How to Keep Dancing Through a Pandemic (we need dance now more than ever!)

virtual dance

Dance provides expression, connection, laughter, release, and hope.  These are all of the things that we need now more than ever.  Dance provides the human connection many people are missing right now, and while we cannot use touch to connect, we can still feel close human connection by expressing ourselves through body language.

Dance also has many health benefits and provides a way to stay active even when we are stuck inside.  Dance raises our heart rates, allows us to stretch, and builds strength all at the same time. And as far as mental health, dance is proven to boost endorphins, reduce cortisol and improve our immune system.

As far as health and safety guidelines, restrictions are different all across the country depending on what region you are in.  Even though there are regions that have a low rate of positive cases, we are still in the stage of taking many safety precautions to avoid a surge.  There are some school districts and neighborhood clubs that allowing a return to in-person learning so we have tips for safe and successful in-person as well as virtual dance classes and lessons.

Online Dance Classes

Like many dance education companies, Dancing with Class has pivoted to offering virtual dance programs. Our lessons can be highly customized for specific groups and can include a combination of synchronous and a-synchronous instruction.

Some tips for a successful online dance class:

  • Do a tech check with the service provider prior to your first lesson to ensure the technology needed to participate in the class is all set up properly on your device
  • Clear out as much open space as possible so you can move freely during the lesson.
  • Try to move as close to your internet modem as possible.  It will give you better service without pixelation issues or interruptions.
  • If you are sharing WiFi with many people, then try to go on at a low-volume time.  Avoiding others while they are using WiFi will also provide better connection.
  • Set up your device at least 15 minutes beforehand and test out the best place to set up the device so others can see you.  Play with the platform and get familiar with its settings!  This is a major issue that people forget to do in the virtual lesson world.  You have to test the lighting.  Is your phone/computer high or low enough for others to see your whole body?  Will the phone/computer stay in place and not fall?  These are small things that can hold up a lesson/class if they aren’t thought about and instead discovered the hard way.
  • Lastly, be patient!  It takes a couple of virtual sessions to find a new normal, and things still wont be perfect.  There will still be some issues along the way because humans and the internet aren’t perfect.

In-Person Dance Lessons

As we look to incorporate physical distancing as a safety precaution, in-person dance instruction can happen with some modifications.

  • Require masks for everyone and enforce that they be worn properly (covering both nose and mouth) at all times. Young students may need frequent reminders about this.
  • Use tape on the floor to mark off “space bubbles” for each student to stay inside.
  • Partner work: While physical contact is not possible at this time, students can still benefit greatly from mirroring a partner while keeping a safe physical distance. By turning to face a partner and dancing as a reflection of each other, students develop more self-awareness as well as empathy and relationship skills.
  • Ventilation is key!  If you have the space/means to do so, then practice outside in the fresh, moving air.  If practicing inside, try to find a well-ventilated space, and open windows if possible.
  • Don’t get too comfortable:  Children are working on practicing boundaries.  Even adults can accidentally go back to the “previous normal” behavior.  Do the extra work to prevent this from happening.

So whether you’re planning for a movement class in person or online, make sure to follow the safety guidelines according to your region, and prepare yourselves accordingly.

Interested in exploring virtual dance programs with Dancing with Class? Take a look at these options and then contact us for more info!

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