Lowcountry Strong: Dance studio using technology to continue classes

Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 6:48 AM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - When South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster closed schools and non-essential businesses, it impacted many different groups of people.

Magnolia Dance Academy in Summerville is one of many small businesses getting creative to keep providing services while the doors are technically closed.

“Wow, where to begin," owner Christie Johnson said as she thought about all the changes her studio, staff and dancers have experienced. “I’m trying to keep our kids engaged. I think about feeling so helpless that these kids can’t go to school and can’t go anywhere. And with dance, some of my girls that come here to dance are in the studio every day. It’s their second home, so I’m trying to figure it out."

Johnson, her four instructors and some student teachers are using Zoom and YouTube to instruct classes. They are able to enter studios through different doors, so they can practice social distancing, and set up laptops and iPads so they can see their dancers.

“I think everyone is using Zoom right now for everything, so that’s what we did,” Johnson said. “We do it just like we do it in the studio.”

Many of the younger girls dress up in their tutus while dancing around the kitchen, foyer or deck.

“I know how to teach dance all day long, but having to add this extra layer has been extra challenging," Johnson added. “But we’re doing it.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some families can’t afford to pay the studio’s monthly tuition. However, Johnson said some families have stepped up to help pay for other dancer’s monthly tuition.

“That’s been beautiful, to see how everyone is connecting and trying to help each other,” she added. The goal is to keep the classes going so she doesn’t have to shut her doors for good. Johnson has continued to pay her instructors and is not taking a paycheck herself. She’s also hoping to secure a government loan.

If you know someone or a group of people making the Lowcountry a better place during this time, you can tell us about it by filling out this form. You can also email Abbey O’Brien at and you might see them recognized on Live5News.

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