Delaware County dance studio continues tradition of holiday cheer despite pandemic

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Dancers from one dance studio in Delaware County, Pennsylvania are spreading holiday cheer in a year that desperately needs it.

And they were able to finish recording before a state order put in-person extracurricular activities on pause.

Every December, students from Twirl dance studio in Newtown Square take holiday shows on the road to local nursing homes.

But with the pandemic, owner Sam Sinns said they had to reimagine their game plan.

"I said, 'Hey, let's try a digital performance' and it's been awesome," Sinns said.

From tap to jazz, students of all ages worked on the performances throughout the fall.

The recordings took two weeks, as Sinns wanted to include all the students - including those who rotated between in-person and virtual hybrid classes, and those who are only virtual.

"We have dancers that dance in the studio, and we have dancers that dance at home and virtually, and we included everybody. So, the ones in the studio were socially distanced in squares," Sinns told 6abc. "We edited in our virtual students."

Sinns added that two of his friends in the entertainment industry, who recently lost their jobs, edited the compiled footage.

Students, like 11-year-old Bianca Salerno of Haverford, were eager to be involved.

Salerno's father works at the COVID-19 service unit at Temple University Hospital, and there were periods he did not come home for fear of transmitting the illness.

Bianca pointed out that nursing home residents must feel particularly isolated.

"Maybe they can't see their own grandchildren for the holidays, so it's important for them to see children, and maybe that can give them memories of their own grandchildren," Bianca said.

Last December, Twirl dancers performed at six local nursing homes. The silver lining of digital performances is that their reach is even farther.

"We have 24 interested so far and some in different states. We have a great-grandmother in Oregon who is going to see her great-granddaughter dance," Sinns said.

Sinns said engaging in the community is a core value at Twirl.

"It's a gift that we have that we give to others. We give to our audience. We give to our community," Sinns emphasized.

"We really want to spread the message that we are all in this together," Bianca said.
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