Whether it’s because of a Covid-19 lockdown, or you find yourself in a rut during the off-season, there are plenty of ways that dancers can stay fit both physically and mentally from the comfort of their home.
With a vast network of resources available at your fingertips, here are a few tools and tips to help dancers stay sharp and in shape as they await their return to the studio.
1. Use at-home tools to maintain your technique
As dancers search for solutions to train remotely, new tools have emerged to transform any room of your house into a mini studio. Here are some portable tools that are sure to help improve and maintain your technique at home:
Small and portable turn boards like the Ballet Is Fun TurnBoard can be used in the studio and at home to help perfect and increase your turns. Designed with little friction, the turn board encourages dancers to focus on their spotting, arm placement, and strengthening their core.
Portable Dance Floor
A portable dance floor like the Dance Halo offers a stable and slip resistant surface for dancers to perfect their technique anywhere, anytime.
2. Use objects in your home as a ballet barre
Although you can purchase a portable ballet barre like this Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin, there are objects and furniture throughout your home that can double as a ballet barre.
For your next ballet class, try anything from your kitchen counter, to a dresser, to a chair, or even a door frame or window sill can help you keep your balance.
3. Take a live-streamed master class
A positive outcome of the pandemic is that it's easier than ever before to access classes and master classes from some of the best choreographers around the world.
Companies like CLI Studios offer 800+ virtual dance classes in every style and make it easy for dancers to take classes from leading choreographers every week.
If you’re looking for more cost effective options, dancers like Tiler Peck and companies like Hubbard Street Dance Chicago often host classes and exercises on their Instagram and Facebook Live so dancers can participate for free from home.
Something to remember when taking these classes at home, is to make sure your environment is as safe as possible. Your home likely doesn’t have a sprung floor like your studio does, so be considerate of that to avoid injury.
4. Work on your endurance
Endurance plays a large part in dancers being able to perform with a high level of energy. It is also a quality that without continued maintenance, will decrease at a rapid speed and takes twice the effort to rebuild. That’s why it’s important for dancers to keep up their stamina during this time at home, or even in the off-season, so you can return to the studio in the same condition as when you left.
A good schedule for achieving this is to aim for 30 minute workouts, 3 days a week. This should then increase to 4 or 5 times a week once you are a few weeks away from returning to a regular studio schedule.
Even if you don’t have professional exercise and gym equipment at home, you can use your surroundings to do a high-energy workout. Activities like running, hiking, climbing your stairs, jumping rope, and swimming are all good ways to maintain your endurance.
5. Take a Yoga or Pilates Class
Apart from your regular dance classes, you can also look to Yoga and Pilates classes as a way to support your conditioning.
Yoga and Pilates are both effective at enhancing flexibility, extensions, and core strength, which will all contribute to keeping you in top form at home.
6. Try a new dance style
With time to spare and a massive library of resources to access online classes (see above!), this time at home offers the perfect opportunity to try a new style and step out of your comfort zone.
Not only does a new style keep you fresh physically as your body adapts to different movements, but it also stimulates you mentally. This change in routine will have you feeling recharged, and as you grow as a dancer, you’ll return to the studio filled with positivity and accomplishment.
7. Stay inspired by watching the pros
In the studio, you are constantly inspired as you are immersed in dance on a weekly basis. From the music, to the movement, to watching your peers and yourself constantly improve, you are surrounded by every aspect of the art form.
But don’t let that inspiration stop while you’re away from the studio! You want to maintain the momentum and headspace that encourages you to grow as a dancer.
One way to do this is to watch the pros, the ones who have inspired you all your life to be the best dancer you can be. For the first time, the most respected dance companies from around the world are showcasing their performances virtually for dancers near and far to enjoy.
You can subscribe to streaming websites like Marquee TV for a variety of dance performances and documentaries, or you can tune into digital seasons from companies like National Ballet of Canada and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre to once again be submerged in the magic of dance.