How to practice dancing during quarantine (by Anastasia Lilu Mysina)

For all dancers around the world, quarantine time is a hard challenge. No classes, no socials, no dance conventions, all of us are at home trying to stay well and safe. Still, for those who miss dancing and are ready to train a bit, there are loads of chances to do so: online workshops, zoom events, live classes, you name it.

I would always prefer to go somewhere else to practice. I personally find it hard to stay focused at home, because of all the distraction I have around. It requires me to leave my comfort zone and change my mindset to start working out indoors. However, dancing at home is a great opportunity to keep improving and stay less depressed.

That’s why one of the West Coast Swing online classes I ended up with was Robert Royston’s. He conceives trying to find an online partner to practice together doing special drills; this should definitely help stay motivated and less procrastinated.

Find an online partner to practice together doing special drills; this should definitely help stay motivated and less procrastinated.

The idea of having an online partner sounded really attractive to me. Inspired, I found a person who wanted to practice together. We share the same motivation: to take advantage of staying at home and make ourselves better dancers.

We are still trying to figure out how it can work better, but here is my list of 5 simple but cool things to do at home with your online partner:

1. Warm up

It is always important to warm up and prepare your body to move. Remember that warming up is not only about stretching but also about teaching your body to move correctly, making it get used to do so. And it’s always fun to share your warming up routine with someone, to enrich it with what your partner suggests you to add.

2. Do drills together

Drills are a perfect tool to improve one’s dancing. Here is a drill Robert Royston advised us to try called “match to move”: one of you performs a movement for 8 counts, and the other person tries to repeat it simultaneously. Keep taking turns and repeating things after each other until the song ends. You can do footwork, styling, turns, pattern variations. Just play around and suggest different drills as long as both of you practice together.

3. Listen to music

It’s not about enjoying the music and doing nothing: set tasks. You may count to find all major “ones” (change of the phrases). Listen to different instrumental lines separately (the guitar, the piano, etc.). Try to find the beat and, if possible, define the instrument. You can also talk about the mood or lyrics. It’s such a simple task, but it will affect your musicality enormously. By the way, if you are a newcomer, counting will help you understand the music structure better.

4. Create

After listening to a song, think about the music pattern. How do every 32 counts look like? Maybe you can take some notes? Try to put together a mini 32 count line dance! Include some triples, walks, slides, turns, maybe knee pops. I find it very entertaining if you can just play with moves, it helps you open your mind to new patterns and ideas.

5. Record your dancing

No matter what you dance, it is crucial to watch yourself after and see what you can do better. Ask your partner to help you. You can exchange videos and comments on what things can be improved. Do not forget to give a positive feedback on things you liked.

J’EM QUARANTEAM CAMP – FINAL COMBO “FEETWORK” FOCUS

Being on quarantine is not fun, but getting another person to practice together might be a good distraction. Be inventive, keep dancing, stay safe and sound! Thousands of hugs!

Anastasia Lilu Mysina