Dancing During Covid

We’re Back! (And the Website is getting a over haul)
Portland Dance Eclectic is adapting to COVID to keep dance alive!
(until we can dance together again)

Although we had to cancel all physical partner dances in March 2020, some of us never stopped dancing! We’re dancing alone, with trusted partners and pods, outside, in our hearts, and on Zoom! As the prospect of having in-person dance events gets closer, we want to reactivate the web site so that people can find our dances and keep up on the current Portland Dance Eclectic (and partners) activities.

What we’ve been up to in 2020:
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 and another December 20.

Portland Dance Eclectic Zoom Tips for Your Full Enjoyment (and the enjoyment of other participants)

ZOOM works best on a computer or laptop. Your experience will be greatly improved by using the following tools that Zoom has to offer:

(NOTE: Phones are different and all tools may not be available. Notable Variations for Phone below. If you are using a phone and computer, at least one will need to be on mute.)

ENTERING ZOOM via computer or laptop:

  1. There are two ways to enter:
    1. By clicking on the link in the email. If this does not work for some reason, you can copy and paste the link into your browser OR:
    2. By entering the Meeting ID and Passcode.
      1. If you’ve been to a Zoom meeting before, you have a Zoom Launcher. If you haven’t pinned it to your taskbar, find it and open it. Choose Join (a Meeting).
        1. Type in (or copy and paste) the Meeting ID
        2. Type in the first and last name that identifies you. You can also choose to remember this name, but DO NOT click on the other two choices!
        3. Click on Join
        4. Type in (or copy and paste) the Passcode.
        5. Click on Join Meeting
    3. Join with Video (blue) if given a choice.
We greet each participant upon entering – if not verbally, with a wave. For this reason we prefer that you have your camera and audio on; however, if you are Muted you can press and hold the spacebar to talk. (Audio and Video controls are usually in the bottom left corner of your Zoom screen.)
  1. Make sure you're in Full Screen at all times. (top right corner of screen)
  2. Make sure you're in Gallery View to see more participants. (top right corner of screen)
  3. Breakout Rooms:
    1. Breakout Rooms can be accessed through the Breakout Room icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. If it doesn’t show, Click on the three dots to make it available.
    2. If you do not have Zoom version 5.4.3 or later, the host has to move you from room to room. The host is in the main room where you entered the meeting.
    3. If you need help from the breakout room, you can ask for the host to come help*, but if you are able, come to the main room where she is so you can talk. * NOTE: if you ask for help, someone will come to help you via Chat**. Watch for it.
    1. If you leave the main room, there is a 2-step process to get back:
      1. Click on the BLUE Leave button at the bottom right corner of the screen (Note: on a phone it may be red and in the top right corner)
      2. Click on the BLUE Leave Breakout Room button.
    2. If you click on the RED Leave button in the main room OR choose Leave Meeting from a breakout room, you will leave Zoom and the dance.
  5. ** Chat feature can be used to communicate with people in the same room as you.
    1. Use Chat anytime, but it is especially useful in the DANCE room or when muted.
    2. A pull-down allows you to send to everyone, or to choose one particular person to send a private message to.
  6. In the DANCE room:
    1. You must be in MUTE mode.
    2. Use PIN to make one particular person’s picture larger. (three dots in blue square at top right of the person’s picture. This is particularly helpful when you are trying to dance with one person in another screen or if you want to see another person’s screen better.)
    3. Adjust the size of the shared screen:
      1. In View Options (at top of screen), Choose:
        1. Fit to Window
        2. Side by Side
      2. A light grey vertical bar will become available just to the left of the personal pictures. Use your cursor to find and grab it. Move it left or right to make the shared screen larger (move bar to right) or the personal pictures larger (move bar to left).
  7. Reactions:
    1. Raise Hand is helpful if need help or you are having trouble getting a word in during a conversation. Remember to Lower Hand when issue is resolved! Chat may be more effective.
    2. There are other reactions that you can play with. All others disappear after time.
    3. Reactions show up in the left top corner of your picture. (not on a phone)
  8. Share Screen: IGNORE THIS! If you hit it accidentally, IMMEDIATELY STOP SHARING. (Top or bottom of screen) If you do not have explicit permission from the host to share, you will be removed from the dance!
  9. Record: If you have this option, IGNORE IT! Portland Dance Eclectic does not allow participants to record our Zoom dances. We wish to create a safe, protected place where people can feel comfortable to come as they are, talk and move freely - as long as it is not offensive or hurtful to others.
  1. Join Audio: Choose whether to use your phone’s audio (Preferred: Call Over Internet) or Dial In.
  2. Tap on the screen to see controls.
  3. Breakout Rooms icon may be in the upper left portion of the screen.

Adapting to Dancing In Place

Hope you all are well and adapting to the new requirements for living. Things have really changed as they pertain to dancing. One of the many health aspects of dancing was how dancing with lots of different people and exchanging lots of microbes strengthened our immune system; however, the coronavirus with no current antibodies is not a microbe we can share. So this could be a good time to hit the reset button, both as individuals and a group, and come up with ways we can dance together again, focusing on how and when we can be safe. I would welcome help from all of you regarding how we can get back to dancing in a safe, healthy and social atmosphere.

So it looks like it's going to be a while before we can come together as group, Here is an outline of some ideas of how we can keep dancing while keeping a safe social distance.
If you are dancing in place by yourself, it's just the music and you.
• Have fun exploring different music. Spotify is great for that.
• Listen to the music with your body. Find the movement your body feels in the music.
• Find the beat in the music, feel the tempo, find the phrasing in the music, and feel how your body wants to move with them.
• Enjoy the music as you dance in place.
• Join a zoom video dance party--see below.
´╗┐Partners dancing in place
• Listen to the music as suggested above, but together.
• Decide how each of you would get the most fulfilment from the time you will be dancing together.
• Practice dancing to the music you enjoy.
• Learn from online videos.
• Video yourself.

Taking private lessons
Video conferencing with teachers? We are blessed with some great teachers in Portland. This would be a great time to fine tune dances you already enjoy or learn some new dances. Check with your favorite dance teachers and see if they are doing video lessons.

Zoom Video Dance Parties
If you miss the people you usually dance with, or just want to know that other dancers are out there, Debra Iguchi is exploring get-togethers using Zoom on Thursday evenings. Right now this is a work in process, but if anyone is interested in helping get this started, especially if you have experience in video conferencing, email Dennis. Hopefully this will develop into creating a space where dancers can get together to both dance and see each other's smiling faces, talk and share.

Portland Dancers' Eclectic Playlist

While we all are restrained to dancing in place, this collaborative playlist on Spotify is a chance to share with others what you are dancing to. Feel free to add your selections. You will need a Spotify account.

Here are some Playlists on Spotify for Dancing in Place

I am publishing some of my playlists on Spotify. You are invited to dance with them either alone or with a partner. Or you can just listen to them while walking around the house.
If dancers are interested, I would enjoy working on regular playlists. Let me know. Also if you would like access to all the playlists I will be putting on Spotify you can follow me there at Spotify username: "denmyers"
Also several dancers have expressed the idea of having a central place for members of our community to express any special needs or announcements they might have during these challenging times. If anyone would like to organize this, please email Dennis
I am willing to use the newsletter and website/ facebook page as ways of letting people know ideas, playlists, videos of dancers etc.

If you don’t have Spotify, it is a great way to have access to an ocean of music from around the world past and present. It is reasonable a cost (free the first month) and has a great user interface for searching and organizing your music. It's the best money I spend per month.