In this time of heightened anxiety, illness and quarantine, stories about dancing communities emerge daily – from all over the world. Why? Because dance raises our spirits and connects us with others. So patients, medical staff and self-isolating individuals continue to unite in music and movement. We’ve highlighted five funny and uplifting Covid-1dance stories each month since lockdown began in February.

Reading stories like this is just one from our list of great online dance activities.

A silhouette of a woman stands with arms spread wide with water and a sunset behind her
Photo credit: William Vaccaro/ Scopio

February 2020

5. Coronavirus Patients in Wuhan Dance to with Hospital Staff – China

China was one of the first countries to go into lockdown, so they were the among the first to turn to dance raise their spirits. Coronavirus patients in masks kept a positive mental attitude by dancing together. Watch them contentedly march and wave their arms, led by medical staff in extensive personal protective equipment.

See the South China Morning Post video.

4. Recovering Coronavirus Patient, David Abel, Dances in Celebration – Japan

More than 700 passengers on a Diamond Princess Cruise were infected with Covid-19 – including Britons David Abel and his wife, Sally. After many days stuck on board the ship, they were both sent to a hospital in Japan to recover. David, age 74, couldn’t help but to bust a move in celebration at the end of his recovery. His choice of music? Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – à la Dirty Dancing.

Read more in the Daily Mail.

3. Ballet Dancers Continue to Train in Face Masks – China

A professional ballet career requires hours upon hours of practice to maintain the strength, agility and flexibility necessary to perform difficult choreography. In Shanghai, ballet dancers donned masks and stood far away from each other during their ballet barre warm-up to remain active while deterring the spread of the virus.

See the short Sky News video.

2. Hospital Staff Dance ‘Swan Lake’ Rendition to Send Off Patients – China

We read earlier that the Chinese Covid-19 patients danced together, but this time, hospital staff decided to create their own pas de deux. Apparently, the silly dance duet was inspired by Swan Lake – and was performed as a celebration when a group of patients were released home. Normally, we roll our eyes at tired ballet imitations of ballet by non-dancers. But these guys are all right.

See the Daily Mail video.

1. Quang Đăng Launches Viral GhenCoVy Handwashing Dance – Vietnam

Quang Đăng filmed a short dance that functions as a handwashing tutorial, set to a a catchy Vietnamese tune, with a friend. The TikTok dance went viral and everyone wanted in on the action, hence the #GhenCoVy challenge. Even if you’re late to the party, you can still join in. Quang Đăng released two short tutorial videos, which slow down the dance for easy learning.

Many lockdown and coronavirus-related dance challenges have since followed, including our Dance Passport challenge, which will take you on a digital dance journey around the world.

March 2020

5. Native American Jingle Dances Performed to Heal – Canada & USA

First Nations and Native American dancers in both Canada and the USA have been performing traditional jingle dances. Women and girls don their jingle dresses, which are decorated with small metal cones. When the females dance, the cones strike and create a jingle noise. Liz Salway in Wyoming even coordinated a jingle dance on March 18 ‘to pray and dance for healing!’

Read more about these dances on CBC and read about jingle dances on KPAX.

4. Club Quarantine Keeps Dancers Partying Online – Canada

While clubs had to close their doors, the party hasn’t died… It’s simply been moved online. Club Quarantine is just one example of a dance party that is hosted via the  Zoom video conferencing app. It was launched by four artists based in Toronto and is geared towards the queer community. They have upgraded their account to allow up to 500 attendees.  

Read more about Club Quarantine on CTV News.

We also joined a Zoom virtual dance party – and we tell you exactly what it was like for first time participants. It was held in the UK and some proceeds were donated to the NHS.

3. Dad Helps Daughter Practice Ballet When Rehearsal Gets Canceled – USA

Who isn’t a sucker for a daddy-daughter dance routine? A grandfather sent in this video of 7-year-old Cora and her dad, James Favata. Cora, in a red leotard and bare feet, sweeps her arms in synchrony with her dad. They jump out into échappé and bourrée in a circle with their hands overhead in fifth position (or high first, if you prefer). The best part is that he dances without any embarrassment or need to be silly. He just embraces it. Go, Dad, go!

See the video on ABC.

2. Police Sing and Dance to Cheer Neighborhood – Spain

The police drive up a small street in Majorca with their sirens on. They park and one man gallops out with his guitar. His choice is Joan Petit, an upbeat children’s song, and residents soon join in with their voices. Meanwhile, the policeman’s comrades clap their hands over their heads to the beat, turn around in a circle and perform the requisite gestures to accompany the melody.

