We have compiled some frequently asked questions here for you, as you work towards getting back into the studio.
Our Professional Dance Safety: Covid Guidance for Professional Dancers was published on May 10. This guidance was commissioned by Dance Ireland and prepared by Peter Jordan of Slua Event Safety Consultancy, in consultation with Dance Ireland. It contains essential information to support a safe return to work in dance whilst living with COVID-19. It provides a detailed overview of current health and safety advice, information on how to create a safe environment for rehearsals and performance, and how to respond if a case of COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed in a cast or crew.
Can I book studio space?
We are open for booking enquiries. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01 8558800 with your enquiry.
Will I need to give you more information when making a booking?
Yes. To ensure everyone’s safety, Dance Ireland is using a risk-based approach to all bookings, as advised by the Return to Work Protocol. You can read our protocols here which outlines what we both need to do to ensure a safe place of work. You will be required to agree to these and to complete a Risk Assessment (see next Question).
I have been asked to fill out a Risk Assessment for my booking but am not sure what to do?
Consider the ways you would have worked in the studio in the past which would have involved close contact between you and your dancers or you and your class participants.
Outline how you are going to take a different approach to being in the studio which will allow all to work and take class in a manner that avoids close contact. Be sure to include how you will communicate your approach to your dancers to ensure all feel comfortable in the space.
If you have any questions about the Risk Assessment, call us and our Venue Officers will be happy to chat you through it.
I am planning for a future project. Will there be changes to the capacities of each studio?
Yes. We have revised our calculations as of February 2021 and will be working with a maximum number of people that can be in the studio based on 12.5 metres squared per person. See Protocols.
When will evening classes resume?
As of February 2021, restrictions permit for public classes to resume at level 2.
Will face masks be obligatory to wear in the studio?
Current advice is to wear masks at all times indoors. All users of DanceHouse must follow the guidelines to be set out by Dance Ireland for the safety of all and masks are obligatory until you are in the studio.
Dancers and those in rehearsals should wear face coverings where possible, however the wearing of masks may not always be possible, and consideration should be given where they are not worn and risk assessed accordingly with regard to additional control measures, these may include increased frequency of breaks to ventilate the space, limiting room attendance to only those needed for that scene, PCR testing etc. (see Professional Dance Safety Guidance and hse.ie)
Can I book the Resource room for a meeting or to do admin?
Yes. The Resource Room is available to pre-book for meetings (whole room) or individual desks. As this is a shared space, careful attention must be given to cleaning before and after use. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Is the Members Studio available again?
The Members Studio is now open- click here for details on how to book.
QUESTIONS ON THE PROFESSIONAL DANCE SAFETY GUIDANCE
Do I need to wear a mask?
Current advice is to wear masks at all times indoors. However, should you choose not to, this document outlines how you could mitigate the risks.
Dancers and those in rehearsals should wear face coverings where possible, however the wearing of masks may not always be possible, and consideration should be given where they are not worn and risk assessed accordingly with regard to additional control measures, these may include increased frequency of breaks to ventilate the space, limiting room attendance to only those needed for that scene, PCR testing etc.
Are you recommending a testing regime?
The dance company should risk assess in advance of rehearsals the likelihood of close contact work and where face mask cannot be worn. This will require robust Infection Prevention Controls and the use of asymptomatic RT-PCR testing. Where testing is required, workers must be informed at contract or engagement stage. The use of asymptomatic testing needs to be thoroughly understood before undertaking it.
I’ve submitted an application for funding but I didn’t include money for testing. Is there additional funding available for this?
When submitting an application, we recommend that you include an allowance for testing in your application. Unfortunately no additional funding is available specifically for testing.
How do I get tested?
The testing regime mentioned above relates to asymptomatic PCR testing. There are various companies that do this, such as Event Medical Services 9 https://www.eventmedicalservices.ie/medicalservicesandtraining and Code Blue https://codeblue.ie/covid-19-testing/
If you are symptomatic, call your GP and if required, they will send you for a free test.
If we are implementing a testing regime, how frequently should we get tested?
This does depend on a number of variables (i.e. your production schedule). Professional dancers should consider themselves ‘elite athletes’ and the elite athlete testing protocol within the appendices (British Journal of Sports Medicine, December 2020) outlines an asymptomatic testing arrangement that may support the rehearsal process.
How do you work out the capacity of the rehearsal space?
Capacities will be most likely set out by the rehearsal venue themselves based on social distancing guidelines. As per the Theatre Forum ‘Return to work’ guidelines, the recommended area per person for dance is 8-16m2. DanceHouse is operating a system of 12.5 m2 per person.
Do vaccinated people need a negative PCR test to join the rehearsal room?
Even if vaccinated, everyone needs maintain infection control measures (i.e. social distancing, mask wearing hand washing/hand sanitising and general coughing/sneezing etiquette).
While the vaccine provides a high degree of protection from contracting the disease (Covid-19), it does not stop you from catching the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which turns into the disease). Therefore, those that are vaccinated need to be careful not to pick up the virus and transmit it to others. This would be important to remember when risk-assessing whether to instigate a testing regime or not.
Are members of youth dance companies considered pre-professionals under current guidelines?
Dance Ireland defines pre-professional dancers as those who are undertaking advanced level training or are recent graduates in dance; this includes those who are members of youth dance companies.
What does ‘individual training’ mean?
Under Level 3 restrictions, all conventional dance and exercise classes remain suspended. However, Individual training, including one-to-one instruction, is allowed at Level 3 and this applies to sport, dance and exercise. Individual training can be defined as individual, physically distanced, non-contact activity, completed in a pre-defined area, within a controlled environment and without the sharing of equipment. See Arts Council briefing for more details.