Supporters dance in Miami after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect.

Post-Election Dancing Erupts in Streets Throughout the Nation

Dance has long been used as a powerful form of protest. So it's all the more meaningful when that movement shifts from fighting oppression and injustices to celebrating a victory over them. That's exactly with happened this weekend as people took to the streets when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were announced president- and vice president-elect, putting an end date on the Trump presidency.

From New York City to Los Angeles, Philadelphia to Minneapolis, people danced for joy, for catharsis, to let the stress melt away, if only for a brief moment. After a year stacked with enormous difficulty—from battling the coronavirus pandemic to racial unrest in the wake of the killings of Black people by police—dancing provided a much needed release.

As the vote count continued on Friday, people gathered in Philadelphia with banners reading "Surrender to Democracy." They reclaimed a popular dance song, the "YMCA," which had been frequently used by the Trump campaign. 

Later that evening, the next generation joined the celebration at Joy to the Polls' #CountEveryVote dance party.

On Saturday in Jersey City, New Jersey, Martha Graham principal dancer—and frequent outdoor improviser—Xin Ying did an impromptu solo. 

The holidays kicked off early in Los Angeles as a crowd gathered at a gas station and found new meaning in Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You"—Biden, that is.

Backed by a chorus of car horns, a Native American man danced alongside his car in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Young people gathered for a literal "Party in the USA," belting the Miley Cyrus hit.

In Minneapolis, a group of Native American dancers and percussionists held a socially distanced performance in the street. 

Meanwhile in New York City, James Whiteside, long a champion for LGBTQ+ rights, donned a unicorn costume to congratulate Biden and Harris on their win. 

In Seattle, residents did another round of the Cupid Shuffle, which became a dance signature of the protests throughout the summer. It's a symbol of celebration and unity—and the work ahead.

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

December 2020