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'People need something’: Carroll County Dance Center providing virtual classes, story times during pandemic

The windows of the Carroll County Dance Center in Eldersburg have been decorated with the names of the dancers to show support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The windows of the Carroll County Dance Center in Eldersburg have been decorated with the names of the dancers to show support during the coronavirus pandemic. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

Megan Logee said the best part of her day is being in the dance studio with her students, where she doesn’t have to think about anything except for that day’s lesson.

Logee, who has owned the Carroll County Dance Center and Conservatory in Eldersburg since 2008, has dedicated her life to dance. She started dancing at 5 years old and continued through high school and college. She received a degree in Dance Performance and Education from Towson University and was a member of the university’s dance company as well.

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She started teaching at the dance center in 2003 and has more than 16 years of experience teaching dance to all age levels and abilities.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the dance center closed indefinitely on March 16, per Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order.

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Logee started hosting virtual story times and pre-ballet classes on the dance center’s Facebook page for students and their families during the pandemic.

“It just grew exponentially and I think it’s great because right now, people need something, even little ones who don’t normally dance,” Logee said. “This is something their parents can put on and say, ‘Follow Ms. Megan, let’s do it’ and get everybody moving and maybe trying something new.

“Hopefully it maybe provides a small break for the parents as well.”

Logee, who has two young children of her own, wanted to find a way to keep them engaged and incorporate other families in activities as well. She did her first virtual story time on March 18 and read “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” her personal favorite.

She started the pre-ballet classes on March 23, geared to boys and girls from 3-5 years old, but families are encouraged to participate together.

Logee said the positive responses to her virtual classes was more than she ever expected. Her friends have shared the videos to their own social media pages to get more people involved and Logee said a family from South America started following along as well.

“We had a few hundred people tune in to the first dance story time and the virtual pre-ballet had a couple hundred as well,” Caitlin Crist, the CCDC’s marketing director, said. “That was right when schools had closed so they weren’t necessarily sure what they were going to do with distance learning. A lot of them closed right before their spring break so we think a lot of people tuned in looking for things for their children to do”

Hogan released a stay-at-home order on March 30 and only essential businesses are allowed to be open for the time being. Crist said people have become observant of how institutions they frequent are responding to these circumstances.

“I think it’s the people in these organizations that get creative and show that they care about you as a person, not just as a customer,” Crist said. “I think that’s part of the culture that already existed at Carroll County Dance Center, and Megan has found a way to continue and even enhance this, even though things have changed drastically in terms of how we’re able to connect with our community of students and families.”

The dance center provides year-round programs for dancers of all levels, including intensive pre-professional curriculums on the ballet conservatory side, with open enrollment throughout the year, as well as summer camps and workshops.

Hogan’s executive orders remain indefinite, but Logee has welcomed the challenge virtual teaching has temporarily provided.

“This really helps me in my regular life having this opportunity,” Logee said. “That’s my happy place, so I can’t do that with them right now and we don’t all get to be in the same place to close the door and forget about everything else. But we’re trying to do as much as we can to replicate that.”

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