challenge

Hopes to support local business, have a little fun

Like many small business owners, Gena Buckley is starting to get a little worried.

And a little bored.

So, the owner of DanceXcel Dance Studio in Eagan started an online community challenge to help local businesses, and to have a little fun with her family.

Each week a new small business will sponsor a family-friendly challenge. Participants can record the challenge and then post the video or photos, who are then entered to win a prize.

“It’s something fun to look forward to until this quarantine is over,” Buckley said.

The challenges are posted on the “Quarantine Challenge!” Facebook group every Wednesday. Winners receive gift cards from area businesses.

Buckley got the idea from her sister who lives in Michigan and came across a similar idea.

She started reaching out to businesses to find sponsors.

“I was freaking out a bit and thought ‘let’s find something fun for families to do,’” she said. “Let’s get some gift cards together and get the word out about area small businesses.”

She said she has a lot of friends who work in salons and restaurants who had to close their doors, and they’re worried they won’t be able to open them back up to customers when it’s all over.

“This is a way to get our names out there,” Buckley said. “Honestly, I think we need to support each other right now and stay positive.”

Buckley had to close the doors to DanceXcel. She said they were planning to do it anyway for the safety of their clients, but now she doesn’t know how long the closure will last.

She’s been a part of conference calls with other dance studio owners in the state trying to figure out what to do.

DanceXcel plans to switch to online classes for the time being.

“We haven’t really lost any classes yet,” Buckley said. “We’re using Zoom for that. We’re still waiting to hear about our competitive teams’ competitions in April and May. We have a recital in June, and we’re waiting for that too. There’s a lot to navigate. But we’re going to have a show one way or the other. The kids and teachers have worked so hard. We’ll have a performance at the end of this.”

The first challenge is to make a 30- to 60-second video of one’s family doing a dance together. Two winners will receive a $20 Rascals Bar and Grill gift card and a $25 DanceXcel Dance Studio gift card. Submissions will be taken until 9 a.m. April 1.

She has more than 20 sponsors lined up, so she may end up doing two contests per week.

There’s a link on DanceXcel’s webpage at dancexcel.dance/community-challenge. The Facebook group is at https://tinyurl.com/yx2ejafy.

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