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Young ballet students step up to the barre via Zoom

Sara Sniderman's daughter took her first dance class at home, using a chair as a ballet barre.
Sara Sniderman's daughter took her first dance class at home, using a chair as a ballet barre.Sara Sniderman Photography

When Natick reported its first case of COVID-19, or coronavirus, Gina Fay had to close her dance studio and move it completely online. But Fay was prepared for the shift — she has spent the past nine years teaching yoga and pilates online with class members following along from home.

Fay is the founder of DanceFIT Studio, a dance and exercise studio with locations in Natick, Brookline, and Weston. She recently converted her ballet classes for children ages 2 to 10 to the online video platform Zoom.

All classes take place on the regular schedule with the same ballet teacher. Zoom allows for dancers and the teacher to see each other, so dancers can follow along and teachers can offer individualized critique and help. Each class has roughly 14 dancers.

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In addition to the regularly-scheduled fitness and dance classes, Fay began offering drop-in ballet classes for dancers new to the studio. Participants can register at DanceFIT’s website, and Fay encourages participation from siblings and anyone else in the home. The only requirements are a chair to use as a makeshift ballet barre and a stuffed animal to dance with.

“They’re all really confused right now, especially the really young ones, so they get to experience their same teachers, they get to move their bodies, and they get to connect to other kids,” Fay said. “I know that sounds a little weird, but at the end of class, they all wave to the other kids. It’s about feeling that sense of community with their friends. ”