Another Day of Dancing Digitally
Follow up to A Dancer's Digital Reality, Rachel Levitt on taking online dance classes.
When Nicole told me about her adventures in online dance classes, I found it funny how her story ended where mine began. Hence, I have opted to write this little follow up article offering more inspiration for dancing in this digital reality. Hopefully you have created a nice little at home dance studio as described in my previous post…
Why take online classes?
With studios closed or restricted in access, online classes are an amazing way to continue growing our craft in these strange times. Don’t miss out just because it isn’t the same! Once you adjust, this new way of doing things can be very fun and fulfilling.
When I began taking online classes, I refused to use Zoom. Teachers being able to see into my house with my cat begging for attention? No thanks. Having to worry about camera angles? I’ll pass. Instagram and YouTube classes were definitely the best starting place for me.
With so many amazing options to learn from top professionals in all genres, I found myself compelled to use the time for professional development in modern dance. Having a focused goal was a huge motivational factor for me. It made me excited to start my day, and lit a fire in my belly through the challenge and tenacity it takes to conquer a weakness.
While I tried classes in Duncan, Limón, Dunham, Horton, Taylor and Cunningham; Graham was the one I fell in love with. It was so unlike anything I had done prior, and I found it humbling to be back at step one of a new style.
How I got obsessed with Zoom classes…
After a couple months of taking daily classes with the Martha Graham Dance Company (MGDC) on Instagram Live, they made the dreaded switch to Zoom. Since there was no way I could make it without my daily dose of Graham, I dove right in without hesitation (but loads of fear).
At first it was uncomfortable to be seen in my own space and to work at finding the best camera angle, but the stress vanished quickly within the first week. In fact, it was fun to be able to interact with my teachers for a change. Getting corrections no longer felt like being in Orwell’s 1984, and asking and hearing questions felt refreshing after months of nothing. The whole quarantine dance experience became a lot less lonely the day I switched to Zoom.
When MGDC finished their open classes for the summer, I switched to Movement Migration which offered classes in Graham, plus a flexible schedule to fit around my work commitments. Being part of a virtual dance community helped ease the isolation of technology, and I am grateful for the range of unique individuals I’ve gotten to meet in these strange circumstances.
What I do now…
Online classes where I can’t be seen feel lonely now that I’m used to Zoom. I still do them sometimes when my schedule is cramped, but it’s not the same. With studios opening again, I am lucky to be able to teach with restrictions, although I prefer to stick to taking online classes in my personal time to decrease exposure.
I feel lucky to have this new way of embracing my craft from home, because when I get a precious moment in the studio I am armed with new skills to use and share. I look forward to the day when online dance classes aren’t such a big part of my weekly routine, however in this digital reality, I am happy they are.
TRY SOME OF RACHEL’S FAVOURITE CLASSES!
I'm partial to the Martha Graham Dance Company as they were an important part of my quarantine dance experience. You can take class on their YouTube page, however look out for their Zoom classes that are running Oct to Nov.
Movement Migration finished up their summer classes for the year, but keep up with them via Instagram and their website for updates on what they have coming up. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from their esteemed faculty that boasts major credits such as MGDC, Paul Taylor, Radio City Rockettes, New York City Ballet and more…
Broadway Dance Centre offers a fantastic schedule of classes live streamed from their studios in NYC. This is a rare chance to train with some of the world’s most high-profile faculty, without having to purchase a plane ticket. I also recommend checking out their IGTV for free classes such as Ryan Daniel Beck’s morning mobility warmup and Michelle Moreno’s ballet class.
Harbour Dance Centre were the first online classes I took via their IGTV and YouTube pages. They radiate positive vibes, and are so much fun. I recommend taking Chanel Lacasse’s contemp jazz to get you hooked.