In addition to offering Chinese dance and cultural workshops, Tang teaches after-school arts and cultural programs for local students.
Although her students were originally slated to have a final showcase this month, everything was cancelled when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Tang lost many of her teaching and performance gigs, which make up the majority of her income.
Many international conferences that she was invited to were also either postponed or transferred online.
“We’re not sure if we will bring them back in the future,” she said, noting that many cultural organizations are facing financial crises. “They might be gone forever.”
She is still offering pre-recorded and live-session lessons, but given restrictions with video conferencing and props, it has been challenging for dance instruction, she said.
“I have to think outside the box and have students use materials at home,” Tang said.
The teaching artist also noted that there’s an added pressure when recording lessons that will be made public.
“I feel a lot of my teaching and artistry cannot be transferred entirely online,” Tang said. “I’m still looking forward to the day I can return to my classroom and teach and perform in person.”
Tang, a Wuhan native who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years, said her family back in China was stuck at home during the outbreak. She and her parents made frequent calls, and her family was able to stay “calm and spirited.”
A few weeks later, the epicenter of the virus spread to New York City, forcing Tang to deal with the pandemic herself.
“Watching the process of our families helped us spiritually,” she said.