Fred Astaire Studios Resumes Practice Parties after 15-Month Hiatus
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May 18, 2021
By Alexander Roberts—
In another sign of economic progress as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, Fred Astaire Dance Studios resumed their practice parties on May 14. About 20 students ventured out from social isolation to once again participate in a tradition at the studio, where they get to practice the skills they learned in classes that not too long ago were only virtual.
It’s been a tough year as the studio, located in Sleepy Hollow on Route 9, had to shut down last February when the pandemic hit the national and local economy with lockdowns that lasted longer than anyone then had predicted.
Owners Sasha and Olga Bylim have operated the franchise for 22 years, a classic story of two international ballroom dance champions from Ukraine who came to America for a better life. Their studio had steadily grown, moving from Tarrytown to larger quarters in Sleepy Hollow, with elaborate annual showcase events featuring students performing with their instructors that filled the Tarrytown Music Hall. The events at the Music Hall were halted during the pandemic, but the studio gamely improvised to keep their students happy, providing free virtual classes for students hunkered down in their homes.
With masks required, the Bylim’s didn’t know how resumption of the practice parties would be received. They were delighted, however, at the turnout, and with the pandemic receding with students vaccinated, they even dared hope to eliminate masks in the future.