When I first went into self-quarantine with my family, I worried about the difficulty of finding online dance resources. Hence, I frantically came up with 60+ things for dancers to do at home and compiled a list of the useful dance at home resources amid Covid-19. Ironically, nearly three weeks into lockdown, I’ve started to get digital dance FOMO (aka: ‘fear of missing out’). To combat the stress of too much choice, this short list prioritizes the very best dance online activities.
1. Attend a Live Streaming Watch Party
Although nothing can beat the excitement of viewing a thrilling dance show in person, there are some benefits of watching a live streaming dance performance. For instance, there’s no need to dress up – and once the show is over, you can just clamor into bed. Many dance venues and companies are broadcasting their professional dance productions for free or only ask for donations.
By joining a watch party, you’ll have the perfect ‘digital seats’ to see both group formations far away and the dancers’ expressions up close; and, as a bonus, you can simultaneously converse with your friends and fellow dance enthusiasts from around the world in the live text chat.
2. Raise the Barre with Tamara Rojo (of ENB)
If you’ve previously practiced ballet, there’s something special about the generally fixed routine of a ballet class. Although the exact exercises can change from lesson to lesson, the order of ballet barre and center exercises remains the same. During this strange, uncertain time, tune in to a reliable ballet class with Tamara Rojo, director of the English National Ballet. The physical activity will do your body good, and you can let your mind relax while your body goes into autopilot.
If you have 30 minutes or less, peek at these handy free online ballet barre classes.
3. Do a Dance Challenge
Complete a dance challenge, we double dog dare you! You’ll enjoy connecting with other dance enthusiasts on social media. Even if your dance challenge videos don’t turn out as masterpieces, that’s okay. It’s all about having fun. Some dance challenges will require you to learn certain choreography, while other are much ore open ended. We published a list of dance challenges from 2020, created in response to Covid-19 and the resulting period self-isolation.
If you’re super ambitious and/or love to travel, take on our dance passport challenge: #DDdancepassport. You’ll learn short combinations of six different dances from around the world – and we’ll date and stamp your digital passport when you do! Even if you don’t complete them all, you can still tick off the #culturaldancetravel challenge by learning just one of these global dance styles. Otherwise, you can teach someone else a dance to #spreaddancenotgerms.
4. Make it Modern with Graham Classes
Members of the iconic Martha Graham Dance Company have taught a handful of dance classes live online, some of which remain on their YouTube channel. You can really get in Graham because it’s dramatic, as well as beautiful. And you’ll have the opportunity to wring out your angst with series of deep torso contractions.
Modern dance classes in Graham technique are quite rigorous, but there are classes for both beginners and more advanced dancers. You can learn some of the Graham basics in this hour-long introductory video by soloist Anne Souder, followed by her second 30-minute video. You can also find a handful of advanced classes led by Alessio Crognale and Marzia Memoli.
If you plan on dancing at home frequently, learn how to create a home dance studio.
5. Go Gaga with Classes from Tel Aviv or NYC
While Martha Graham codified the first type of modern dance, Gaga is a much more ‘modern’ version of modern dance. Developed by Ohad Naharin of the Israel’s beloved Batsheva Dance Company, Gaga is about freeing the body. Classes are more experimental than prescriptive, as each participant finds their own way to move. They’re a great way to get creative.
Gaga teachers from Tel Aviv and New York City are currently streaming eight Gaga dance classes online per day for donations. So far, they have raised more than $100,000 USD on their Gaga Classes Online FundMe Campaign to pay their dance instructors. Some sessions are for professional dancers, while others are designated for ‘people’ – so anyone can drop in.
We took both kinds of Gaga online dance classes, comparing the people sessions with the dancer sessions.
“Gaga/people classes offer a framework for users to connect to their bodies and imaginations … and enjoy the pleasure of movement in a welcoming, accepting atmosphere.”– GagaPeople.com
6. Watch Positive Dance Videos from Covid-19
It’s perfectly understandable if you need a pick-me-up as lockdown continues to combat the spread of this very serious virus. Since Covid-19 emerged, many people across the globe have turned to dance to lift their spirits.
Whether a non-dancer husband partners his professional ballerina wife in a pas de deux or a granny making her daughter and granddaughter laugh with her physical antics during a drive-by visit, there are plenty of dance clips that are sure to make you smile. We particularly like the videos of Latin dancers ‘self-partnering’ in the mirror. (Now, do you think they were more inspired by the quarantine – or by Emma Watson?)
7. Perfect a New Dance Trick
Despite the saying, ‘You can’t teach a dog new tricks,’ you can always learn a new dance trick or two.If you’re looking to grow your dance technique, there are some great dance trick tutorials online. You can play to your strengths – focusing on turns, jumps, balances or inversions – or you can specifically train to improve skills you find particularly challenging. Windmills, shoulder stands, kip ups, switch leaps and fouette turns are all examples of dance tricks that you can master… Good luck!
8. Take a Dance Fitness Classes
If you can’t get motivated to exercise at home, trick yourself into a good workout with an online dance fitness class. When you follow the fun choreography, set to a good beat, you’ll happily be sweating in no time – with a smile on your face. You don’t have to worry about dance technique or perfecting choreography here; so just enjoy. You can get your groove on with DanceBody; although originally from NYC, they provide an online subscription service. Or you can find tons of aerobic dance videos on POPSUGAR Fitness YouTube channel.
9. Join an Online Dance Party
Social dancers are probably finding it hard to stay at home. Luckily, DJs are taking to the internet to host digital dis-dancing parties late into the night. (Get it? It’s the ‘dance’ solution to social distancing!)
You can show off your sweet moves for everyone else to see, or you can keep it low-key at these virtual dance events. People who particularly enjoy the spotlight can join jam sessions with designated theme nights and costume suggestions. And revelers, rejoice! When the party is over, you don’t have to calculate a long, late night journey home. We had a great time at our first virtual dance party on Zoom.
If you’re not such a late owl, you can take part in a conscious dance party that’s meant to help you get in touch with your emotions. URUBU School of Transformation Arts holds many throughout the week – including a free session on Thursdays from 7:30 – 9:30pm GMT, with some time to socialize online before and after. Alternatively, host your own dance party with just your friends in a private group video chat. (We hear Houseparty is pretty popular.) Just put the playlist together ahead of time and let loose!
Hopefully you feel inspired, rather than overwhelmed, by seeing this abridged version of digital dance activities. However, it all seems too much, hop offline and read a dance book to restore your calm.
Which of these dance online activities sounds most appealing to you? And what have you been up to since you’ve begun to self-quarantine? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.