DENVER — Step into Bboy Factory and culture and community paints the walls. The dance studio is home to the breaking Hip Hop community. On Thursday, a world-renowned dancer held a workshop to help the studio raise money to pay the bills — over Zoom.
Students that once filled the studio and encouraged one another as they showed off their footwork are now doing so virtually, as the state deals with the novel coronavirus outbreak with no end in sight.
Ian Flaws’ passion for dancing goes back 23 years. He opened the studio to provide the young and old a place to express themselves.
His business is not essential, so the stay-at-home order forced him to close his doors.
“Financially it’s been tough; we have had to pay our bills and our rent and our overhead has remained the same,” Flaws said.
When he began to see dancers take their business online, he followed to help keep his business afloat.
“We have moved a lot of our programs online to virtual platform,” Flaws said.
The move has allowed his business to expand across the world. With tough competition, he brought in a Red Bull sponsored guest instructor who’s no stranger in the dance world. On Thursday, Omar Delgado Macias, also known as RoxRite, held a workshop to help raise money for the Bboy Factory. He is an award-winning competitive b-boy.
“The gold standard world championship for break-dancing — he was the world champion,” Flaws said. “We have students in California, Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Washington, D.C. Tonight’s class has students from Germany,” Flaws said.
Ian said he’s asking students to pay what they can to keep the classes affordable.
“We are not turning anybody away. I think dance and just self-expression, creativity — it’s empowering. It gives you ownership of your own voice, it gives you a way to tell your story and it keeps you healthy,” Flaws said.
He’s not sure when he will open his studio but is sure it will look different. He plans to continue classes online to keep studio classes smaller. He also plans to take additional steps like marking out spots to make sure students are six-feet apart, move to online payments and ask parents to not hang out in the studio.