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Oklahoma International Dance Festival announces move to Zoom due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

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Oklahoma International Dance Festival

The first Oklahoma International Dance Festival will take place online this summer from July 26 through Aug. 9 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The first Oklahoma International Dance Festival will take place online this summer from July 26 through Aug. 9 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to a press release, participants will receive training in a variety of dance styles from nine faculty members from countries including the U.S., Spain, France and Italy. 

According to the release, COVID-19 restrictions have inhibited international faculty members from traveling to the United States.

According to the release, participants will take up to four classes per day, six days per week. The Oklahoma International Dance Festival will offer classes such as ballet, repertory, modern dance technique, Gyrokinesis and more. 

Classes will be taught through Zoom. According to the release, class sizes will be limited to 14 students to maximize training and personal feedback.

Students are required to have access to high-speed internet, a computer, tablet or phone, and are recommended to have access to a ballet barre equivalent, a yoga mat and a 6-by-6 foot space. 

Participants will receive an average of 20 hours of dance training per week. A sample schedule can be found on the festival’s website

According to Oklahoma International Dance Festival founder Austin Hartel, faculty members’ inability to travel led to the decision to transfer the festival online. 

“I thought, if we go online, we can keep all the faculty, everybody can still get an experience,” Hartel said. “It's not the same, of course, but they can still get an experience with the faculty.”

Hartel said there are challenges in making the switch. 

“One of the challenges is just to learn and understand this medium and embrace it and figure out what we can do within it,” Hartel said. 

Hartel said that limited registration is another challenge. 

“The space is limited, but I'm okay with that because I want the people who come to get a quality experience,” Hartel said. 

Despite the difficulties, Hartel said he is excited about opportunities the festival’s new medium provides. 

“Taking the festival online also presents an opportunity for those dancers who otherwise may not have been able to travel to Oklahoma to get world-class training right in their living rooms,” Hartel said in the release. 

According to the festival’s website, participants must be at least 16 years old.

Dancers must submit an online application and audition video to attend the festival. Tuition is $300 to attend one week and $600 to attend both weeks. The last day to register for the festival is July 15. 

Emmy is a professional writing and modern dance senior, and a news reporter for The Daily.

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