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AP photos. Italian ballroom dancers roll through the block

ROME (AP) – Social distance is not usually part of a dance dance vocabulary. But in an industrial area on the outskirts of Rome, couples of all ages wander around the dance floor, even through the epidemic, as hall dancers have done for decades around the world.

Although most of Italy is blocked by the coronavirus, live music, theatrical performances, cinemas are closed, and many sports activities are restricted.

The New Dance Days are preparing for the Italian Championships in Rimini in July, and as such, they are allowed to continue training, given that the government considers their activities a national interest. It’s the same benefit that has allowed other federally recognized athletes to continue training in Italy, even during the last period of closure due to the virus.

“It simply came to our notice then. “Here we can continue to dance,” said Rafaella Serafini, the 45-year-old owner of New Dance Days and a 35-year veteran of competitive ballroom dancing.

In a huge hall with mirrors on the walls and colorful lights, couples wear masks during warm-ups and breaks, but are allowed to take them off while performing traditional ballroom or Latin dances. In any case, they keep it anyway.

“It’s nice for us because we’re bigger, but we can still play ourselves,” said Franco Cowley, a 70-year-old dancer who is preparing for the competition with her 74-year-old partner. end of April.

He said he felt safe with the school health protocols, adding that participants strictly respected them.

The Italian Dance Federation has decided that 34 athletes are allowed to dance in the New Dance Day school, recognizing that continuity is necessary in practice. There are currently 17 couples aged nine to 76 who train up to five days a week.

From a view above the dance floor, Serafini watches his students turn, shouting in their direction. If he sees something wrong, he will stop the music, go down to the dance floor, show the right way to walk, pose or turn.

“School is my great pride. “When I see them on the dance floor, it’s like I’m there,” he said.

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Follow all AP reports on the coronavirus epidemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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