Biloxi dance school reopens with high hopes for successful summer recital

Updated: May. 16, 2020 at 4:27 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A dance school in Biloxi has officially re-opened and is getting students ready for a busy recital season.

Saturday was picture day at Kelli’s Steps School of Dance in Biloxi. As the students took photos in their recital costumes, school owner Kelli Dickens reflected on her excitement about resuming dance classes. The school is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

“They say 40 means change, so hello 40!” Dickens said.

Change swept the studio when it was forced to close in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students were able to stay connected and keep up with choreography through virtual classes, but Dickens admits the method came with some challenges.

“It’s hard to keep their attention virtually; it’s very difficult for the babies, but now since they’ve got to put on their little costumes, they’re so excited about dance class," she said.

Erin Cates is a former student of the school and now a dance mom. She said her daughter is excited to have dance classes as an outlet of expression.

“As soon as I told her the studio was open, she was just beyond thrilled. Going through this, kids don’t always know how to say when something’s stressing them out or causing them anxiety,” Cates said. “I saw a difference in her in just the first day, dropping her off to picking her up. She was a different child. To be able to have a sense of normalcy again is a game-changer.”

Dickens said her studio was deep cleaned and operates at limited capacity. For picture day, student temperatures were taken by a physician before they were allowed to enter the building.

“We are going to do whatever the city needs us to do to follow the rules and regulations to make sure everybody stays safe," she said.

Students still have the option of attending virtual rehearsals for the time being. In the studio, colored dots are placed on the ground to remind students to keep an appropriate distance while dancing. Dickens said she is determined to make sure students are safe and are still able to have a memorable recital.

“This is our 40th year, I don’t care if we have to have it outside, these kids are going to have the prize at the end.”

Kelli’s Steps School of Dance is preparing to hold its 40th-anniversary recital in the summer.

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