Maintaining Mainstays: Holladay studio ‘The Dance Box’ continues to create amid a pandemic

Maintaining Mainstays

HOLLADAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Arianna Mevs, owner of the popular Holladay dance studio, The Dance Box is working hard to maintain her small business during a global pandemic.

The Dance Box

ABC4 News asked Mevs for an inside look on what it’s like for small businesses to maintain normalcy during a weird time. Mevs said finding normalcy means continuing to create.

“Finding “normalcy” has meant not quitting on the things that make us happy or on what we usually share as a community,” Mevs said. “Which in our case, is a love of dance and creating together.”

After Governor Herbert issued Utah’s “Stay Safe. Stay Home” order, which called for all non-essential businesses to close, Mevs knew she would explore her options to continue doing what she loves- teaching.

“Before the pandemic, driving through a community I adore each day to teach its children was something I would have daily moments of gratitude over. I continue to drive through my sweet city of Holladay to work everyday and even though its children aren’t there when I walk into the studio, I try to imagine them individually before I turn on the camera and begin filming classes. I try to visualize them in their homes listening to me and imagine what their lives look and feel like for them right now. My heart is still with them, maybe more now than ever,” Mevs said.

Mevs said her day-to-day operation has obviously changed drastically. With the in-person closure of her studio, she launched an online school of dance to stay connected to students and maintain business.

“We are filming one class per age group weekly; so teachers are still going into the studio to teach each day- the difference is there is nobody there. They work on filming pre-recorded classes. We have had to adjust our lesson plans, but our curriculum, traditions, and the overall “feel” and mission of what we do remains.”

Mevs said this experience has been a sweet opportunity to reflect on what her students need right now and is designing lessons that cater to that through dance. 

She said her dances are based on creative movement and improvisation aimed at building the artist within each child.

“We have focused these parts of our lessons on providing our youth opportunities for empowerment in their current situation.”

“We feel very responsible to offer positivity and empowerment to our community and it’s youth. Dance has been one of the greater gifts in my life. This is such a poignant opportunity for me to give that right back during a time it is needed more than ever. To not do so would be a missed-opportunity and wouldn’t be honoring dance as the important human experience and tool that it is.”

Mevs said that she is aware of the toll this isolation process may be having on youth and is here to help them process their feelings.

“Putting words to those feelings and exploring them in a physical way is therapeutic in processing them,” she said.

Mevs said she has been impressed by the Holladay community. She said their generosity is a testimony that they understand how important the creative arts are during this time.

“It has been clear our community recognizes the importance of arts education and they have not only been supportive of the studio but several have offered to pay for other student’s tuition so they can continue benefiting from dance education,” Mevs said.

Jessica Brinkerhoff, the mother of one of Ms. Arianna’s students, Eve, said they have loved the transition.

“Ms. Arianna and her teachers have gone above and beyond to make classes at home engaging and fun for their students. Eve knows exactly what to do, which is a testament to their excellent teaching,” Brinkerhoff said.

5-year-old Eve agreed.

“I really really love home ballet, and I miss my teachers,” she said.

As the reality of social distancing is lasting longer than originally thought, Mevs said her team is grateful for the initial efforts made in building their online school platform.

The Dance Box has waived tuition for current clientele who cannot pay due to job loss or income decrease and have also started catering it to a broader audience to take on new students, both local and remote. 

To learn more or sign your little dancer up for classes, visit The Dance Box.

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