In "OME," dancer and choreographer Camila Arroyo explores how her two places of origin—New York City and Mexico City—inform her identity as an immigrant artist.
We get it; after over a year and a half of virtual dance training, you're ready to kiss Zoom goodbye forever.
But your dance training doesn't have to be completely virtual or completely in person. In fact, finding the sweet spot between in-studio and online training could be exactly what takes your dancing to the next level.
Here are five reasons online dance training should stay in your tool kit post-pandemic.
1. You Can Learn a New Style at Your Own Pace
In an online dance class, you can comfortably learn a new style at your own pace and in the privacy of your own home. The dance app STEEZY offers over 10 different styles of dance— from studio styles, like contemporary and ballet, to street styles, like heels and popping. So whether you are a ballet dancer who wants to learn hip-hop basics or a krumper who wants to try out contemporary, there's a STEEZY class (or two, or ten) for you.
Of course, learning a new genre is easier said than done. Brittany Cavaco, professional ballerina and STEEZY lead ballet instructor, knows that class can be intimidating, especially in an unfamiliar genre. This is where STEEZY comes in: "STEEZY instructors make their classes encouraging and positive, while also being realistic and honest," says Cavaco.
What's more, taking enough in-studio dance classes to see improvement can be expensive and time-consuming, but a STEEZY subscription allows dancers to take an unlimited amount of classes each year from anywhere. And when it comes to figuring out what level of class to take and when, STEEZY eliminates the guesswork.
STEEZY Content Lead Charise Roberts explains, "the basis of our programs is wrapped around giving dancers real structure, so they can start at square one, and get to the next level."
2. You Can Take Basic Classes to Brush Up on the Fundamentals
Even if you aren't an absolute beginner at a particular genre, online classes can strengthen your technical foundation. On the STEEZY app, instructors break down individual moves and grooves meticulously, so you can grasp every detail.
But dance knowledge doesn't stop at the technique itself. Learning the history and differences between dance genres is also paramount to becoming a well-rounded dancer. Dance teacher and STEEZY user, Jessica Holyfield, explains, "If you want to understand the difference between voguing and waacking, for example, they have a blog that goes in-depth on the historical and technical differences, as well as instructors who are currently a part of that said dance community who walk you through each technique!"
3. You Can Take Convenient Maintenance Classes When You’re Busy
Life as a performing artist is hectic. From balancing performing gigs to side hustles, most days you probably don't have time to travel to a physical studio, take a 90-minute class, and commute back home. But with STEEZY, fitting dance into your daily life doesn't have to be a struggle. They offer a range of different class lengths and even warm-up and strength-training videos, all built for smaller spaces.
"We have an onboarding quiz for new subscribers that takes in your dance goals, your preferences, how frequently you would like to dance and how long you'd like to dance. After that, we build a 'For You' page that schedules out your week for you," says Roberts.
For dancers performing on contracts, STEEZY offers a great solution: you can fit a quick ballet or choreography class in your day no matter where you are or how much time you have.
4. You Can Learn Teaching Tips From the Instructors
While we usually think of virtual classes as a way to improve our dance technique, they can also build our teaching skills. Virtual class instructors have the unique challenge of teaching to a camera, usually with no live students in front of them, prompting them to get creative with how they instruct.
For Holyfield, taking STEEZY classes has improved her teaching skill set: "My technical exposure to all the various styles they offer has allowed me to be a better demonstrator of technique within my classes for my visual learners. I'm also able to describe and correct movements in more ways than before, thanks to the examples of STEEZY's diversity of instructors within each style."
She continues, "Since I'm learning multiple ways of dancing in a class virtually, I'm able to apply that to my classes whenever they are forced to go on Zoom. Overall I've seen so much growth with my students, which may be a reflection of my growth as a teacher."
5. You Can Learn a Combo for Your Dance Reel
In this new era of virtual auditions, you either need to have a constantly updated reel, or be prepared to shoot a video submission at a moment's notice. And yet, it's nearly impossible to get a "reel-worthy" video in a drop-in class, not to mention the pressure to do so shifts your focus away from enjoying the class itself.
With STEEZY, you can learn a combination at home, zero in on the details, and record when you're ready and have the proper space. And if you're looking for some feedback, STEEZY's Facebook community of over 7,500 dancers are constantly posting videos and sharing friendly critiques. Roberts explains, "A lot of the time, the instructor, somebody who's directly on the STEEZY squad or a familiar face from our YouTube channel might jump in and give you your feedback...and gas you up as well."
STEEZY Classes Aren't Your Typical Zoom Class
Even for dancers who aren't keen on virtual classes, STEEZY's designed-for-dancers interface is a cut above other online dance options.
Cavaco describes, "There are a lot of different features—like choosing the viewing angle, changing the class speed, or looping certain sections—that make it a more interactive experience, so you feel like you're controlling the way that the class is taught to you." She adds, "I don't like taking virtual classes, but STEEZY is a whole different experience."
As a whole, Roberts expresses, "STEEZY is not just a pandemic solution, and not a replacement for in-person classes. But it's absolutely something that complements your overall training to make you a better, stronger dancer in the long run."
Level-up your dance training by getting started with STEEZY.