ALBION – Amy Sidari has had enough of sitting around and decided her students have too. The pandemic has taken its toll and she has decided to do something about it.
“I have dozens of students uniting for the first time since March 12,” said the dance instructor and owner of Gotta Dance Studio in Albion. “Some of these students I haven’t seen in years, but they are making the effort to attend and dance. We are going to make a music video, and are following all the rules and guidelines to do this.”
Sidari said she checked with the health officials and is following all their guidelines, wearing masks and dancing apart in spots marked off on her lawn. Spectators are watching from a distance in their cars, or may sit apart on their own lawn chairs if the weather is warm enough.
Sidari put the word out and expected 25 students to participate. She ended up with 39.
“Some of these alumni I haven’t seen in six years,” Sidari said through her mask Monday night, the first night of rehearsal.
Today’s practice has been postponed until Wednesday at 6:30. She hopes the group will be prepared to shoot the video soon.
“It will be entertaining and educating to see how we create a film,” Sidari said. “For me, the most difficult thing is not hugging everyone I see.”
Jennifer Viza of Albion, whose daughter Maleah, 16, is one of the dancers, said she was ecstatic about getting the kids back together again.
“Maleah has missed her lessons big time,” Viza said. “I’m not worried about them getting together, because these girls are big enough to know how to follow the guidelines.”
Sidari chose the music of the song “A Different Beat” for their routine.
“It is symbolic of our times and the title and lyrics go further, to the individual person,” Sidari said. “I sum up the song as ‘all about being yourself,’ which is different than anyone else. ‘Different’ is accepted, respected and anything done with love is a winner.”
Two of Sidari’s cousins, Laiken Ricker, a senior at Albion High School and teacher at Gotta Dance, and Janie Schultz a former dance instructor and currently a high school special education teacher, choreographed the routine. Schultz actually came home from Nebraska to take part in the dance routine.
Ricker and Schultz said they based the routine on the skill level of the dancers.
“It will be cool to see what Amy does on the music video,” they said.
Sidari said she plans to post the video on Facebook, the studio website and in a mass e-mailing.
As the dancers began their routine, learning eight beats at a time, cars began pulling up across the street. Sidari recognized them as some of her Cabaret regulars.
“It’s a joy to give them something to watch,” she said.
Kiarra Schuler, a sophomore at Albion Central School, is one of Sidari’s dance students who said she has been “very, very bored” not being able to attend dance lessons, and she was thrilled with the opportunity to dance again.
Alumni students came from Albany, as well as from all over the local area, to participate in making the video, Sidari said.
“It’s a heartbreaking situation to be separated so long,” Sidari said. “I want to get their mind and body working, like we used to do in the studio, but my priority is making it safe.”
“I was thrilled to see so many alumni students of mine and the parent support for the students I am still teaching,” Sidari said. “Anyone is welcome to come and watch this week from the safety of their own car. There is no harm to the community to watch from their car. We have tried to keep the kids busy via website instruction and fun activities. Now that the government is reopening gradually, phase by phase, I can really get the kids moving. This would not be possible at this time in our studio, but the outside works. My yard is big enough to bring goodness to everyone.”
Sidari lives at 3300 Oak Orchard Road, across from Oak Orchard Bowling.