School of Dance Fall 2020 Information

School of Dance Fall 2020 Information

Updated: Sept. 10, 2020 moved recording to bottom of page, remove summer reference

Updates and information for students of the School of Dance will be published on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions


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For barre, students will be spaced a minimum of 8 feet apart. For center, all studios and de Mille Theatre will have the floor taped out in 10-foot by 10-foot grids to allow for appropriate physical distancing.

Yes, but the teacher will be able to observe and communicate with the remote class via Zoom through new technology with which each classroom will be equipped.

Students have been pre-placed according to audition notes (new students) and faculty discussion (returning students). Placement will be adjusted during the first week of classes; faculty will view classes via Zoom to make sure the placement/level is correct.

For this year only, because of scheduling limitations, new contemporary high school students will be placed in their own ballet level, and new contemporary college students will be placed in their own level. Second-, third-, and fourth-year students will move up a level from last year’s placement. 

Some classes will occur on Saturdays.


Yes. Hand hygiene should be performed before handling personal items including water bottles.

This is still in discussion, but we are working to identify appropriate spaces should an individual faculty member wish to hold class outside.

These precautions will be in place until different guidance is given from the governor, the UNC System Office, and/or health officials.

Exterior studio doors will not be left open. This will not allow the HVAC system to function properly. Our system will circulate fresh air four times an hour.


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For fall, there will not be any performances with a live audience in attendance; however, we will be doing repertoire through film and online. Regarding spring performances, we will make the determination during the fall semester with guidance from the governor, the UNC System Office and/or health officials. We are exploring the possibilities of concerts in the Stevens Center, an outdoor venue, and/or a virtual experience.

The pieces and repertory will be designed to have no crowding and no touching; physical distancing will continue in rehearsals.


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It is our intention to facilitate Emerging, Pluck and Spree to the best of our abilities, given the constraints under which we are currently working. Kira Blazek-Ziaii will still be the teacher for the Emerging yearlong course and will be working with both solo and group dance formats. We are still in conversation about the possibilities to manage seniors choreographing small, socially distanced group works, either in the fall or spring, with work on the Pluck solo taking place the alternate semester. All solo and group work will involve a film component – something that Kira is very experienced teaching. There will not be an Emerging concert in the fall; it is too soon to bring back audiences into theaters in the fall, although there could be a virtual Emerging concert. The senior class will move on to their Emerging and Pluck curricula and will not have a redo of the Spree due to time and space constraints. We are still looking at the possibility of spring performances, perhaps outdoors, but this is still conjecture at this point. The Pluck Project still has credit for the space rented last year in New York City; the trip is a big maybe due to the unknowns of the virus. A filmed compilation of Pluck solos will take place whether there is a trip or not. Gaspard Louis will be our guest to create a group work for the Pluck dancers; he will be working virtually in the fall, and hopefully in-person in the spring.

Spree is also an open question at this point in time. Sean Sullivan will be working with the M3 composition class in the fall on building the skills needed for group choreography. If there is the possibility in spring for students to work with small groups of students on choreography, we will certainly be doing that. However, the constraints of time and space for student-choreographed group pieces, as well as any possible performances, are still up in the air.

Face coverings/masks

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As noted in the UNCSA Community Health Standards, “Anyone on campus is required to wear a mask when around other people unless otherwise officially warranted by practical classwork (i.e., playing a wind instrument).” Since masks are required in public spaces, students should already be masked before they reach the studio for class or rehearsal.

Also, in the Standards: “UNCSA will provide masks to everyone on campus.” The plan is to provide a small number (two to five) of reusable cloth face coverings to each student at the start of the semester. Students are expected to maintain their own supply of masks that fit appropriately and can be cleaned regularly (CDC guidance below).

