Your Internet (and Social) Connection is Unstable: How BLS Art and Dance Clubs are Adapting to Zoom


BLS Arts and Crafts Club makes the most of the virtual setup by creating collages from the comfort of their own home. (Photo by: Alanna Quirk-Aboujaoude)

By Rachel Roncka (II) and Tessa Reidy (V)

Student clubs have always been a unifying force within the Boston Latin School community. In art and dance clubs, students explore their creative passions and bond over shared interests. Club leaders are working hard to keep this new virtual experience enjoyable for all their members, but they have encountered a few challenges along the way.

This year, all club meetings are held over Zoom, causing some students to feel disconnected from their peers. Without the shared physical space BLS once provided, they find it difficult to engage with others. It is especially awkward for younger students who are not yet familiar with many of their peers.

Elspeth Kiernan (V), a member of Stationary Club, says, “I don’t feel very connected with my peers in this club so far, because I do not know many of them, and it is much harder to connect over Zoom, especially when you can’t see the person.”

Members of BLS Dance also face this problem. During club meetings, some students have their cameras turned off. This hinders club leaders from tracking members’ progress in learning dances. The officers understand, however, why some might be reluctant to turn on their cameras.

Deanna Ruelo (II), the treasurer of the club, says, “Just having cameras on can be very anxiety-inducing, so I feel like even though that does happen we are understanding […] If they’re not comfortable enough yet we can try to cultivate that confidence while they’re dancing throughout the year.”

Ruelo and other officers are working as hard as possible to establish a space where students can share tips to improve their technique and support each other during these troublesome times. They have found that the chat feature on Zoom provides an easier method of communication for some members. BLS Dance’s primary focus for this year is to build technical skills and expression while dancing. Plans for their major annual events like the Têt Festival and Asian Night are still unknown.

BLS Fashion Talent Club is in a different dilemma. Club treasurer Ebere Chukwu (II) says, “One of the biggest challenges I’d say we face is that hosting our annual fashion show won’t be the same. Not only because we’re not in the building but also because of social distancing policies. We’re trying to figure out how that’s going to work out if it will.”

Club leaders understand the struggles of online school and are invested in creating a welcoming environment for their members. Although this is challenging to do, BLS is working together as a community to face these obstacles head-on. These circumstances motivate students to find new solutions so they can continue pursuing their passion for the arts. As members of the BLS community strengthen their bonds with their peers online, it will become easier and more engaging for everyone.