With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the USA Dance Houston, Texas Chapter #5003 stopped holding its monthly social events. In the past, these gatherings were preceded by a workshop, open to members and non-members alike, which was always a lot of fun and drew an enthusiastic crowd.
In October of 2020, the chapter resumed holding the Second Saturday Socials. However, the facility we used – not our regular one, which was unavailable – required masks to enter the building. Following state guidelines, every other table was unavailable, and seats were limited. The floor, however, was large enough for social distancing and people danced with the partner with whom they arrived. We made the most of what we had, but missed the pre-dance workshops.
Over the following months, our chapter limped along with very few attendees at the dances until, in May, we returned to our regular facility, The Dance Place. At that point, masks were optional and faces were smiling. We could dance with other partners and attendance picked up steadily. By July, we had 53 happy dancers back on the floor!
Based on July’s attendance, we decided to hold our first pre-dance workshop since March of 2020. Saturday, August 14, approximately 30 dancers attended the workshop, taught by popular Houston instructor Curtis Prevost. He taught American Smooth Foxtrot, which was enthusiastically embraced and danced by all. The dance, which followed the workshop drew 72 people, and everyone had a great time!
Barring any unforeseen setbacks, we anticipate having workshops before each upcoming dance, along with even better attendance for both the workshops and the socials. Even COVID “can’t mess with Texas!”
Phillip Stephens is a professional ballroom dancer, coach, and adjudicator based out of Houston, Texas. Along with partner Lisa Sandifer, he was the 1989 Eastern United States American Smooth Champion and has held many additional titles. Phillip joined USA Dance in the late 1990s. He holds Fellowship degrees with NADTA, the former USISTD, and the ISTD. He is also an Examiner for ISTD and USA Dance.