Make sure your cloth face covering:
(CDC, 4/4/20)

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • completely covers the nose and mouth
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Because moisture from sweat or secretions from the mouth or nose can make it harder to breathe in a mask and make the mask less effective, it is recommended that students change masks as frequently as needed to maintain comfort and effectiveness. A reasonable plan would be to budget for 1 mask per class per day. How many masks a student will need depends on how frequently they’ll wash them.

Other than total isolation, there is no 100% effective way to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Social distancing, hand hygiene, and masks, in addition to frequent cleaning and disinfection practices, combine to give what infection prevention specialist Karen Hoffmann refers to as “layers of protection.”

During a dance class, there are multiple people in a closed space breathing more heavily and frequently due to exertion, which increases opportunities for infection to spread from one person to others via respiratory droplets. When socially distanced, there is lower risk that the droplets will make it out of a dancer’s 10 foot by 10 foot defined area—but lower risk doesn’t equal zero risk. To bring the risk down even further, masks become important to hold the droplets in and prevent most of them from being expelled into the environment.

Yes. Infection prevention specialist Karen Hoffmann said there should be no adverse effects from wearing a mask during exercise. Should a dancer experience dizziness/lightheadedness, fatigue, or difficulty breathing during class, they should stop dancing and rest.

The immediate and intended health benefit of exercising in a mask currently is the reduced spread of respiratory droplets. Others wearing masks protect you from infection, and you wearing a mask protect others.

Athletes sometimes train with masks with the goal of improving respiratory endurance. There is mixed evidence as to whether these strategies have their intended effect.

Social Distancing

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Students follow the School of Dance protocols per our diagrams, maps and documents we have provided.

Students will leave class in slightly staggered timings and enter with social distancing between dancers.

We will use email to communicate with students regarding all scheduling.

School Policy/Health and Safety

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Right now, we are only offering withdraw or withdraw for extenuating circumstances. If someone decides that they cannot attend UNCSA prior to the start of the semester, a student may withdraw from UNCSA and when they are ready to return, they must reapply. If there are extenuating circumstances once the semester has started, UNCSA offers a withdrawal for extenuating circumstances, which allows for no grade penalty.

Office of Student Assistance & Support

Our Office of Student Assistance and Support (Case Management) will be working with students who are quarantined and the student’s faculty members to support the student during their time of quarantine and beyond. Students will have access to class materials and will be permitted to do work in their space as they can. Students may also have the capabilities to continue to participate virtually in the classes.

Unfortunately, there will be no Intensive Arts this year. We are discussing optional January online class offerings to possibly offer guest master classes or workshops.

Studio space is at a premium and will be used for classes and faculty rehearsals for nearly every available minute. The School of Dance is in consultation with the administration to see if students working independently in studios (should there be any space availability) is something that will be permitted.

Depending on the status of the pandemic and the success of our campus efforts to mitigate the impact on our community, there is the potential for this type of engagement. The shape that this January activity might take will become clearer as we move through the fall semester, but there is definite willingness to examine the possibility. Unfortunately, this is a question that will not have a more concrete answer until we are into the fall semester.

Student safety is at the center of every decision we make at UNCSA. If there is a situation where there is extreme weather, we will make modifications to address student safety.


Yes, as long as the school safety protocols are followed, and the projects do not conflict with Dance or academic classes

School of Dance students will continue to have access to two licensed athletic trainers and a dually credentialed physical therapist/licensed athletic trainer. Both telehealth (via secure videoconferencing platform) and in-person visits will be available, including same-day visits for new injuries. The number of students in the clinic at any one time will be limited and visit times will be extended to allow for additional cleaning and disinfection. The cold whirlpool will not be available for general use. Most performance optimization activities will be in online format.

Other Prevention Measures

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It is not.

Students will submit an attestation daily regarding potential COVID-19 symptoms, including temperature over 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very important for students to stay in their residence if they feel ill at all. Since asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals can infect others, social distancing, wearing face masks, and hand hygiene are together more effective than daily temperature checks in preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recorded Dance Information Session