2020-05-13 ssl-misstirita1

Tirita Montross, of Miss Tirita’s Dance Studio, records herself reading books to her students while the studio is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. KIRK MCCRACKEN/Leader

Business owners are adjusting to the pandemic, finding ways to stay in business while their livelihoods have been temporarily shut down.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, all non-essential businesses faced mandatory shutdowns in March, and most business owners have been scrambling to find ways to provide a product to the public.

Miss Tirita’s Dance Studio is considered non-essential but she’s doing everything she can to stay connected to her students through online classes, and she’s even reading books to them.

The Centers for Disease Control have provided guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease, focusing on social distancing, and there is no way a dance class can successfully accomplish social distancing.

“We were unable to return after spring break,” said studio owner, Tirita Montross. “All of the teachers recorded their recital dances and loaded them onto our group studio Facebook page.”

Montross decided to suspend classes and not charge tuition while they are closed, choosing to connect with fun free videos, athletic activities, links, and storytime videos. Dance instructors also made a chalk obstacle course at the studio to have dancers stop by and dance through.

“We miss our dancers. This is our 30th year of dance and we have never missed an Herbal Affair, and it was even a gorgeous day for dance that day. April is full of dance. We are finishing and cleaning routines, and trying on and passing out costumes,” Montross said.

May is typically deemed as recital month with recital pictures, costume meetings, dress rehearsal, and two full nights of recital. Those are typically staples during the month of May.

“These are hard events to think about missing right now, but we know we will get to it soon. Of course it hits hard to the pocketbook — zero income and all the same bills. We are all being asked to do our part and the studio will return,” Monstross said.

The recital is being pushed back from May to the end of July and possibly the first of August. The details are currently in the planning stages, and it will also depend on the auditorium availability. Montross plans to have classes from June 1 to July 31 to make up all nine weeks of classes in four weeks.

The recital will be different than the two-day event in year’s past.

“This year, to help with having less people in the auditorium, we are doing three recitals and moving into a one-day format. We will sanitize between each recital, open doors 30 minutes before recital time, and each program will be an hour with ample seating. We should only fill one-fourth of the auditorium compared to near capacity,” Montross said.

Montross said that her instructors miss the students terribly and they can’t wait to see the young dancer’s smiling faces, again.

“My teachers and I keep in touch and all express how much we miss our kids. I just keep telling them to think of this time as our ‘summer time off’ and we will be dancing in June and July,” she said.

​Kirk McCracken 918-581-8315

kirk.mccracken@sandspringsleader.com