Students at Xtreme Talent Dance Company in Abbotsford physically distance by occupying their own square. Class sizes are also limited. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Students at Xtreme Talent Dance Company in Abbotsford physically distance by occupying their own square. Class sizes are also limited. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford dance studio owner dismayed about latest health order

Maureen Keyes says studios are doing everything they can to keep safe

The owner of an Abbotsford dance studio is dismayed that dance classes have been impacted by the latest COVID-19 provincial health order while activities such as gymnastics and cheerleading remain open.

Maureen Keyes of Xtreme Talent Dance Company said her studio and others around the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley have gone beyond what was required of them to keep students and staff safe.

She said they don’t know what more they can do, and they have had difficulty getting answers from the authorities.

Keyes said it’s “heartbreaking” that Capella Dance Studio in Chilliwack has had 38 COVID-19 cases linked to them, in what Fraser Health termed a “super-spreader event.”

RELATED: 38 COVID-19 cases now linked to Chilliwack dance studio

RELATED: Why cheer practices are allowed at Langley studios, but dance is not

“The reality is we feel strongly that what we’re doing is safe, and we know what she (the Capella Dance Studio owner) did was safe. We’re just heartbroken, and it’s unfortunate that it happened at a dance studio because for my business that’s detrimental, but it can happen anywhere,” Keyes said.

She said at her dance studio, classes are limited to about half the number of students compared to pre-COVID. Squares measuring six by six feet are taped off on the floor to indicate where students must stand to physically distance.

Keyes said all students and teachers wear masks, except kids of elementary school age and younger for whom face coverings are not mandatory in schools.

Her site also operates a daycare, and a cleaning crew is on hand every day to sanitize the premises, while instructors regularly spray down the dance floors and all their own equipment with disinfectant.

Keyes said hand sanitizer is used by all those in the building, including when they enter the facility or they move to a different studio.

She said dance schools across the region stay in contact with one another – through video conferencing – and talk about what measures they are following, and any new ideas they might have.

Keyes said keeping dance studios open is as important to the students’ mental health as is school and sports.

“It’s more of a studio culture; it’s your best friends. It’s the connection you make with your teachers over a lifespan,” she said.

“I just feel like that connection that kids need or that place to go where they feel they can be themselves during this time is so important.”

Longtime students Emma Ellery, 17, and Raeha Boier, 15, both said their mental health suffered when the pandemic restrictions first hit in mid-March and the dance studio was shut down until June 1.

They did some dance classes through Zoom, but it wasn’t the same, they said.

“It kind of felt like a part of me was missing, not being able to come here to dance every day with everybody I’ve been with for most of my life … Not having that escape was really hard for me,” Ellery said.

Boier said the biggest impact on her was on her mental state – “It really took me down” – but getting back in the studio made all the difference.

“It felt really good to just come home,” she said.

The latest provincial health order, in place for at least two weeks, includes the suspension of “sports and indoor physical activities” such as dance classes, spin classes, yoga, boxing, martial arts and hockey.

RELATED: What the new health orders mean for Fraser Health residents, businesses

CoronavirusFraser Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Maureen Keyes, owner of Xtreme Talent Dance Company in Abbotsford. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Maureen Keyes, owner of Xtreme Talent Dance Company in Abbotsford. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Just Posted

UBC Sports Hall of Famer Carrie (Watson) Watts (far right, front row) helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to the 2004 national championship, their first since 1974. She served as assistant coach a few years after graduation. (Photo/UBC)
Agassiz-born basketball star inducted into UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Carrie (Watson) Watts helped lead the team to their first championship in decades

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – checkpoint at Manning Park

Four checkpoints are set up Thursday, May 6 around the province

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

The AHL Board of Governors has approved the Vancouver Canucks decision to move their franchise to Abbotsford. (File photo)
AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

Board of Governors approves move, season set to start on Oct. 15

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read