The COVID-19 epidemic has disrupted our lives and has challenged everything that is familiar and known. For a dance course where the essence is to dance together, looking into each other's eyes, feeling the body and speaking your mind through dance, the two-dimensional encounter through technology does not impart the quality and meaning of the direct and human encounter. However, the skills of dance art: creativity, entrepreneurship, patience, perseverance, flexibility, and personal and interpersonal communication skills, serve us as a toolbox in the process of adapting to the new reality.
The challenges of teaching dance through Zoom is multi-faceted. Transferring dance lessons from the lecturer's living room via an amateur home camera diminished the student's ability to see the lecturer's performance as well as the lecturers' ability to observe each student's movement and to advance through personal feedback. This difficult situation required immediate change.
Orot Israel College has purchased a camera and amplification system that has enabled the lecturers to teach from the College's studio and has improved the existing conditions that allow students to see the movement demonstrations, hear the lecturers' instructions clearly and understand and synchronize between the movement and the musical accompaniment of the pianists.
The studio operates as a "photo studio" in which a VC = video calling system has been installed, which incorporates an advanced camera with an X 12 zoom that allows for a clear and sharp picture. The camera is adjustable to any place in the studio so that the lecturer can take a large general picture as well as focus on a specific point in order to explain or give a demonstration. The camera hangs from the ceiling and a point is chosen that makes the most of the studio space. A condenser microphone was also installed to increase the piano playing and a 'Madonna' wireless microphone that connects to a system with the highest level of sound. A large and wide TV screen was installed so that the lecturer could see the female students dancing in the pavilion. The system is connected to a computer and is easy to operate and use.
I will describe in the words of one of the students about the change that has taken place thanks to the purchase and installation of the new equipment in the studio, "It has significantly improved the course of the lesson. We see the lecturer, hear really well and we are not interrupted. When there is a need, the lecturer can zoom in and we can clearly see things that need to be emphasized. The lecturer sees us all very clearly and manages to give more attention and makes the necessary comments to both individuals or to groups."
I would like to add that in the days when the Ministry of Health approved face-to-face teaching, the students came to the College and thus had the opportunity to study in the studio - in the professional space and enjoy the interpersonal encounter. A meeting that allows students to cultivate a group of colleagues that strengthens a sense of belonging, support and encouragement, artistic progress and cooperation. The studies took place in capsules, in accordance with the laws of the social distancing, that divided between the two studios. The lecturer taught from the studio where the system was installed and the lesson was transferred via zoom to the corresponding studio as well as to the students at home who could not get to College. However, I would like to point out that in order to enable an optimal learning experience in capsules, an additional system must be purchased which will be installed in the second studio, thus enabling the lecturer to see the students and guide them as well.
I would like to thank the management of Orot Israel College for recognizing the importance of adapting and upgrading the technological means of teaching and learning via zoom. I would also like to thank everyone who was involved in the implementation of this project.