DMV Dancers and Friends,
It's been an awful long time since we've seen most of you in person. With more and more people getting vaccinated and community spaces opening up, there's a question on all of our minds (and indeed in messages from many of you): When will NCS reopen? When can you get more of the great music, dancing, and instruction we've always provided?
We're as eager as all of you to get back on the dance floor, and at the same time, the safety and health of our community continues to be our highest priority. Back in June we set a few conditions necessary to consider reopening. The most significant of those was a blue/low rating from the CDC’s Community Transmission Tracker for DC and the surrounding counties. While we achieved that happy state of affairs briefly, all of these regions are back to orange or red. It's our hope that increasing vaccination rates and renewed mask use will knock down the current surge, but until that happens, crowded indoor gatherings remain unwise. It’s also essential to consider more than just the CDC Tracker data, since our understanding of the new Covid variants changes frequently. Currently, high community transmission rates, along with some questions around the susceptibility of vaccinated folks to new variants, make continued postponement of our re-opening the only possible choice.
That said, the board of NCS has started taking the necessary steps to reopen. We're paying close attention to the local Covid rates, how transmission interacts with vaccination, and the evolving understanding of how to safely get back on the dance floor. We're eager to dance with all of you again, and you’ll be the first to know as soon as that's possible.
Stay healthy and stay cool,
New Columbia Swing
Dear New Columbia Swing community,
It’s now been over a year since our last Tuesday night of dancing together. We’ve all experienced so much grief and loss over the past year, and like all of you, we are longing for joy, connection, community, and dancing. But, we recognize that partner dancing as we used to practice it is a very ripe environment for virus spread. With the increasing vaccination numbers, we've recently started getting lots of questions about our plans for reopening weekly New Columbia Swing dances, holding outdoor events, or other dance-adjacent activities. Building and maintaining a safe and healthy community of dancers has always been our first and most important priority, so we’re being cautious and intentional as we consider decisions about when it's safe to organize in-person dance events again.
None of us know exactly what the next few months will look like. The rollout of vaccines is great news, and the early data from the U.S. and abroad is extremely promising. And, because the situation is still rapidly changing, it's difficult for us to say exactly what conditions need to be met for New Columbia Swing to start holding events again. We are considering all the options available to us to ensure the safety of the community. However, we are committed to not holding any in-person events or otherwise reopening until *at least* the following criteria are met:
Additionally, planning well-run events takes time and requires the comfort and engagement of our staff, volunteers, and venue partners. These are only minimum requirements, and we’ll be considering many other factors as they come up. However, we think that these thresholds represent a commonsense starting point for the discussion of reopening. We encourage all organizers to consider adopting similar minimum requirements.
In the meantime, what can you do now to help the community and get ready for future dancing?
It's been a long year-plus since we last danced with one another, and we’ll have to wait a little bit longer, but the future is promising! Be well, and keep doing your part to ensure the well-being of our entire community. We can't wait to see you on the dance floor again soon!
The Board of New Columbia Swing
Dear NCS Community Members,
Another month has gone by and we wanted to check in. Obviously we aren’t holding any dances while DC, Maryland, and Virginia are all under stay-at-home orders. Mayor Bowser just announced that DC’s order has been extended until June 8 and we wanted to talk a little bit about what happens next. We are committed to sharing our love of swing music and dancing with the DC region and have every intention of once again offering classes and dances when it is safe to do so.
Unfortunately, the close contact and crowded nature of social dancing make it an unwise pursuit even as restrictions lift on other activities. We will consider recommendations from our local governments as well as the experience and advice from dance communities around the world to decide when and how to reopen. Input from the community will be the other factor in our decision to start dancing again. We want everyone at our events to feel safe on the dance floor. Well before we open our doors, we’ll engage with the New Columbia Swing Community to discuss social dancing in the post-pandemic world. In the meantime, we’ll keep providing you with online dance opportunities to help keep your hearts light and your toes tapping.
Missing dancing with all of you,
The New Columbia Swing Board
Dear NCS Community,
Due to the spread of coronavirus, we announced a hiatus of our Tuesday night classes and dances on March 12, promising an update on April 1. On March 30, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia and similar orders have been issued throughout the region. Therefore, we will continue to suspend our in-person classes and dances (including our events at Glen Echo) through at least the end of April. We’ll check back in with another update at the beginning of May.
In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with our community and to get information about virtual music and dancing. We miss you all and hope you’re staying safe, healthy, and in high spirits!
Our very best,
New Columbia Swing
Dear NCS Community,
Due to growing concern for the safety of our community and based on the recommendations made Wednesday by the DC Department of Health, the New Columbia Swing Board has decided to cancel our weekly classes and dances through the end of March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On March 10th, we announced our desire to continue running weekly classes and dances, but after the DC Department of Health’s recommendations on Wednesday, we reevaluated our position. The safety and health of our community is our highest priority. We will continue to monitor public health advisories and will determine in early April whether to resume activities on April 7th or to postpone our activities further.
If you are currently registered for a class, you have our sincere apology for the disruption. Because we can't be sure how long our shutdown will last, we will be canceling the current class series, not postponing it.
If you paid for a class series with a credit card we will be processing partial refunds. If you paid for a class series in cash, we will be emailing you a voucher code that can be used to pay for a future series. The refund or voucher amount will be prorated for the remaining classes in the series. We plan for both processes to be completed by next Tuesday the 17th. If anyone who paid by card would prefer a voucher code for a future class instead of a refund, then please let us know within 48 hours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
We value each and every member of our NCS and DC dance community, and we want everyone to stay as healthy as possible. Practice social distancing! Stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands. While we're not able to dance together in person, this is an ideal time to brush up on those skills you've been meaning to practice. Work on that solo jazz; visit newcolumbiaswing.org/about/instructors/ to schedule a private lesson in person or by video chat; and follow us on Instagram @newcolumbiaswing, where we’ll keep the fun going remotely!
We can't wait to dance with you all again soon.
--The New Columbia Swing Board
Like everyone else, the staff of New Columbia Swing are closely watching the progression of COVID-19 activity in our region. We have chosen to go forward with all scheduled classes and dances for now. However, we are asking everyone to please adhere to the following:
We also understand that the present situation may change quickly. We plan to heed all CDC and DC government advisories on the operation of large gatherings. However, if we feel it is needed to ensure people’s health, we may also choose to suspend our dances and classes pre-emptively. We will communicate as much as possible about that decision if we feel it needs to be made, and will particularly be in touch with registered students about our plans to reschedule classes and/or offer refunds. But again, unless you hear otherwise from us, dances and classes will all be proceeding as scheduled!
Be well and be safe, friends!
The Staff of New Columbia Swing