Thank you to who came to either one or both of the parking lot Lenora's Room. It was a great success, perfect weather, a full dance floor for justabout the whole evening and lots of smiles, hugs and enthusiams through out the evening. Special thanks to Debra Iguchi who partnered with me on this dance and handled keeping track on who was coming, vaccine verifications, organizing help set up, decorations, and handling a more than normal check in process. Also Lenora's Room Eric and Dorothy found and acted as contact with the Church. And of course the floor crew, who did the hard work in the heat, The Church was very easy to work with and site turned out to ideal for our needs. I also want to voice my appreciation for the scientists who have given us this vaccine and has provided information we can trust. Photos and a video or two will be up on the website and perhaps Facebook this weekend. We are looking forward to the Traditional Summer Ball and returning to Norse Hall in August.
Vaccination versus Non-Vaccination Moving Forward
In March of 2020, the style of social dancing we do was put on an indefinite hold due to the covid virus. We had very little information about how the virus was transmitted and even less about how it could be controlled. It was obvious social dancing was right up there as a potential super spreader event. Over the next 15 months, we learned wearing a mask can help control the spread of the virus, at the beginning of the year an effective vaccine was developed that has significantly decreased the spread of the virus to the point where we can consider having dancing again. Our vaccinated only dances have been successful and very comfortable. They have felt like the dances we have had in the past. Most dancers changed partners and did not wear masks; some wore masks and limited partner switching. We encourage people to do what they feel comfortable doing as long as it does not effect adversely others around them. We also realize that we are excluding people who for various reasons have not been vaccinated. We would love to see you back on the dance floor.
Like many things in our current culture, we have been divided by being told wildly different versions of what facts are, what truth is. As a dance community, it is our hope that we can work at finding a consensus that transcends those divisions and solidifies our community. Dance is an activity where ideas become feelings in the moment, philosophical differences dissolve in the flow of movement communicated one individual to another.
As it stands now, how can we move forward? For vaccinated dancers, it seems there is little risk of covid being transmitted from unvaccinated dancers who wear a mask to vaccinated dancers who are in the same space. Vaccinated dancers can choose if they want to dance with someone wearing a mask or having no wristband.
We hope that unvaccinated dancers can understand it is going to take a while for vaccinated dancers to feel comfortable at a dance that is this open to all. Respecting each other’s decisions will go a long way to bridging our gap.
So after our outdoor dances, we would like to work on a way for unvaccinated dancers to move back onto the dance floor. If you are unvaccinated, give us feedback, let us know you want to be come and will wear a mask. You could also come to our Thursday dances which are open to unvaccinated dancers who agree to wear a mask during the whole dance.
If you are vaccinated let us know your concerns with having unvaccinated dancers at our events.
Let’s start a conversation among our group. This is a process that can work its way to a consensus, if we open ourselves to that goal. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
When physical partner dancing was abruptly stopped in March, 2020, it was a shock and loss to us all, but we’re resilient! We found other ways to keep our community alive, together and moving. We learned how to use Zoom and stretched it to its limits as we slowly developed a format that is working for us – until we can dance in person again. We started having Zoom get-togethers for the dance community on Thursday nights, our usual dance night. We added music and experimented with ways to maximize zoom dancing. Rose City Studio, our Thursday night venue, was able to reopen under COVID guidelines from July through November and we once again partnered on Thursday nights via Zoom, with live dancers at RCS and Zoom dancers from home. Rose City has recently reopened on an even stricter basis (for now), but we’re hoping that we’ll continue to inch closer to the ability to dance together in person!
In addition to meeting every Thursday night, Portland Dance Eclectic had our first Zoom Sunday brunch in summer 2020, then we had a successful Thanksgiving weekend dance, a Zoom New Years Eve dance and Zoom brunches January, February and March.
Here’s an update of where we are now with summer dancing. I had a long conversation with the person in charge of renting for city parks special use. It seems that due to the changes they made within the last year, there is no way we can have dances at Director Park like we have had in the past without paying close to $4000 for permits and most of this would be non refundable if there was rain. The only other way we could have a dance there is if we charged no entry fees and opened the floor to anyone who wanted to dance. The tango community has done dances this way. It is a lot of work, it would need to be organized by a group of volunteers and money would need to be donated but the cost for permitting would be around $1000 non refundable. Knowing the amount of work this would take, this is not the way I would choose to proceed.
The above would also apply to any city owned site, again very disappointing. So we looking at other options. There two church parking lots that look promising, one is by the church at SE 33rd and Woodward, where Eric has his dances. The other is the parking for the church at NE 16th and Hancock St. We are hoping we can have dances at hope with Hancock location being more suitable for a Black and White Ball type event.
Involving dancing safely, it would need to conform the covid situation at the time of the dance. It seems that the consensus of what people would like is to be able to switch partners, that mask wearing would be optional and vacination required.