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Yep, I’m sure you’ve tried a few online classes already (hey, even my non-dancer friends have) but what else can you do during this time of social distancing to carry on training?

My name is Isobel Davis, I’m the Dance Development & Learning Coordinator and Academy Manager at Déda. I trained in IDTA Ballet, Tap & Modern before shooting off to University to study Dance and Aerial performance at Edge Hill University. Having Graduated in 2015, I made my return to Derby and secured a great working relationship within the sector (especially with Déda)!

Reflecting on my time at university, in relation to the coronavirus and the latest news of dance centres, conservatoires and universities closing, I can’t help but feel so sad for those whose 2020 dance journey has been shortened. I feel so grateful that I’ve completed my qualification training, but I am still training and cannot attend class, go to the gym or network with others.

There must be millions of us around the world who will encounter gaps in their training. This calls for action, and in a world fascinated by digitalising our society and social media, I think the internet is a good place to start!

So how can we train digitally and access dance when self-isolating? Can we use this time to train more than just our bodies? Here are just a few ideas to keep you training at home!

Training dancers: It doesn’t matter in what capacity you’re training, whether you’re a dance artist looking for CPD, a undergraduate dance student searching for some training whilst universities are closed or a dance student in the private dance or community dance world, it is important that you keep calm and carry on training and loving your art form.

What can you do as a training dancer?

  • Ask your teachers to release music, from your classes using Spotify/ YouTube or file sharing such as Dropbox. This way you can continue to move your body, condition and keep your training up to scratch, ready to return to a sweaty studio when advised that it is safe to do so.
  • Keep an eye on YouTube. Lots of kind freelancers and concerned organisations have come forward on YouTube to share classes that you can do from home. My personal favourite dance class YouTube Channel is @missauti run by dancer and teacher Auti Kamal who teaches trending dance movements, styles and techniques (check it out). Try sharing your own exercise, dance phrases and activities too to continue growing this online resource.
  • Live stream classes. Many dance school organisations and freelancers have come forward to offer livestreamed classes and activities using Skype, Facebook and Zoom (just a few to name). Zoom, my personal favourite, is a great way to feel more supported as the teacher can see their students and offer guidance to ensure corrections are made which keep our bodies safe. I’ve also really enjoyed tapping into BOA (Birmingham Osmanston Academy) Instagram Live stream classes. Just this morning, I learnt a musical theatre/ jazz routine which got my blood pumping and my brain ready to go for a day of dance filming from my garden! Keep an eye out on social media including Instagram accounts of your favourite dance companies, your trainers and any syllabus groups you are a member of to ensure you know of any digital or live stream class opportunities. Perhaps ask your trainers, university tutors and dance school teachers if they would consider livestreaming classes if they don’t already know about these options.
  • Research and online learning. Yep I’ve said it. Sit down and research. As dancers we often train our bodies but don’t get much chance to train our brains by reading journals, looking through appropriate online research, listening to podcasts and keeping up to date with syllabus updates, curricular updates and the ever-changing dance community. Use this time to understand our dance history, learn about traditional dance styles or even cross curricular topics that could be supported by dance. There are plenty of online courses that can also keep you busy mentally and continue to develop you as a dancer. Keep learning, exploring and enriching your knowledge of the dance world.
  • Online Journaling. Why not start your own online blog or YouTube channel? A great way to keep yourself accountable when having to train at home, with no tutor to hold your hand, tell you to kick in your less favoured leg, or do that sit up phrase that you really dislike. Whether you make a written journal or use photos, it’ll be a great way to encourage you (and maybe even others) to keep training and continue to see progress whist you are away from class.

These are just a few ways you can continue training - why not try a few out to see what works for you? Remember, although we might not think it at the moment, we are all so lucky to be able to connect digitally, so we might as well use it.

Happy at home dancing!

Peace out for now,
Issy X

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