Sandra Speck - Line Dancing Through Lockdown
Sandra is a full-time line dance teacher running multiple classes a week in Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Llanymynech. Her classes cater for all levels and she says she loves to start new beginner classes too. Sandra considers herself lucky, as not only is line dance her full time job, but it's her hobby too and, well, she just loves to dance!! Alongside her classes Sandra also runs her own weekends away, works for Kingshill Holidays, teaches at weekends run by line dance artists and choreographs her own dances, winning a Crystal Boot Award in 2015 for her beginner dance of the year, Little Zou Bisou. Through running and working at these events, Sandra has also managed to raise a staggering £113,000 for the Midlands Air Ambulance.
After the initial panic of her classes closing, Sandra contacted every one of her dancers, firstly, to check on them, but secondly to see how many of them had online access. The very first Friday after classes had to close Sandra held a Facebook live chat session, this gave her the chance to see how live sessions worked, build her confidence in streaming them and also kept her dancers connected from the very first week. This online chat went so well that Sandra has now been holding them every Friday since 20th March!
Sandra had previously used social media to support her classes and promote her choreography, so she wasn't completely new to preparing online content. She had uploaded videos of her dances to YouTube and 'gone live' on Facebook during her events and weekends away so that others not attending could see the fun being had. Sandra read all the information and guidance that was posted on Everything Line Dance and the Line Dance Support Group and after trying sessions on Zoom, facetime and WhatsApp video calls, decided that for her, Facebook Live worked best. During lock down Sandra holds an online class every Monday and Wednesday evening on her Facebook group, for these classes she uses the tracks from the ELD member's music library and other tracks that she has from other line dance artists.
Initially, the biggest problem Sandra faced was her confidence, it is one thing to stand up and teach a room full of people to dance, but I am sure as most of us know, it feels very different to teach to a camera. Once she knew what she was doing though, her confidence grew and she was much happier holding her live sessions. The one tip that Sandra would give, it to just give it a go, have a practice session, just as she did with her very first Friday chat, she told all her dancers this was why she was doing it and they absolutely loved it. Sandra doesn't charge for her classes as she thinks that anything could go wrong and she doesn't feel confident enough to charge, but other than Facebook occasionally muting her music, there have, touch wood, been no issues so far. One way to avoid having music muted, is to use the tracks as Sandra mentioned above, or you can sign up to the new Everything Line Dance streaming service.
Sandra holds all her live sessions in her Facebook group and even has some of her dancers borrowing family members Facebook accounts so that they can dance along, just get to see everyone or listen in. Whilst she will be very busy when lock down is lifted and dancing is allowed to resume, Sandra intends to continue with the online content she's currently using, particularly for the holidays she runs and just generally keeping in touch with her dancers.