In June, Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley resumed in-studio practices, behind carefully defined boundaries. Just as they were allowed some contact for ‘stunts’ the restrictions were tightened as part of a battle against rising COVID-19 rates (file)

In June, Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley resumed in-studio practices, behind carefully defined boundaries. Just as they were allowed some contact for ‘stunts’ the restrictions were tightened as part of a battle against rising COVID-19 rates (file)

Why cheer practices are allowed, but dance is not, under tightened COVID rules

Online petition launched to have dance classes allowed in Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver

Cheer practices yes. Dance classes, no.

What is allowed under a temporary tightening of COVID-19 precautions in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health regions appears to depend on what is, and is not, an officially recognized sport in B.C.

Callers to Lisa’s School of Dance in Langley are hearing a message that the studio has been closed down for two weeks due to just-announced new restrictions and video classes will start on Nov. 16.

Owner Lisa Dew said the shutdown has been “absolutely devastating to my business.”

“The mental and physical well-being of my students are also being jeopardized.”

”It doesn’t make sense to me that gymnastics and cheer classes can still run but yoga, dance and other indoor activities that are following strict protocols are being made to close,” Dew told the Langley Advance Times.

She said the school has gone above and beyond to adhere to all requirements, “keeping our students completely socially distanced, wearing masks, sanitizing, the list goes on.”

“We’re dancing in six-by-six squares.”

On the school Facebook page, visitors are encouraged to sign an online petition to have dance schools allowed to operate.

“I did sign the petition regarding this being an unjust closure,” Dew said.

“It doesn’t make sense to me.”

As of Tuesday, Nov. 10, close to 6,000 people have signed a Change.Org petition to “Reopen Dance Schools in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health” that asks for the words words ‘dance classes’ to be removed from the provincial health order.

“Although dance is not a sport, it is a physical activity that we, as owners, have managed to provide safely while maintaining social distancing since June 1st,” organizer Denise Akester said.

“It is unfair for us to be targeted. We have suffered from March onwards as we have navigated COVID protocols with no overseeing sports or arts organization, with decreased participation due to reluctant parents and little rent relief as it was left optional for our landlords.”

“To ask us to close again, even for two weeks, while schools and other child-centric activities stay open is unreasonable, unfair, and unwarranted.”

Lisa Bosch, owner of Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley, has been required to cancel dance practices at her facility – while cheer workouts continue.

“We are horribly confused by the fact that our cheer gym can stay open, but the same kids can’t take their dance class,” Bosch told the Langley Advance Times.

Bosch sent a letter to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that lists the precautions Xtreme has been taking, which range from separate entrances, with health checks at every entrance.

Bosch stressed that she wasn’t angry at Dr. Henry, but wanted her to know that her business is making every effort.

Staff are tested with a non-contact thermometer, there are multiple containers of sanitizer, and studio designated bathrooms to cut down cross-contamination.

“They are cleaned repeatedly,” Bosch noted.

“All athletes (Dancers are athletes!) wear masks for every class,” she added.

Xtreme has taped off spaces on every floor to maintain social distancing.

“We clean everything including the floors/mats between every class with a hospital grade cleaner,” Bosch elaborated.

“This cleaner alone costs us $800 a month.”

“What more can we do?” Bosch asked.

READ ALSO: Langley cheer clubs resume in-studio practices, at a distance

For Langley Cheer and Athletics Gym, which doesn’t conduct dance classes, the tightening of restrictions has meant a return to the initial weeks under COVID-19 rules, when classes were allowed, but athletes had to maintain safe distancing.

It was disappointing for the kids, owner Leanna Fisher said, because they had finally been able to “stunt” again, getting close enough to form human pyramids.

“They still had to wear masks,” Fisher noted.

“We were in the last stage [of restrictions] now we have to go back to first stage.”

Fisher said the difference between cheer and dance is that one is a recognized sport “like minor hockey” and the other isn’t.

“We are actually allowed to remain open, as we are mandated under viaSport [the provincial agency that coordinates amateur sports] and BC cheerleading association,” Fisher elaborated.

“It’s very confusing.”

Because dance is not considered a sport, and doesn’t have an sports-like association to speak for it, it doesn’t get the same consideration, Fisher explained.

“I feel awful for them [dance studios], Fisher commented.

Langley Cheer and Athletics Gym did have to cancel its Parkour course due to the tightened rules, Fisher added.

Group indoor fitness such as dance, yoga and spin classes in in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health regions have been suspended until Nov. 23, a temporary two-week tightening of safety measures that could be extended depending on the COVID-19 transmission evidence.

It was announced on Saturday, Nov. 7, after after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced 567 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, with most of the new cases in the two regions.

As well, new restrictions do not allow the “safe six” group of friends to visit private homes, except for people who live alone and have one or two people they regularly spend time with, equivalent to household members.

RELATED: What new restrictions mean for Lower Mainland

It comes after the Fraser Health Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack

To date, 26 individuals at the dance academy have tested positive for COVID-19.

Capella Dance Academy voluntarily closed on Oct. 28, 2020.

READ MORE: COVID-19 ‘superspreader’ event at Chilliwack dance academy now up to 36 cases

People are being reminded by health authorities to do their part to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the community by staying home when they are sick, practicing physical distancing, washing their hands frequently, and keeping their social circle small and consistent.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDanceLangley

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

Just Posted

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

A man holds a child while speaking with RCMP following an erratic driving incident on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday, April 16, 2021. The child and a woman (but not this man) were in this Jeep Grand Cherokee which hit a barrier and a parked car on Highway 1 and continued driving. The vehicle finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Video image
UPDATE: Bridge traffic moving normally after high-velocity crash involving logging truck

Northbound crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m., involves 6 vehicles, north lanes shut down

An undated picture of the Hope Station House. (Photo/Save The Hope Station House)
Hope council must consider all options for Station House: B.C. Ombudsperson

Investigation ‘revealed flaws in District’s process,’ statement said

The West Coast Women’s Show is among numerous events held annually at Tradex in Abbotsford. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Show producers start petition against city’s call for Tradex proposals

Abbotsford site should remain as events facility, petition states

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

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

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read