Islip dance studio offers distance learning center to help with online schooling
The coronavirus pandemic has many Long Islanders thinking of
creative ways to make ends meet and help out neighbors, coworkers and clients
at the same time. The Broadway Dance Theatre on Main Street in Islip is another
example of it.
It looks like a spot for learning how to dance – and it is –
but during the day it is much more.
“We call it DLC at BDT,” explained owner Jessy Gill.
After months of being closed with
a new lease on a big space, Gill, certified teacher
and dancer, saw an opportunity. Turn the
Broadway Dance Theatre into a distance learning center.
Gill explained, “We had a theatre
camp over the summer, and it was mostly outside and just as school districts started
to announce their plans, parents got worried. ‘Oh my gosh what am I going to
with my kids if they are only going to school—in school 2 days a week?’”
One of those parents was Jennifer
O’Hare, an essential worker.
“I work full-time, so really a lot
of the time it was her figuring herself out during the day with whoever she was
with,” said O’Hare.
Her daughter Carly and son Daniel
now have support logging on to classes and with tricky assignments.
Nine-year-old Carly O’Hare said, “They help me with a lot
of stuff. Like what I am doing now, which is reading. They help me with math, and they help me get
on to my Google Meet.”
“It was really like a win-win,” her
Masks are worn any time social
distancing isn’t possible – sanitizer stations have been installed for constant
use and commonly touched surfaces are cleaned repeatedly.
“Dancers and theatre kids
come at night, and we do the same thing in between each class. We are just
making it work,” said Gill.
Students taking advantage of a
staff of certified teachers and helpers who can navigate everything from the
internet connection to Zoom troubleshooting, range in age from kindergarten to
The distance learning center
operates Monday through Friday, but some students only come two days a week and
for two hours a day. Scheduling depends on the learning model they are
For more information and to sign up,