Hey guys! So, there’s this brand new thing that I bet you haven’t heard about yet: Online Dance Classes!
Just kidding. They’re everywhere. And it’s probably a little overwhelming. Maybe even annoying. And it’s most definitely conflicting and confusing. Let’s sort through all the info.
Free online dance classes are great! You have the opportunity to take classes from new teachers, learn a new genre (or start to at least), try new steps in the comfort of your own home, and maybe even take some really great master classes. Super rad opportunities are available for everyone! I hope you find some time while you’re sheltering in place to take advantage of some of these opportunities. Make sure you read this whole thing for some tips and motivation to get moving!
It can feel like too much. It’s overwhelming. Especially when you might not even feel like dancing at all right now. And you know what? It’s OK if quarantine has you feeling super unmotivated. If you follow a lot of dance influencers on Instagram or TikTok, now might be a really good time to unfollow (at least for a little while) and just take a break from the pressures of the dance world. Because let’s be real, there’s a lot of pressure: dance every day, be more flexible, start a cross training program, eat healthier food, get that triple pirouette, take ballet so you’re trained properly, no wait take hip hop so you’re versatile, but what about tap – take that too, oh and acro – you’re going to need some tricks…. You guys. Stop. Just stop. First, be kind to yourself. Second, unfollow these people who are suddenly dance teachers and are baragging you with crazy amounts of “advice”.
Pssssst! Secret time: Most of the people you’re following on social media are kids. Not experienced teachers. They’re trying to get followers and likes – not trying to give you a meaningful personal connection or quality dance education. Don’t get me wrong. I follow a lot of these kids too. They’re crazy talented and super entertaining. I’m just saying that if you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything going on right now, it would be a super smart idea to unfollow for a little while.
OK. Social media rant over.
Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to any online dance classes:
Is the Teacher Qualified?
This is an obvious one, and it also applies to regular classes. Look for someone with experience and who has a personality that meshes with yours. Maybe the classically trained, former Russian ballerina is too harsh for you. Maybe the super chill teacher that always wears socks is annoying to you. You can get a really good feel for someone’s personality by checking their website. Do a little research, shop around, and sign up for a trial class if it’s offered.
How Will the Class Make Me Feel?
It’s especially important during SIP, when you’re feeling isolated, to look for someone or something that feels uplifting. Right now you want to dance to enjoy yourself – not to add more pressure to your day. The right teacher for you will help you feel accomplished and relaxed after class. Not frustrated and discouraged. The right class content will have you feeling better too. Find something level appropriate for yourself – and be honest! There’s no sense in getting in way over your head in a professional level ballet class when you’re just learning how to tie your pointe shoes. Challenge yourself realistically. If it’s a choreography based jazz or lyrical class, it’s worth asking the teacher what song the combo will be set to. I foresee a lot of angsty contemporary dances titled “Virus”. If something in the song is going to trigger you, you may want to sit this one out and find something else. If you’re tired of searching, here’s one of my favorite, uplifting online dance classes to take in my living room!
Is This Going to be Consistent?
Taking a master class or two is a great idea, and will be super fun. But if you keep signing up for one-time classes, you’re going to exhaust yourself mentally. Decision fatigue is real, and I know that when I feel like I can’t decide on something, I just don’t. I go and grab the mint chip ice cream and watch old seasons of Dance Moms. Not productive. Or healthy. Try to find something that is offering a full session of classes, even if it’s just for a month (because we can’t really plan much farther ahead right now anyway). Once you’re signed up and you have a set schedule of classes, you’re way more likely to be consistent in taking them. P.S. You can see our online schedule for May right here!
Is My Studio Offering Online Dance Classes?
It might seem really awesome to sign up for classes at a bougie LA studio while everything can be done from anywhere in the world. But save that for master classes. Your teachers know you and they will be able to explain things to you right now in a way that most people won’t. Teaching online is awkward – but they already know what to look for when it comes to your technique and safety. Your teachers will be able to give you the reminders they know you need. They’ll call you out for not going full out with your facial expressions or getting distracted during an explanation. And while that may be annoying in the studio, it will feel like home when it happens on Zoom. I think dancers are hit especially hard by this isolation business – way more than most – because we’re used to tons of emotional and physical connection with our people. It will feel so good to connect with your friends and dance together. Trust me.
Ok, now I know I said that if you don’t feel like dancing it’s ok. And it is. But only for a little while – like maybe a day or two. But then you need to pick yourself up and do something.
If you’re struggling right now, I get it. There have been plenty of days lately where I’ve stayed in my pajamas, not gotten off my couch, lived on chips and coffee all day and just scrolled TikTok for hours. This pandemic sucks. You’re allowed to process it however you need to. Especially if you’re someone who deals with mental health issues. If that’s the case for you, I really hope you’re surrounded by people who support you and you’re able to keep up with therapy appointments. (And if you’re one of my dancers – you have my phone number, I’m here for you <3) But it’s still important to get yourself into a mindset where you’re ready to dance. For me, that just means doing a warm up from jazz class or a set of plies – there’s tons of ballet class music on Spotify by the way. Five minutes to warm up is a super short, manageable amount of time and you’ll probably want to keep going when you’re done. You can find a super easy turnout exercise here to get you started!
Why should you keep dancing right now?
→ Your studio is also probably working on something performance related. Even if you’re not learning actual choreography, your teacher will probably have you working on specific steps or technique that will help you when you do get back in the studio. I have a strong feeling that you’ll be sad if you miss all that. No one likes to feel like they’ve been left behind.
→ Think about goals you had set in January for your dancing. Maybe you’re working on splits, turns on your bad side, a la seconde turns. Maybe you’re getting ready to go en pointe! All of your goals will be huge accomplishments and you’re going to be so proud of yourself when you get there – your dance teacher will be proud of you too! Now think of all the work you’ve done so far and how much progress you’ve made. I bet it’s more than you think. Now think about losing all that progress, getting into the studio and starting from scratch again. Sad times. Let’s keep working.
→ You probably already know this one: exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. I know it’s hard to get motivated when you’re feeling down, but I promise you’ll thank yourself when you’re done.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a day. Relax and get yourself in the right headspace. Research your options for online classes and reach out to your dance teacher. Make a plan for yourself.
Then take a shower, put on a leotard and dance!