Nova Scotia

Halifax woman combats social distancing with virtual dance parties

Caley Dimmock is in self-isolation for 14 days, but that's not stopping her from dancing with dozens of people. She's started a daily virtual dance party to help boost spirits and bring the community together.

Caley Dimmock says she wants to lift spirits and bring people together

Caley Dimmock came up with the idea to host a virtual dance party after seeing videos of people in Europe singing together and leading fitness classes from their balconies. (Submitted by Caley Dimmock)

Every morning at 10 a.m. AT, you'll hear music coming from Caley Dimmock's balcony in Halifax.

She's in self-isolation for 14 days after returning home from the United States, but that's not stopping her from dancing with dozens of people.

She's started a daily virtual dance party to help boost spirits and bring the community together.

"For me when I get up and I do that dance … I'm fully in the moment. I'm not thinking if I should defer this payment or try and find work," said Dimmock, who owns the marketing agency Dimik Creative Group.

"I think it's really important to have those breaks because right now everyone's wheels are just spinning."

As of Friday, March 20, there are five confirmed and 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.

Dimmock came up with the idea earlier this week after seeing videos of people in Europe singing together and leading fitness classes from their balconies.

She created a Facebook event Tuesday afternoon asking people to join her the next morning on their balconies, patios, porches and yards for a simultaneous dance to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.

When she woke up, there were more than 1,000 responses.

"It felt nice to know that other people saw this as something positive and saw this as something that would help people," said Dimmock during a Skype interview from apartment.

"I think it's just a small way to have a little bit of an impact on people and to also bring people together."

She's been using Instagram live to broadcast her daily dance, but participants have been posting their own videos on the Facebook event and on Instagram using the hashtag #WeWillSurviveHFX.

Dimmock said the idea is that everyone will be dancing to the same song at the same time each day.

She's originally from Truro, N.S., but moved to Vancouver at age 19 and lived there for 10 years. She moved back to the province a year ago to be closer to her father, who has ALS.

She said the outbreak of COVID-19 has been extremely difficult for her because she's not able to visit her father.

"Doing things like dancing on your balcony definitely helps boost my mood for sure. I've used it as a tool before, dancing in the morning, in order to almost hack my mindset," she said.

Crowdsourced tunes

Dimmock has crowdsourced a list of songs to dance to each day, including Destiny's Child Survivor, Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees and Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar.

The list of songs currently reaches until March 28, but Dimmock said she expects more requests to come in and plans on doing her daily dance indefinitely.

"I think right now, having something positive to look forward to, and also just to focus on the positive things we have in our lives, is more important than ever," she said.

"It's so easy to focus on what we've lost, or what we don't have, or people we want to see and we can't see in person. But to take a step back and try and be positive and think about what we still have, I think it really helps to put things into perspective."

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