If you’ve taken a dance class online before, you’re probably aware of some of the challenges learning virtually can bring. Spotty connections, not enough physical space, and interruptions from family members can easily affect how much you learn from the class. After teaching, spectating, and dancing in a month worth of classes, here are our tips for making the most of your online dance classes.
#1: Adjust your camera
One issue we often hear from our teachers is that they can’t always see 100% of the students in their class. Make sure that your camera is far enough away from where you’re dancing that your whole body is visible, and that you adjust the camera up or down depending on whether you’re stretching on the floor or up on your feet doing a combo. For younger students, we recommend that a parent stays close by in order to help with any computer issues so the dancer can focus on dancing!
Not only that, but be aware of your background. A sunny window might seem like a great spot to dance in front of, however it causes the camera to go dark and prohibits the teacher from seeing the dancer properly. Choose a spot without a bright background, and preferably a blank wall so the teacher can properly see what’s going on.
#2: Join early
Part of the fun of dance classes is being able to hang out with your friends beforehand! While not always possible, we recommend that dancers join the Zoom chat 5-10 minutes before their class is supposed to start. This gives enough of a buffer time in case of technical issues or missing equipment (like shoes or a water bottle), and gives you a chance to catch up quickly with your friends before class starts.
#3: Create a dance space
While this may not be possible for all households, find a space in your house that you can dedicate to taking dance classes. Move all the furniture out of the way, check the internet strength, and test your camera to make sure everything is good to go when you’re in class. If possible, choose a room or space away from any distractions like the kitchen, TV, front door, or any spaces where the rest of the family hangs out. Unlike the dance studio where it’s a closed environment, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re dancing from home. It’s up to the whole family to make sure that everyone has a chance to concentrate when taking online classes, whether or not they’re in dance!
#4: Try wireless headphones
A great way to make sure you keep focused on the class is by using a pair of wireless headphones connected to the laptop or other device you’re using to take classes. Wireless headphones allow you to adjust the volume so you can hear the teacher and the music, and can help block out unwanted noise from the rest of the family. If you do go the wireless headphones route, make sure they’re fully charged, and test to make sure they’ll stay on during turns or any other high intensity moves so you’re not chasing a rogue earbud while the class is going on!
#5: Use your hands to communicate
When you’re in the studio, it’s easy to talk and tell your teacher if you have any questions, need them to repeat themselves, or if you’re ready to start dancing. Virtual classes make this a bit more challenging. Make sure you use your hands to communicate when the teacher asks a question. Understand everything that’s going on? Throw a thumbs up or “ok” sign! Not too sure about something? Circle your hands in a “repeat” motion or give a thumbs down. Your teacher will let you take yourself off mute to ask any more questions without disrupting the rest of the class.
#6: Stretch after class
You’ve probably heard your teachers say before that after you’re already warm from taking class is the perfect time to stretch. In the studio, things are so busy that it can be hard to find the time or space to stretch, but being at home gives you the perfect opportunity to take the time to stretch after class! Go through stretches you’ve learned in class, or follow along to a YouTube video.
#7: Set goals & intentions
Social distancing is hard. Being cooped up at home can make the days blend together and seem endless. Setting dance goals for yourself is a great way to keep track of time and become a better dancer while you’re outside of the studio. Have you always wanted to be able to do the splits? Increase your strength to be able to hold those amazing tilts? Hold your balance for endless turns? Now is a great time to work towards those goals!
Most of the virtual classes we offer at Greta Leeming Studio of Dance are focused on strengthening the fundamentals rather than teaching completely new things. This is so that our dancers come back stronger and more flexible, and lessens the risk of injury. If you feel like the class is not challenging enough, try setting an intention for the class. Write it down on a whiteboard and keep it by your computer screen so you can look at it and remember what you’re focusing on. Some ideas include focusing on your turnout, high demi-pointe, beautiful pointed toes, or that your core is engaged throughout class. Set a new intention every class for variety!
Our virtual classes are available for current dancers and new dancers alike! We offer virtual classes for all age levels, from Tiny Tots to Adults. Check out our registration page to learn more about our current offerings. We can’t wait to see you in class!