We are living through some crazy times right now. I received official orders from the day job on Friday to work from home until further notice (we haven’t had any positive cases, but the company decided to play it safe). I went to five different stores on my way home and none of them had a single roll of toilet paper (I’m down to two “mega” rolls so I’ll be fine for a little while, but yeesh!). Major sporting events and huge theme parks are shutting down. Even the ballroom world is being hit hard with dance competitions being cancelled or postponed, and group classes and practice parties at local dance studios being cancelled until further notice.
With so many of the precautions around COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) being focused on staying home, avoiding in-person contact with other people, and “social distancing,” I’ve been thinking about my fellow dancers a lot. The one thing we would turn to in order to help us through stressful times like these, i.e. ballroom dancing, requires physical contact! It requires being in close proximity to another person. That’s the whole point. It’s two people coming together to create something beautiful as one couple.
Frankly, it sucks. It sucks that dance events are being cancelled when we work so hard to prepare for them. It sucks that we have to think twice about whether to go to our private lessons. It sucks that our professional counterparts’ ballroom businesses, like so many others, are threatened by this health crisis. It sucks that there is so much uncertainty in the world right now.
You may feel scared, frustrated, or disappointed, or you may have accepted that these precautions are simply necessary and there’s no use getting upset about them. However you’re feeling, I don’t want you to feel like you have to give up dancing entirely until this virus calms down.
Even if you’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future, there is plenty that you can do to keep up your dancing so when Life does get back to a more normal rhythm, you can pick up right where you left off:
- Solo practice! – Now could not be a more perfect time to use The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing to sharpen your solo practice skills. Review your routines, drill your technique, and enjoy the privacy of your own home to test out some new arm styling. Don’t forget to track your progress and questions for your teacher on the solo practice worksheets (or use the Journal for the Whole Dance Journey).
- Study your choreography – Write out your routines in detail with The Choreography Journal. Test yourself. How well do you know the names of the steps? How well do you know the timing of those steps? Pro tip – use a pencil when mapping things out in the Choreography Journal so you can erase easily if/when necessary. Flag the parts you’re fuzzy on so you can review them with your teacher.
- Cross train – Keep your body healthy and dance-ready with some living room workouts. I know I’ve written before that I’m a big fan of Blogilates on Youtube. The channel has a huge variety of workouts that you can use to build strength, work on flexibility, or simply get your heart rate up and burn calories. If you like ballet-style workouts, you should also check out Lazy Dancer Tips. There are probably about a million other free fitness channels on Youtube, so I’m sure you can find one you like.
- Reflect – I’ve been a little more quiet than usual on social media because I’ve taken the last few weeks to sit and reflect on where my dance journey has brought me so far and where I want to go moving forward. Reflection has looked like journaling, binge watching Netflix, taking long walks with my two dogs, and sometimes just staring at the ceiling. If you’re being forced to take a break from your normal schedule because of the current state of things, take advantage and take some time to reflect on your own journey.
- Create – I was joking with a coworker on Friday (before we all had to clear out of the office) that if things got really bad and we had to quarantine, at least I would finally have the time to finish my next book! Of course, I hope and pray it doesn’t get that bad (I’m running out of TP after all!). But if we’re not going out to sporting events, theme parks or dance studios for awhile, we need to do something to keep our minds and souls active and fulfilled! Is there a creative project that you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have time or you didn’t think you could pull it off? Maybe there’s a song that you think would make a perfect show dance number. Ever think, even if just for a second, that it might be fun to come up with a dance for it on your own? If you’re stuck at home, why not play around with the music and see what happens? Write, draw, paint, knit…explore your artistic side a little more deeply.
- Finally check off your to-do list – This isn’t really dance-related, but still worth bringing up. You know those pesky tasks that you’ve been putting off forrreverrrr? The cleaning, the decluttering, the budget balancing, taxes…whatever it is, now is a great time to take care of it. Get it out of the way while there are less distractions. Bonus – once it’s done, you’ll be able to focus more on dance without that nagging voice in the back of your head reminding you of what you’re avoiding.
These are just a few ideas to keep your mind and body in the ballroom game while we’re temporarily benched. If you do feel that it’s necessary for you to cut back on your in-person private lessons or stop them entirely for awhile, I encourage you to communicate with your teacher and see if/how you can work together remotely. Today’s technology allows us to stay connected even under quarantine! With video conferencing tools like Facetime, Skype and Zoom, there are always options to train that don’t require meeting in person.
I also encourage you to stay in touch with me! I’ve always been here for you in the digital space and that’s not going to change. Except that I’m going to work to show up even more, whether it’s sharing my silly “work from home” dance breaks on my Instagram stories (you can follow me at @thegirlwiththetreetattoo) or arranging an online workshop so we can continue working on our dance together.
We’ll get through this together. You’re not alone!
Happy (and healthy) dancing!