Those who know me well know that I am one of the most inclusive WCS organizers in the community.
Through running Swingtime, workshop weekends, and free dances (Jonathan's Late Night), I've always tried to bring dancers of all backgrounds together. This is regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, skill level, etc.... together under one roof to dance.
The public health situation has forced me, hopefully only temporarily, to run vaccine only dances.
This is for a few reasons which I'll list below but here is the main one:
There are people who are fully vaccinated but not able to attend dances with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated dancers.
Some examples: those who have kids at home under 12 who can't get vaccinated yet (like me), those who are immunocompromised and may not have enough Covid antibodies despite being fully vaccinated (one of my friends falls under this), or they have high risk individuals living at home who can't get vaccinated for one reason or another and they want to protect those people.
These folks were getting left behind which is why I started running these vaccine only options.
Throughout Covid, there have been lots of vaccine optional and mask optional dances available but no options for the group I mentioned above until a few weeks ago. It's not fair to force those folks to dance in higher risk situations or tell them they can't dance any more.
Here are some additional reasons why I'm doing vaccine only dances:
- By law, the state of Colorado still mandates that 6 feet of social distancing be maintained between unvaccinated individuals for mass indoor gatherings. I don't see a conceivable way of doing partner dancing, which by it's very nature is less than 6 feet apart, without violating that.
You can read the guidelines here: https://covid19.colorado.gov/indoor-events
- The CDC recommends the same thing as above. It's not possible to follow their guidance without the event being 100% vaccine only.
You can read the CDC guidelines here:
- There are 5 to 6 dances which choose not to follow CDC and CO state guidelines on Covid. Those dances are already available to everyone. Vaccinated and unvaccinated. No masks required. I've got a list of them here.
Many of these dances have been running over the past year and a half.
The only group that didn't have an option to dance are those who are only comfortable dancing with other vaccinated dancers. Those individuals have been waiting a year and a half to dance.
- We've got one of the top US epidemiologists in the WCS community. He's the health advisor for the WSDC event Wild Wild Westie. He's also stating that the only safe way to do large gatherings of social dancing is if it's vaccine only.
You can read about Dorry's recommendations in this Facebook group here:
- Kids at home who can't get vaccinated yet (I have 3 under 12) are currently at high risk for Covid. Even vaccinated individuals (like me) can still bring it home and spread Covid to children. I would never forgive myself if I brought Covid home to one of my little ones and it killed them or caused a life long illness.
- There are those who have high risk individuals living at home with them who can't get vaccinated for one reason or another and vaccinated individuals can still bring Covid home to them as well.
- The 70% herd immunity goal, which we're not even close to at the moment, does not take into consideration high intensity partner dancing where we're breathing all over each other. Doctors I've spoken to have estimated that you'd need herd immunity in the neighborhood of 95% (ie a room of 100 dancers where only 5 are unvaccinated) to be considered herd immunity.
The future of WCS in Colorado:
I'm hopeful that those with Covid antibodies, from being infected by Covid naturally, will help us reach herd immunity as I don't see us reaching herd immunity with vaccines alone with how political it's become.
Unfortunately, there isn't yet peer reviewed research or double blind studies showing how long those individuals, who were naturally infected with covid, maintain Covid antibodies or how effective their immune response is to the virus.
In a nut shell, the situation sucks. I miss dancing with everyone regardless of whether their vaccinated. I just don't see a safe path to do that at the moment. With that said, there are lots of options out there for dancers comfortable mixing with vaccinated and unvaccinated dancers.
Here's a list of those dances which I put together (see link below). I've been helping promote all of these dances in Colorado get restarted regardless of whether or not I agree with what they're doing.
Thanks for listening and reading my novel. I look forward to the day when I don't even have to think about this anymore and we can all get under one roof again and dance together.
WCS Master Class