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In online dance classes, no one can see you miss a step

The pandemic has spurred a profusion of virtual offerings

Dancing at home
Dancing at homeALEX LYPA/o_lypa - stock.adobe.com

While some folks miss their gyms and their team sports, I’ve been missing my dance class. Aside from tennis, dance classes were not just the linchpin of my exercise regimen, they were my social outlet, my therapy. Once or twice a week, after the chassés and balancés, our lively group — mostly women of a certain age — would dive into conversation of passions and politics, families and foibles. We became a supportive community.

We’ve maintained that to some extent, through the generosity of our committed teacher and the miracle of Zoom, and in fact, I’m virtually seeing them up to three times a week, framed in tiny squares on my computer. But the connective energy is not the same, and I miss that.

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I do miss the people, but I’m not missing the opportunity to dance. In fact, I’m dancing more than ever before, thanks to the explosion of an extraordinary range of online offerings. With everyone from fledgling dancers to master teachers offering their tips, guidance, routines, and full classes in a huge range of styles, it’s never been easier to dip a toe in the terpsichorean pool — without commitment or the embarrassment of ineptitude, just the unfettered fun of exploration. (But if you have the means to pay dance teachers for their expertise, please do it — they are hurting financially, with no end in sight.)

Though some local studios, like the Dance Complex, are holding limited live classes, I’m staying with virtual dance, for the moment. Over the past weeks, I’ve taken a ballet barre with New York City Ballet legend Wendy Whelan, tap with Jason Samuel Smith, and social dance with members of Camille A. Brown’s company. I’ve reconnected with Limon technique, explored Horton, Paul Taylor, Broadway jazz, Mark Morris — all within the privacy of my kitchen — no mirrors, no barres, just a modicum of space and a fairly forgiving floor.

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Odds are your favorite company has some kind of virtual class. And if you just want to explore, YouTube as well as aggregators like DancingAloneTogether.com make it easy to find classes in any style (and a range of levels) at all hours of the day. It’s liberating and invigorating.

In fact, my salsa class is coming right up.


Karen Campbell can be reached at karencampbell4@rcn.com.