Dance Training

Should You Be Taking Online Dance Classes?

STEEZY's web player has options for tempo and viewpoint. Photo by Sam Caudle, courtesy STEEZY

Dance technology has come a long way from ballet variations painstakingly learned by watching fuzzy VHS tapes. Over the last few years, a dizzying number of online training programs have cropped up, offering the chance to take class in contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop and even ballroom from the comfort of your own living room or studio.


The Magic of Tech for Dance

Using an online dance training service has unique advantages:

  • Take class whenever, wherever. "With the rigors of performance and rehearsal schedules, pros often don't have time to attend class," says Caitlin Trainor, founder of Dancio, a ballet-focused online training platform. Do a ballet barre in your kitchen, warm up backstage before a performance or screen a master class in your studio.
  • Access to the best teachers. You don't need to travel to New York or Los Angeles to take class from your favorite teacher. Take ballet from Julie Kent with Dancio, contemporary from Kathryn McCormick via CLI Studios or tap from Anthony Morigerato with Operation: Tap.
  • The ability to self-pace. The beauty of video, says Learntodance.com founder Leon Turetsky, is that "you can pause, rewind, fast-forward and watch it as many times as you like to get it into your muscle memory." Many classes are filmed from multiple viewpoints and offer the chance to switch seamlessly from one to the next, with options to change the speed or loop the video.
  • A cornucopia of dance styles. Online programs offer access to every genre imaginable. Try a new style, brush up on a technique you haven't practiced in a while, glean some inspiration, test out pedagogical strategies or just be an absolute beginner in the privacy of your own home.

Pick the Platform That's Best for You

"Think about what your objectives are," says Trainor. "Do you want to try something new? Improve your skill level? Warm up, or simply find pleasure in moving?" Take a hard look at instructors' qualifications and artistry, too. "Don't just look for people with a lot of Instagram followers," says STEEZY co-founder Connor Lim.

Or maybe you're looking for a community more than a video archive. "The culture of tap dance is very communal," says Ayodele Casel, who co-founded Operation: Tap. "A lot of our younger users have really engaged with OPTAP, and that starts them engaging with each other."

The Key Word Is "Supplemental"

Julie Kent teaching a Dancio class. Photo courtesy Dancio

"Nothing will ever replace the chemistry and magic of the live class experience," says Trainor. As Lim points out, tactile instruction and live feedback are essential learning tools. Beginners in particular may not know if they're executing a step correctly or not. Online dance platforms are best used as a supplemental training tool: for a warm-up, during a break or when getting yourself to a live class just isn't feasible.

But don't underestimate the very real power of video, urges Casel. "I wanted to tap dance because I saw Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on film," she says. "It never takes the place of in-person training, but it's an incredible source of inspiration."

Dance on Broadway
Michelle Dorrance. Photo by Jayme Thornton

What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.

Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!

Keep reading... Show less
UA Dance Ensemble members Candice Barth and Gregory Taylor in Jessica Lang's "Among the Stars." Photo by Ed Flores, courtesy University of Arizona

If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.

The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light in DESCENT, which our readers chose as last year's "Most Moving Performance." Photo by Jay Newman, courtesy Kinetic Light

Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.

We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.

For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?

Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox