For all dancers around the world, quarantine time is a hard challenge. No classes, no socials, no dance conventions, all of us are at home trying to stay well and safe. Still, for those who miss dancing and are ready to train a bit, there are loads of chances to do so: online workshops, zoom events, live classes, you name it. I can’t remember so much couple and solo dancing online before.
I would always prefer to go somewhere else to practice. It’s hard to stay focused at home, and it requires me to leave my comfort zone and change my mindset to start working out. However, it goes without saying that dancing at home is a great opportunity to do something useful for your body and stay less depressed.
That’s exactly how I ended up with Robert Royston’s West Coast Swing online classes. He conceives trying to find an online partner to practice together doing special drills; this should definitely help stay motivated and less procrastinated.
The idea of having an online partner sounded really attractive to me. Inspired, I found a person who wanted to practice together. We share the same motivation: to take advantage of staying at home and make ourselves better dancers.
We are still trying to figure out how it can work better, but here is my list of 5 simple but cool things to do at home with your online partner:
It is always important to warm up and prepare your body to move. Remember that warming up is not only about stretching but also about teaching your body to move correctly, making it get used to do so. And it’s always fun to share your warming up routine with someone, to enrich it with what your partner suggests you to add
2. Do drills together.
Drills are a perfect tool to improve one’s dancing. Here is a drill Robert Royston advised us to try: one of you performs a movement for 8 counts, and then another person repeats it for next 8 counts. Keep taking turns and repeating things after each other until the song ends. You can do footwork, styling, turns, pattern variations. Just play around and suggest different drills as long as both of you practice together.
3. Listen to the music.
It’s not about enjoying the music and doing nothing: set tasks. You may count to find all “ones” or “sevens”, discuss which phrase change is major in a song. Listen to different instrumental lines separately (only the beat, only the piano, etc.) You can also talk about the mood or lyrics. It’s such a simple task, but it will affect your musicality enormously. By the way, if you are a newcomer, counting will help you understand music structure better.
4. After listening to music, suggest your ideas of highlighting special breaks or musical moments in a song.
How would you dance to highlight lyrics? What would you do to make your dance look interesting?
Try different body angles, change your basic patterns, try new anchor steps, invent unusual body movements, etc. I find it very entertaining if you can just play with some moves and ideas on the camera. It will certainly help you get more confident with new moves
5. Record your dancing.
No matter what you dance, it is crucial to watch yourself after and see what you can do better. Ask your partner to help you. You can exchange videos and comments on what things can be improved. Do not forget to give a positive feedback on things you liked.
Being on quarantine is not fun, but getting another person to practice together might be a real distraction.
Be inventive, keep dancing, stay safe and sound!
Thousands of hugs!