Perhaps one of the biggest lessons Carlsbad business owner Lisa Esposito has learned during the current coronavirus pandemic is to be flexible.
Esposito is the owner of Evolution Dance Center, which teaches all types of dance, from hip hop to ballet. The company, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, had to adapt to an assortment of changes since the first statewide stay-at-home order was issued in March.
Esposito said the company began with converting nearly 200 dance classes to Zoom in mid-March, before giving students the entire month of April for free.
“Our teachers would teach their Zoom dance class from home and all the dancers would log on for the entire time to practice their dance,” Esposito said. “We also sent videos of the choreography to the dancers via email to practice on their own. It seemed to be a very shocking time for the students to be taken out of school and dance all at once, so I think it helped that we were able to communicate with them through Zoom.”
Esposito said the company took the extra step in offering free classes for a month in case any parents might have experienced financial strain.
“The parents were grateful that we did not charge in April,” Esposito said. “Many parents weren’t sure if they were losing their jobs and due to the uncertain time, were grateful for the kids to have a way to connect with their peers.”
After reopening its doors at its newest facility, which opened in June, Evolution Dance Center
implemented new safety protocols, including social distancing and mask wearing. Despite its reopening, Esposito said the company has lost between 30-to-40 percent of its clientele due to fear of COVID-19.
If those hurdles weren’t enough for the Carlsbad company, it was announced in mid-July that all fitness centers must cease indoor operations indefinitely in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Esposito said her instructors will teach outdoor classes to cater to the latest rule.
“The impact on our business and industry has been huge,” Esposito said. “We aren’t able to have large recitals and shows in theaters. Professional dancers are all out of work.”
Despite the challenges, Esposito said she’s grateful for the support she’s received from the Carlsbad community.
“Carlsbad is a great family community,” Esposito said. “The parents and children have been amazing. They are understanding of the changes we’ve had to make and are grateful to keep dancing. The trend is to be safe and flexible.”