Your Ultimate Guide to Taking Class At Home
So you're on layoff—or, let's be real, you just don't feel like going to the studio—and you decide you're going to take class from home. Easy enough, right? All you need is an empty room and some music tracks on your iPhone, right?
Wrong. Anyone who has attempted this feat can tell you that taking class at home—or even just giving yourself class in general—is easier said than done. But with the right tools, it's totally doable—and can be totally rewarding.
Get the Right Floor
Carpet: no. Proper dance floor: yes. Image courtesy Harlequin Floors
We all know by now that dancing on improper flooring can result in serious injury. But even if you're just doing barre, the carpet or hardwood floor in your home won't properly replicate what it feels like to be in the studio. Harlequin Floor's home studio kits include a sprung floor to protect your joints as well as a variety of cover surfaces to choose from.
Save stretching for after class. Photo by Matthew Henry via stocksnap.io
Just because you're not at the studio doesn't mean you can skip warming up. Before you do any demanding movement, be sure to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing—whether that's through ab work, light cardio or whatever fits best into your practice. Remember: Stretching is not warming up, and should be left for after you've finished dancing. (Couldn't hurt to throw in a foam rolling session, either!)
Make A Plan
Plan out your class before you dive in. Photo via Unsplash
If you're used to taking class from someone else, it can feel daunting when you have to train yourself. Before starting class, come up with a gameplan: Map out each of the combinations you plan to do, including the number of repetitions. Better yet, bring a teacher to you by using one of the many online dance training platforms available.
Grab A Barre
Image via us.harlequinfloors.com
Nope, the wall won't work. Sorry. (Seriously though, anatomically speaking, bracing yourself on a wall just isn't the same and can throw off your alignment.) Harlequin makes lightweight freestanding ballet barres you can set up anywhere, with adjustable feet for stability, no matter how uneven the floor.
Maintain the same level of focus you would have if you were surrounded by your peers. Photo via Unsplash
When you're in your home—and not surrounded by a teacher and peers to hold you accountable—it's easy to get distracted. Unless you're using it for music, place your phone in another room, and try to clear out as much clutter as possible. Find ways to make class fun—by choosing combinations you love, or setting goals you can feel good about achieving—to help incentivize you to stay on track.
Spice Things Up
Dancing at home can be an opportunity to try things you wouldn't normally do in the studio. For instance, use a Harlequin turning board to practice proper alignment in your turns. The board is also a great portable option for tap dancers on the go.
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: