While some dance students take to online instruction, self-instruction, or learning through imitation intuitively, for others it can feel pretty daunting, and it can be easy to be left behind. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. When we say that anyone can learn dance, we mean anyone. And whether you are brushing up on your skills or just getting started, there are few better environments than your home to learn how to dance. Here are five tips to make your home dance experience the best that it can be.
Find Your Classroom
The three timeless rules to real estate are “location, location, location,” and this applies to your home dance classroom as well. Make sure that you pick a spot where you have a wide range of motion, comfort in terms of privacy and your ability to make noise and movement, and most of all, a place where you feel safe. You don’t want to be learning how to pirouette in a tool-strewn garage or a children’s room full of toys. A nice clean space, with enough room for you to stretch and move, a floor surface that isn’t hazardous, and good lighting are all key considerations when finding your perfect home dance classroom. Here’s an idea: If you have the space and it’s seasonally appropriate, try dancing outside!
Set the Scene
Now that you have picked your spot, start adding some creature comforts and dance-aid necessities. A mirror is a must for most styles of dance because working on your moves when you are home alone is next to impossible without some reflection on your form. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to analyze your form in a mirror or don’t have a large mirror, set your phone up to record yourself at the end of your class so you have something to reflect on and study.
Music and dance are eternally connected, so a decent sound system for your tunes is a good idea as well. As you develop as a dancer, you might ask yourself “What are my needs?” Are you focusing on ballet? Perhaps a bar for barré exercises is something that you should invest in. Is your dance routine high impact or fitness-based? Consider some basic additions like resistance bands, floor mats, stretching wheels, and low impact weights to help with your warm-ups.
Make Your Move
Ask yourself what style of dance, if any, you are specifically trying to hone in on, and find the resources that will help you learn best. Are there specific books in your chosen genre that are highly recommended? If there is a style of music associated with your preferred dance style, start building a playlist of songs in that genre.
Consider investing in a video or streaming system that will allow you to watch the content in real-time that you are trying to emulate and learn. Filming yourself can also be a great way to see if you are dancing the style the way you’d like to. While propping your phone up on the nearest ledge may work in some circumstances, when you’re dancing at home, you have the opportunity to set up your camera exactly how you want to. Consider buying a stand for your phone for a better range of angles that work in the space you’re dancing in.
Learn From the Best
As we have written about before, if you’re interested in learning dance at home with the aid of virtual instruction, make sure that you pick the right online dance classes. Find courses with instructors whose style appeals to you and you find easy to learn from, but that still challenge and drive you to succeed. Make sure that that the curriculum fits into your overall goals as a dancer. Remember, in a classroom of one, you are the most important student, so don’t ever hesitate to find ways to curate the experience to fit your needs. For example, if you want to learn hip-hop but you’re particularly interested in choreography that incorporates poppin’ then it would be a good idea to start with technique classes from masters of the style, like Popin Pete.
Have you considered looking for a dance partner, or partners, for your home dance studio? A safe, creative environment can flourish in your own home with the right collaborators. Finding like-minded people with similar interests and goals in their dance instruction journey can be as easy as finding your local dance community. Network with friends, look for or make physical postings at local dance studios, or explore local online forums and social media to find your people. Consider starting a local weekly club, of 2-6 dancers, who can meet at your home spot or at others’ homes on a rotating basis. Supportive learning can add a new dimension to your home dance experience and you can help hold each other accountable in reaching your dance goals.