After nearly 2 years away from dancing, I’d hoped that 2020 would be my year of returning to dance classes. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic got in the way of that plan, so I was expecting to have to wait until normal was back again.
I was going to be dancing around my kitchen for a bit longer – not easy when it’s partner dancing you do, you have a husband who doesn’t and won’t dance, and a 9 year old son who’ll do his own version of ‘dancing’ and a bit of jokey tango, but looks at me like I’m mad when I suggest he learns. I hadn’t counted on the numerous dance companies and teachers who’ve moved to online dance classes.
Ever since lockdown started I’d been spotting live dance classes on Facebook and Instagram. I’d had a go at a few of them. I’d also been part of some where you can make a donation towards the classes. I decided against paying for specific scheduled classes which were paid upfront. I can never guarantee the time I can make it to the lessons as family life doesn’t always work like that in the evenings.
I’ve been having a good time trying out lots of different styes of dance with different teachers.
What if you don’t have a dance partner at home?
What I’ve really liked is how many of the social dancing class providers are also providing options for classes for solo dancers. Because not everyone has a dance partner in lockdown with them.
Some of the classes I’d been doing were local – a ballroom and latin dance school I’ve had taster lessons at before. But I got sick of either dancing alone or as a leader because the only men who go, go with their partners and they don’t rotate partners at ballroom classes. Through their daily free online dance classes on Facebook, I’ve done all 10 ballroom and latin dances. It turned out that one of the teachers was even on Dancing with the Stars Netherlands last year.
You never know who your teachers are going to be, and there’s many of the Strictly Come Dancing pros doing classes of some kind – many as part of the #HomeFestival on Instagram which includes yoga, dance and some upcycling/style advice.
I’ve also tried Bollywood dancercise classes, and a dance school doing Musical Theatre dance lessons on Instagram.
If you’re into ballet, you can find English National Ballet’s Tamara Rojo doing daily ballet at home being streamed on Facebook. There really is something for everything, and it’s a great way to get to see your favourite dancers or teachers in a more approachable friendly way.
Online modern jive classes
If you want to stick with modern jive there are plenty of options online as well. Ceroc are doing videos on their website, under the name ‘Dance in your Pants’ because why not when you’re all at home? As well as Ceroc and Silc videos, they’re also doing solo ones which range from styling to line dancing. There’s around 100 hundred videos to choose from.
Cat at Modern Jive Spain is also doing weekly virtual lessons covering modern jive with some other ballroom style dances. Revolution Dance are not only delivering weekly modern jive lessons but promote former Strictly pro Robin Windsor running paid for weekly zoom lessons as well as Burn the Floor dancer Fay Huddleston’s lessons in styling. Just sign up for the newsletter to find out more.
I was pleased to spot the Ceroc Mist online dance weekender which ran in May over a bank holiday weekend. With classes across a number of ‘rooms’ running alongside each other, and music in the evenings to dance or listen to, running it on zoom meant you could see everyone dancing in their houses. There was also the traditional Sack the DJ and quiz slots, a chance to chat with dancing friends. Classes were for Ceroc and Silc, as well as numerous other dance styles both partner and solo dance.
Supporting dance online.
Paid for or free online dance classes
Even if online dance classes aren’t advertised as paid, many teachers or organisers are providing a means to donate. I’ve tried a few classes, then pay a lump sum, rather than paying something each time.
While not everyone has the money currently to pay for these free classes, if you’d usually be paying for classes, then supporting this provision where possible is a nice thing to do Even if it’s not the full amount you’d pay for a live face to face class where you can get feedback. We all want our favourite dance classes still to be in business once we’re out the other side and back to dancing as normal. It might be some time given the close contact and sometimes high numbers of people attending dance classes and weekenders. But the longer us dancers can support them the more chance there is that we’ll still have dance classes to go to in future.
Online theatre and dance productions
If you don’t want to dance but still want to enjoy watching it, there are options for you too. I’ve had 3 theatre bookings from this year postponed to 2021 so far, but I’m expecting a couple more to move as well. One of those shows has already streamed the show online free to all.
For musical theatre lovers, there is an old performance showing every couple of weeks of some of the most popular shows – check out The Show Must go On on Youtube for the next show (usually available to watch for up to 48 hours). Not dance, but if you missed watching Take That including Robbie Williams singing from their own homes via the first Meerkat Music, you missed a great show.
It’s going to be a long time until theatres and dancing is back as normal. Fingers crossed there will still be some online offerings in future. I think they are a great way to attract new dancers, who might never make it to a class, whether it’s logistics or nerve. You’re never going to be a great dancer from not having the face to face feedback and experience, but there’s certainly an opportunity to make the most of getting more people up and dancing.
Who knows, maybe once normal dancing is allowed back again, some of those new online dancers may make the leap into proper classes in person.
Have you done any online classes since lockdown started? What do you enjoy about them?