Who knew 2020 would look like this? It is a massively challenging time for everyone, and we are all asking ourselves how we can adapt our lives at home to fit our work, joy and hobbies into a smaller scaled environment. This is true for everyone and despite dance being an art form that is typically designed for space and travel, is very much being kept alive though online means, keeping that discipline and joy in steady supply and free flow.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a testament to the art of dance that all over the world dancers are dancing in their living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and on their balconies– I find it so empowering the way that we all rally together from afar, and what it says about the love and passion that we as humans attribute to dance and the freedom we find in it.
So whether you’re a pro, in training or brand spanking new, let’s talk ways you can dance in quarantine and lock down and not only improve but grow as a dancer dramatically.
1. Start taking online class with your favourite teachers.
Dance at home has literally never been better. I think we’re crossing into brand new territory with so much content online becoming available to dancers in a way that was previously only accessible in a studio. So let’s shake off those stay at home boredom blues and dance in quarantine the fun way.
With so many teachers now taking their classes online, you don’t have to be in the same geographic location as them to do class anymore! Lots of teachers are doing Instagram lives and zoom classes, so follow your favourites on Instagram so you can get updates of what and when they’ll be teaching.
2. Make yourself a timetable.
As humans, we thrive off a degree of structure. It’s easy to feel at sea and demotivated, so by creating a timetable it will make sure that you don’t forget when your favourite classes are, and give you a reason to wake up earlier, get dressed and motivate yourself. It will also stave off boredom and give you a sense of variety as each day will feel different according to what classes you’re doing.
3. Document your progress.
It’s great to film yourself back. That way you can see what you need to improve e.g. this needs to be sharper, I need to practise my balance on that turn. It’s also nice because if the teachers happy for you to, you can share it via social media and tag them. That way they get to see you dance their choreography. It’s also good for them as more people will hear about their classes.
4. Use the extra free time wisely.
If you’re out of work and stuck at home, then we have a choice to make. We can either feel down and stay stuck in what we can’t do right now. Or we can use it to our advantage. In the real world, there are lots of things that we have to do that we don’t want to. Lots of pulls on our time. High Street jobs to tide us over until the next contract. Errands to run. Meetings to attend. Parties to go to. But with more time at home we’re free to focus on the things of our choosing. In my case, dance makes me happy so I love getting to spend my time and focus on it each day without feeling pulled in as many directions. Allow yourself the extra time to focus on and put your energy into what makes you happy.
5. Choose a new skill.
Belly dancing? Irish? Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Learning to play an instrument? Learning a new accent? Now is a great time to add an extra skill to your bow. What skill have you always wanted to learn that will boost your career prospects in future? Well rounded performers are a hot commodity, so think of this as career equity and make yourself sought after.
6. Seek out improvement.
What one thing have you always really wanted to get better at? Tip- I advise picking just one thing so you can start to see real gains in that area. If you spread yourself too thin you might not see the results that you want. If you want to dance in quarantine and clearly progress, this is an important thing to focus on.
7. Learn to listen
I believe that as dancers we are healthiest when we’re able to honour the ebb and flow of our bodies. We’re often taught to ‘push through’ and this can lead to greater stamina and does have a time and place. However, it can be a great skill learning to listen to the signals our body sends and intuitively follow them. When do I feel like dancing? When do I feel like resting? Do I need more sleep? Maybe I need to connect with some friends right now? Do I want some time alone? As we start to recognise what gives us energy and what drains us, what stresses us out and what we need at that time to get back to homeostasis we become wiser and healthier dancers. And a healthy dancer is a happy dancer. You can’t do anything without good health!
8. Set yourself some stretching goals.
Has there always been one area of your body you always wished was more flexible? (For me it’s my back.) Maybe you want to work on your over splits, or your feet. Pick something you’ve always wanted to achieve for yourself and give some time and energy to it. You’ll be amazed at what you achieve!
9. Break out of your comfort zone.
Everyone is out there creating content at the moment, so whether that’s videos, photos or a blog– find a way to creatively express yourself. It’s a great way to learn to create on demand. You can even do a Tik Tok, the options are endless! I also just want to say a massive thank you to all the dance teachers out there who are providing so much free content. Given that we are all in the same position of not being able to work, (or pay much for class) it’s so gracious and kind to put that kind of time and effort into helping us all to keep improving as dancers and connecting with dance in the same way. ❤️ It’s also lovely to join for class and dance in quarantine together whilst apart.
10. Set yourself choreography challenges.
If choreography scares you, start small. Choose your favourite song and just choreograph the chorus, then maybe teach it online. Or if that’s too big and scary, start small and teach it to a friend over video chat. Whatever is going to grow and challenge you. It doesn’t matter what direction you’re going, but life can’t steer you if you don’t move.
Take your pick! Dance in quarantine your way.
You don’t have to do all of these, pick whatever feels good to you. These are the things that I find helpful so I thought I’d share them. What helps you get through quarantine?