Tiler Peck teaching a CLI class. Photo by Quinn Wharton, courtesy CLI

The Best Online Dance Training Platforms You Can Try At Home

Whether you're learning a new style, warming up for a performance or just want to take class when you can't make it to the studio, online dance training platforms are an ever-growing option for dancers of all genres and skill levels. And though they should never replace your live training, they can be a convenient—and hopefully valuable—supplement. Here are the best options available today:


CLI Studios

clistudios.com

Cost: Starts at $100/month

Who it's for: Studio owners and dance teachers, to share with their students

What makes it unique: Big-name teachers, like "So You Think You Can Dance" favorites Nick Lazzarini, Allison Holker and tWitch, with classes in genres like contemporary, jazz and hip hop as well as choreography services

DancePlug

danceplug.com

Cost: $29/month, or 3-, 6- and 12-month access packages for $80–$298

Who it's for: Students and teachers

What makes it unique: Classes include hip hop, ballet and Bollywood, plus an audition plan subscription for $9.50/month or $96/year.

Dancio

dancio.com

Cost: Rent individual classes for a 48-hour period, starting at $3.99

Who it's for: Students, professionals and teachers

What makes it unique: Dancio is currently exclusively focused on ballet, with the chance to take class from stars like American Ballet Theatre's Carlos Lopez and New York City Ballet's Craig Hall and Lauren King.

Learntodance.com

learntodance.com

Cost: À la carte dance courses and multipart modules range from $37–$147

Who it's for: Beginner to intermediate students

What makes it unique: A range of social dance styles, like ballroom, salsa and club dancing

Operation: Tap

operationtap.com

Cost: $15–$40/month

Who it's for: Students, teachers and enthusiasts

What makes it unique: OPTAP is devoted specifically to tap dance.

STEEZY

steezy.co

Cost: $19.99/month or $199.99/year

Who it's for: Students and teachers

What makes it unique: Urban dance styles, like hip hop, whacking, house, popping and krump

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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.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
December 2020