Due to the onset of COVID-19, Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance (TYSOD) had to close its studio in mid-March. However, the studio began virtual classes just one week later, allowing dancers to join them via Zoom from their garage, basement, kitchen and even the backyard when the weather was nice. Although staff and students were eager to get back to the studio, COVID safety measures were the top priority. When TYSOD welcomed dancers back to the facility in July, several protocols were implemented to keep students, teachers and staff safe—including limiting capacity to students and staff only, requiring temperature checks upon entry, requiring masks be worn by everyone at all times, and increasing cleaning measures. Furthermore, they continued to offer virtual classes in addition to in-person, allowing students of all comfort levels to attend classes.
In late-summer 2020, TYSOD moved into a brand new 24,000-square-foot facility at Centre Pointe Shops, located off Houze Way. Anchored by the prominent dance studio, Centre Pointe Shops broke ground in March of 2018 and was completing construction as the pandemic struck. Amazingly, the $9-million, 36,000-square-foot project developed by Tolbert Yilmaz Enterprises pushed forward and completed construction in August. In addition to the dance studio, the shopping center is home to 10,000 square feet of retail space, which was already at 83% occupancy by the end of the year.
More than two years in the making, TYSOD is settling into its new state-ofthe-art facility which boasts seven custom-built studios with sprung floors, an expansive study area, a physical therapy suite, and an on-site performance venue. So far, capacity has been kept extremely limited at the dance company’s new in-house theater; however, all performances were also live streamed this season. In 2020, in-person attendance at all eighteen shows of the studio’s famous Nutcracker performance sold out with an additional 600 virtual attendees streamed in from all over the globe.
“It has been very challenging to operate our business during the pandemic, but I am surrounded by very talented and dedicated people. We have a team that began working the moment we were forced to close, and they have been working non-stop to keep everything safe and open for our students, faculty and staff. It has been amazing to see the support of the community during this time, and we have had so many positive emails and phone calls, thanking us for doing what we have done. Hopefully, we will never have another pandemic on our hands, but we have risen to the challenge, and we are proud to still be standing.”
– Nancy Tolbert, Artistic Director, Roswell Dance Theatre, Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance
TYSOD is continuing to follow these protocols for its Spring Recital which is taking place through Sunday, May 23 at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. To purchase tickets, click here.