Dowagiac dance studio to reopen next month after lockdown

DOWAGIAC — A Dowagiac dance studio is gearing up to reopen again.

Green Dance Academy, 141 S. Front St., Dowagiac, announced on its Facebook page that it will reopen to the public on Monday, Oct. 5. The studio, which also has locations in Niles and Decatur, was forced to close in March due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Green Dance Academy owner Mary Green inherited the studios from dance veteran Kathy Miller, who retired in 2019 after 45 years of managing Miss Kathy’s School of Dance.

“I’m so incredibly excited,” Green said. “The studio has been quiet for so long, so it will be great to have it full of laughter and music again. The whole reason I got into dance was to teach kids and add enjoyment to their lives. I wasn’t able to do that but now we’ll be able to allow them to dance, move and get out of the house.”

The news comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Thursday, Sept. 3 allowing gyms and exercise studios to reopen under strict protections to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the executive order, Green Dance Academy will operate at 25 percent capacity, and face masks will be required inside at all times.

The studio is prepared to adhere to the state’s strict reopening guidelines, Green said.

“We measured out all of our dance studio rooms so only a certain number of dancers can be in a room, with eight feet of separation,” she said. “We’re doing our best to keep dancers safe while they do what they love.”

Like many businesses, the academy was forced to get creative during the pandemic. The studio offered virtual classes on Zoom to keep dancers active, and its one-day camps have been conducted outdoors. The one-day camps will move indoors to the Dowagiac studio once the studio reopens.

“We’ve been shut down since March,” Green said. “We only found out this week that we can open up the studio again. The closure has affected business, but we were lucky that a lot of parents allowed our dancers to take virtual classes via Zoom. I’m very grateful for that.”

The academy was able to complete its first season two weeks ago with a recorded outdoor recital. Green will use the footage for the academy’s upcoming virtual show at the end of September.

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