Dancing in isolation: How a rock n' roll dance crew is coping with coronavirus rules

After coronavirus social distancing rules came into effect, a rock n’ roll dance group based on the NSW south coast decided to get creative with their daily exercise routine to keep connected via social media while in isolation.

Chris and Leisa Tague have been running the Batemans Bay Rock N’ Rollers at Batemans Bay Soldier’s Club every Wednesday night for over two years.

The husband and wife teaching duo had to suspend their rock n’ roll dance classes until further notice because of the tough NSW social distancing rules that are now in force.

“Our dance classes got cancelled because we hold them in a club and we couldn’t use that venue because of the social distancing,” Leisa said.

The rock n’ rollers came up with the idea of ‘Dancing In Isolation’ just before the latest NSW social distancing legislation was introduced, limiting gatherings to two people.

Chris and Leisa Tague with friends at an earlier Rock N' Roll event.
Chris and Leisa Tague with friends at an earlier Rock N' Roll event.

“They’re getting out there posting videos of themselves,” Chris told Yahoo News Australia.

“Now that everyone is isolating, it’s another way for them [the students] to keep up social interaction [via social media].”

“It was just a way to get our group to keep that morale up,” he added.

The crew have been posting their dance videos on the Batemans Bay Rock N’ Rollers Facebook and Instagram social media pages as they keep up with practising their dance moves while classes have been suspended.

Chris and Leisa Tague 'Dance In Isolation' at Moruya Jetty.
Chris and Leisa Tague 'Dance In Isolation' at Moruya Jetty.

‘Dancing In Isolation’ has also helped the group cope with the limiting social gathering changes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the dance students Anna Betts, who is also a small business owner, says that it has been tough since she had to close her salon for the second time this year after the devastating bushfire season that has just passed and power outages that followed.

“When they announced that we had to close [the salon] by midnight the next night, I did cry.”

“Where there is a will there is a way and I’m not frightened of hard work.”

“I’ve done it once, I’ve done it twice... I’ll get this business back open,” she said.

Batemans Bay Rock N' Rollers dance students Anna Betts and Michael Green.
Batemans Bay Rock N' Rollers dance students Anna Betts and Michael Green.

Coronavirus delays rebuilding fire-affected communities

Batemans Bay is a popular holiday destination that has been known to welcome tourists all year round. Unfortunately, the seaside location has seen better days since it was hit hard by the devastating bushfire season that spanned over a few weeks between December 2019 and January this year.

Chris and Leisa lost their family home on New Year’s Eve last year after it was engulfed in flames. They are in the process of rebuilding their home and are hoping that the coronavirus crisis won’t overshadow the recovering fire-affected communities.

“We are worried that services and supplies needed to start rebuilding will also not be available for months delaying the clean-up and rebuild process,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“Volunteers who were helping clean up and repair fencing have had to stop, people who were helping are now hoarding, and at a time when people need people, they are having to social distance.”

Chris and Leisa Tague's Bimbimbie family home after the New Year's Eve bushfire last year.
Chris and Leisa Tague's family home after the New Year's Eve bushfire last year.

Leisa, who also works as a Tourism Events Coordinator at Eurobodalla Shire Council added that essential tourism campaigns that were aimed at helping bushfire-stricken communities like ‘Bring An Empty Esky’ and ‘Canberra Come Back’ had stopped overnight.

“Our concern about COVID-19 so soon after the fires is that many of those affected are now cut off and isolated from the help they need,” she said.

After a shaky start to 2020, Leisa keeps an optimistic outlook for her hometown. With help from the rock n’ rollers, who have been filming their ‘Dancing In Isolation’ videos at key tourist destinations that show off ‘their local’, she reveals that they are planning to launch a Rock N’ Roll Festival called Crank It Up Batemans Bay at the end of the year to kickstart their local tourism industry.

“It will bring people into Batemans Bay to fill accommodation and restaurants and bring the waterfront back to life,” she said.

“Everyone can come, check out our awesome place and dance at the spots that we’ve highlighted.”

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