A ballerina dances en pointe during The Nutcracker practice. Chilliwack dance families say the kids affected by a COVID-19 outbreak are handling the illness well so far, but fear a return to shut downs for dance studios. (Yukon News/ File photo)

A ballerina dances en pointe during The Nutcracker practice. Chilliwack dance families say the kids affected by a COVID-19 outbreak are handling the illness well so far, but fear a return to shut downs for dance studios. (Yukon News/ File photo)

Chilliwack dance parents praise studio owner, speak of importance of dance

No reports so far of serious complications among young dancers hit by COVID-19 outbreak

The kids, it seems, are all right.

That’s what parents of Capella Dance Academy students are saying now, more than two weeks after a news-making COVID-19 outbreak at the studio. Several families connected to the school say they haven’t heard of any serious cases so far among the young dancers. Many have cold and flu symptoms, and there has even been one who had a symptom called COVID toe, in which a toe or several toes turn blue or purple, and peel.

The lack of a serious case brings obvious relief to parents, after major concern for the dancers and the wider community. So far, about three dozen cases link back to Capella.

And while blame has been tossed around toward the owner, parents The Progress has spoken to have nothing but love for her.

“Capella is Capella because of Sarah (Wood),” says Kirsten Backus, who has three children who dance there. “She sets the foundation and her moral compass is exactly where I’d want it to be. Everything she does is for those kids.”

What Wood did was spread the word that COVID-19 had hit the studio. She closed her studio when health officials said she didn’t have to. And even while sick with the coronavirus herself, she has spoken up about lapses in action from Fraser Health.

READ MORE: Fraser Valley singing ensemble overcomes isolation, creates music using digital technology

“I just hope everyone knows that Sarah did everything right,” Backus said. “She really did everything right. She protected those kids.”

Fraser Health seems to agree, and Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin said last week on CBC Radio that transmission among the dancers likely happened not in the studio, but in social times surrounding dance classes such as breaks, or mingling in the parking lot between families. There have even been families having birthday parties, sleepovers and other group events. And of course, kids who dance together socialize together.

But not now. They are all taking the orders to isolate seriously, Backus said.

Nobody wants to go back to the full shutdown the province experienced in March, not even these young dancers. Dancing is a creative outlet, a release of energy, a connection with others, and good for your mental health.

“When we shut down the first time, my oldest daughter was very angry,” Backus said. “You could dance online and you can dance in your bedroom but it’s not the same. And when dance came back … my child was back.”

The shutdown for them was March 13 to June 15.

“It’s a long time, when these kids are used to going every day and connecting with people who make them feel safe. To lose that is really hard.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 exposure event at Chilliwack’s Capella Dance Academy


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

chilliwackCoronavirusDance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. Photograph courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre.
Public hearing will see 123 letters in support of saving Hope’s historic train station

Hearing set for May 10 to help council decide on future of Hope’s Station House

Gordon Cook
SLIDESHOW: Hope springs to life in pictures

A collection of images from the Standard and its readers

Chilliwack volunteer drivers are needed to help get cancer patients back and forth to Abbotsford (shown here), Surrey and Vancouver cancer clinics. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Volunteer drivers needed to expand cancer driver program to Chilliwack

Drivers will need to commit to one full day of driving, or two half days each week

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read