in a few weeks, but reminds everyone from 3 to 18 that they do not have to be a Dance Studio 111 student to be part of her giant cast.