You can read more about the story on Indy100.

1. Dance Projection On Apartment Delights Residents – Italy

This video from Rome is particularly sweet. One resident projected a clip of Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire onto another building. The famous couple dance, recorded in black and white quickly twirl and razzle dazzle with their quick steps. If you look closer, through an open window, you can spy an elderly couple that hold each other close and sway together, simply enjoying the music. Awww…

See the clip in the Daily Mail.

Photo credit: Fabian Andres/ Scopio

April 2020

5. Dance Challenges & Dance Resources Ramp Up – Worldwide

In March, we scraped pooled these dance at home resources together in an article and made a list of 60+ home dance activities to keep you entertained whilst staying safe at home. But in April, the dance at home resources exploded. Now you’ll find that many companies have provided classes and shows, as well as new behind the scenes content from choreographers and creatives. The proliferation of resources actually inspired us to write this article about the very best online dance activities, since there surely isn’t time to do them all.

If you’ve been dancing at home a lot lately, check out how to set up an at-home dance studio. Or if you need a break from online dance classes, get your heart rate up with an online dance fitness class.

4. Karmiel Dance Festival Postponed, 24-Hour Dance Marathon Held Instead – Israel

Israel’s Karmiel folk dance festival, which usually takes place at the end of June, has been postponed. To cheer up disappointed would-be attendees, instructors hosted a folk dance marathon on Zoom, spanning 24 hours between April 13 and 14. At some points, more than 1,000 dancers logged on to share the joy of dance. This should help to tide them over until they can again gather in person for harkadot Israeli folk dance sessions.

Read more in Times of Israel.

3. Dancer Performs for Neighbors While Taking Out Trash During Lockdown – Spain

The thrill of dancing and performing for others is pretty unique. Albert Garcia is a professional dancer in Valencia, who seized his opportunity to perform while taking out the rubbish during lockdown. Garcia says, “It felt like pure freedom, honestly…” He dances with the trash bag at first, then drops it, caught up in his dance. His new neighbors seemed to quite enjoy the short show, too.

See him dance on BBC.

2. Man Loses 14 Pounds While Dancing to Raise Money – England

During lockdown, barber Dean Burrows from Cheshire originally took to dancing in order to cheer people up. At the suggestion of a passerby, he brought out a bucket for donations and earned more than £2,000 for the UK’s NHS. His dance costumes included an elf, a cheerleader, a snowman, a giant teddy bear, Superman and Shrek. His dancing stint gained donations, while Burrows lost weight – an impressive one stone (or 14 pounds).

Read more on the Metro.

1. Dancing Mom Upstages Son in TikTok Video – USA

TikTok continues to grow in popularity with its proliferation of dance challenges. The social media platform is still dominated by Generation Z, and they sometimes invite their parents to make cameos on their dance videos. Jojo Davila invited his mom to feature in his TikTok, but he probably didn’t imagine she would steal the show! The 48-year-old lady was a part of the drum line dance team for Morris Brown – and she’s still got it.

See the video on TikTok.

May 2020

5. Dance Teacher’s 100th ‘Drive-by’ Birthday Party in Los Angeles – USA

A hundredth birthday definitely calls for a celebration – but with everyone required to stay at home, birthday parties just haven’t been the same since we’ve been staying in self-quarantine. Still, former dance teacher Joan Bayley enjoyed a centennial birthday bash. About 50 cars decorated with balloons, streamers and posters formed a parade. Although Bayley has recently retired from a 30-year career as a dance teacher at Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, she has been tutoring her 13-year-old granddaughter, who trains there.

Read more with the LA Times.

4. Impressive Irish Dance Shout Outs for Two Dancers – USA & England

Although March tends to stick out in peoples’ minds as ‘the month’ for Irish dance, two dancers received shout outs from Irish dance professionals in May. First, Campbell McBride earned props from none other than the esteemed Michael Flatley for his enthusiastic lockdown Irish dance video in his kitchen and garden. See it in the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

And Virginian Morgan Bullock attracted lots of attention with her video of Irish dancing to Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage. Not only did viewers discuss the song choice, unfortunately some left racist comments because she is a black Irish dancer. However, the talented young lady was invited to Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities in 2021 by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – and the dance director of Riverdance, Padraic Moyles, asked Bullock to join the cast when they perform at the at the Wolftrap Amphitheatre in Vienna, Virginia next year. He also announced her scholarship to the Riverdance academy next summer. Read more on The Irish World.

