Now is your time to dance like no one is watching. If you have always been a bit shy about dancing in public, this pandemic has moved the classic studio class with a dozen stumbling bodies around you to anywhere the Wi-Fi reaches in your home. You don’t need the perfect matching leg warmers and body suit combo either. Just come as you are. Those old grey shorts and yesterday’s stained t-shirt will do.
Supporting dancers and their institutions is especially important right now since dance is one of the hardest hit art industries. Dance productions around the globe have been shut down and many dancers have found themselves without work. Your participation in virtual dance classes will not only keep you and your family fit, it will keep things moving for the dance community in the meantime as well. Here are some different types of virtual dance classes available to you or your kids until studios reopen and we can all try to move in unison again.
Misty Copeland’s MasterClass
Many would give anything to feel what it’s like to move your body like Misty Copeland. The sheer power this prima ballerina has in her iron calves alone could compete with an entire athletic team’s. Even though this MasterClass isn’t for total novices and even if you aren’t a dancer, it’s still fascinating to listen to her sage life advice and tips on how to engage with your body in any kind of athletic endeavor you’re working toward. Plus, watching her fly across the room or kick her leg up so high it’s alongside her ear is inspiring, too.
Copeland not only gives you some intense lessons and explains how our emotions are connected to our bodies, but she also shares touching stories about her hard rise to fame as the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater’s 75-year history. When Copeland was an aspiring young ballet dancer she was told by many that she had the wrong body for ballet and that she was far too old to train to become a professional. She paid them no mind. Now at 36, and after several serious injuries, she shares how all her struggles have given her both the physical and emotional strength to keep reinventing herself today. Be warned that her plie and tendu warmup segment will destroy you after a few minutes, since it focuses on how even the smallest of ballet movements are difficult for professionals.
Show Stopper Miami
Although this Miami-based dance hub founded by dancer Susie Garcia reopened its doors on June 1st with 6-foot distance requirements and mask policies, virtual classes are still an option for those wary of mingling just yet. Select from adult and children’s classes in jazz funk, ballet, reggaeton, hip-hop, or heel classes (think: how to dance like JLo does in heels) given by an array of powerful female dancers who have performed in countless music videos and sold out stadiums for major recording artists. Taking pride in their ability to represent fierce, unapologetic women, these fiery females can’t wait to bring their Miami heat directly to your home via the internet if you aren’t in Miami or still at home. After the pandemic struck, its creative director Susie Garcia told BELatina: “When we learned about the change the world was quickly getting into; Show Stopper Miami reacted! We gathered all of our faculty and began a full day of production to start the virtual process. Show Stopper knows how important it is to stay creatively in tune with what we love the most… dance, music and movement. Keeping our dancers inspired is our #1 priority.”
Although this Manhattan dance company was founded back in 1970 by the great dancer and choreographer Tina Ramirez, its’s not your mother’s dance company. “I love what this organization does for the community; it’s inspirational. It fits with my own mission to serve our youth,” said Rita Moreno of Ballet Hispánico when she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the company in 2017. Aside from ballet, Ballet Hispánico offers Afro Cuban dance, flamenco, and other contemporary techniques and it has now gone virtual with classes available for beginner to professional levels, from ages 3 and up. Born in Venezuela to a Mexican bullfighter father and a Puerto Rican activist mother, Ramirez wanted to create a space in New York like Alvin Ailey’s was for African-Americans that would represent Latino culture through a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects this country’s changing cultural landscape. So in these pandemic times, Ballet Hispánico has once again reinvented itself for a new generation of Latinx movers and shakers offering “Open Company Classes” led daily by its own company dancers and guest artists at a pay-what-you-can rate via Zoom. There are also classes happening LIVE on Instagram @ballethispanicoedu‘s “Story” at the specified class start-time or pre-recorded classes shared on IGTV. “As a community of dancers, artists, and human beings, we are all in this together. We will persevere through this challenging time and we hope that these videos provide a coping outlet for you, our followers, and our community overall,” says Eduardo Vilaro, Ballet Hispánico’s Artistic Director & CEO.
Itching to improve your shuffle and ball change? The good news is that Operation Tap is offering a free month trial for new members who subscribe today until June 14th. Sign up now to begin your free tap lessons on Operation: Tap Premium here. Ayodele Casel, the Nuyorican dance talent who founded Operation Tap with fellow dancers and choreographers Anthony Morigerato and Mike Minery, told “BELatina that Operation Tap was founded with the intention of making tap education more accessible to dancers across the country and the world. “We wanted to close a gap, to create a platform where we could provide exercises, post classic clips that inspired us, give teaching tips, and create a forum for the participants to interact with one another and with the content. We’ve created a plethora of free content for users that is up on YouTube and on our social media pages; about three years into our endeavor we began offering a paid subscription with more in depth classes and detailed tutorials.” Here’s your chance to reconnect with the music-making magic of tap with these three extraordinary dancers. They’ll help you get that metal back on the dance floor and your groove back on with it.