Ambition Performing Arts brings dance to students virtually

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

Staff of a local dance studio that has been serving the community for almost 20 years has found a new way to bring dance to their students in their very own homes.

When Ambition Performing Arts was shut down on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Tara Pickford knew that wasn’t going to stop her from teaching her students.

In just five days, the team came together to create an online portal that houses more than 100 virtual rooms.

“I consider our services essential… due to the vast amount of evidence-based research supporting the physical, social-emotional, intellectual, and academic benefits of dance to youth,” said Pickford.

“In a time where the secondary risks of isolation (depression, anxiety, suicide, lack of physical activity) are becoming apparent, even the World Health Organization has endorsed the importance of staying active while staying safe.”

The studio is currently serving 600 families with more than 100 classes in its virtual programs.

Classes include:

  • Jazz
  • Tap
  • Ballet
  • Hip Hop
  • Lyrical
  • Musical Theatre
  • Boys Ninja Hip Hop Tumbling
  • Contemporary
  • Acro
  • Drama
  • Voice
  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Ukelele

The team is currently using Zoom and Google Classrooms linked through a Google site specifically built for this delivery.

“In the fall, we will be building a more robust custom platform that will continue to serve the community with the continuation of live classes that can be taken virtually for those who feel safer at home as well as pre-recorded for families that have busy schedules that still wish to take classes,” said Pickford.

She said the benefits of being able to continue at least one activity that the students were taking part in before the pandemic is immense.

“They get to continue to connect with peers and mentors through live classes and it provides the continuation of community that all these families feel so much connection to,” she said.

Ambition Performing Arts’ new season will launch on Aug. 3 (whether the government allows for live classes or if they remain virtual) and registration opens in a few weeks.

“We anticipate quickly filled classes this season with the smaller classroom restrictions, so we encourage people to register as soon as they are able to avoid disappointment,” she said.