3. Man Spoofs Famous Dance Scene… With ‘Lamp’ as Partner – USA

Staying at home really limits your dance partners. So, when challenged to recreate the famous finale scene from Dirty Dancing, Brooklyn-based Quinn Wharton enlisted the help of a lamp (or a lampshade on top of a broom) to be his partner. He shot the video solo, which is pretty impressive since he plays multiple characters, and his moves are spot on. Since then, his Quinn-tessential dance clips have covered The Breakfast Club and Flashdance.

Read more on Classic FM and see more on Quinn Wharton’s Instagram feed.

2. Joyful Dancing Pallbearers Find Fame – Ghana

The dancing pallbearers of Ghana were featured in a BBC documentary a few years back, but these professionals have found a resurgence in popularity that now spans the globe. Prior to Covid-19, these professionals celebrated the lives of loved ones at funerals with joyful dance moves – and now they regularly feature in memes that warn people to stay at home unless they want to ‘dance’ with the pallbearers, whilst in their coffin. (Yes, the morbid joke is, that you can party with these guys when you snuff it.) Police in India and Peru have created their own spoofs.

Read more in The Guardian.

1. Misty Copeland Organizes ‘The Dying Swan’ Ballet Fundraiser – Worldwide

Popular American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, Misty Copeland, co-organized a Swans for Relief fundraiser with 32 ballet dancers from 12 different countries to benefit the dancers at their respective companies. The artists performed Mikhail Fokine’s iconic The Dying Swan choreography from 1905 to music played by the famed cellist Wade Davis. The diverse cast of ballerinas perform snippets in their living rooms and beautiful outdoor locations; and their Go Fund Me initiative has raised over $250,000 USD at the time this article was published.

See the video on CNN.

June 2020

5. Dancers Take Over Baseball Field – USA

Plenty of videos from lockdown feature dancers in their kitchen or living room. But choreographer Alison Cook Beatty decided to take her dancers to the baseball diamond. The dancers wear face masks and maintain a good physical distance while rehearsing, and some curious New Yorkers enjoy watching the creative process unfold from portable lawn chairs. The performers spin and slide across the sand, dramatically kicking up dust.

See the video on ABC News.

4. Woman Recreates Childhood Dance – UK

Some dance routines stick with you for life. All of the rehearsals ingrain the movement into your mind and the choreography gets stored in the body’s muscle memory. One woman revisited a favorite dance routine from her childhood, gloriously recreating it, side-by-side with the old video footage. She didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s actually a perfect example of our #DanceRevival challenge that we proposed in our list of Covid-inspired dance challenges. Give it a try!

See the video with the Derby Telegraph.

3. Neighbors Dance Together, Rain or Shine – UK

Neighborhood block parties with games and food are on hold for 2020,but in Cheshire, England, an impressive number of neighbors gathers for socially distanced dance sessions daily at 11:00am. One day, the neighbors marched and follow a young, female leader to J-Lo’s Let’s Get Loud – and on a rainy day, they kicked waved their umbrellas to Singing in the Rain. (Unfortunately, the article does not name the inspiring dance leader.)

Read more on FOX.

2. Unconventional Tap Dance ‘PerformanceRaises Funds for ACLU

While the last story is about neighbors bonding together, this story is about a set of neighbors with different political opinions. A tenant in a large apartment building slapped political posters on their window (that supported an atrociously sorry excuse for a President and human being). Their upstairs neighbor, Jett Croisant, posted his own sign above. He asked readers to Venmo him money for him to tap dance, which would undoubtedly irritate his neighbors below. While the sign was meant to make passersby chuckle, Croisant has raised more than $10,000 USD for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read more on Buzzfeed. 

1. NYCB Shares ‘Paw de Deux’ with Pets Video

The New York City Ballet released a video featuring several ‘paw de deux’ pieces – and that’s not a typo. The ballet dancers creatively filmed segments of famous ballet choreography alongside their pets: dogs, cats and even a bird. They’re all great, but the dog guest artists look particularly joyful to be dancing with their professional ballet friends… The short film may inspire you to try this with your furry and feathered pets at home. (I’m tempted, and I don’t even have a pet. But I may try it with my parents’ puppy when I finally get to meet her!)

See the video on the NYCB Facebook page.

July 2020

To be announced…

Uplifting Dance Stories Amidst Covid-19 Pinerest Pin
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What are some of the wonderful stories you’ve seen about dance since Covid-19 lockdown began? Share them in the comments below!

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