Dancing face to face versus online

Dancing face to face versus online

In this new age of social distancing and self-isolation, partner dancing and social dancing is off the menu for most people.  But let’s face it, we all love to bust a few moves, so there has been a massive shift to online “learn to dance” ranging from the fun and easy to the technical and challenging.  

At Social Dance Company we are finding that lots of people are getting frustrated and feel they have two left feet or can’t learn because they are struggling with online presentations and classes.  We thought now is a good time to explain the big differences between online and face to face dance lessons, so you know how to get the most out of your dancing while keeping 1.5 metres apart.

So, what’s different about face to face lessons?

  • It’s all about you: Just being with an instructor makes the learning process easier. A good instructor will quickly work out your learning style and whether it’s See It, Hear it or Do it focused. They will then tailor their method to your style.  
    • For instance, a See It learner will learn best from watching a step danced, a Hear It learner will want the concepts explained and ask lots of questions, where as a Do It learner will want their instructor to dance it with them to see what it feels like. 
    • Interesting fact: It’s much harder to get the most out of online learning if you are a Hear It or Do It learner
  • You get to feel the moves:  If you are dancing with an instructor they will guide you through each step so you build up a muscle memory of how the step feels when you are in the correct position.
  • You get to see the steps from different angles:  One of the most difficult aspects of learning online is working out the alignments and directions of the step especially if the instructor is only showing you a front facing version.
  • You learn at your pace:  If you need 20 repetitions on a lesson, that’s easy when you are working one on one. A major frustration with online learning is it all moves too fast, especially if you are watching a live lesson.

But let’s face it, we need to dance, especially now, so let’s look at how you can get the best out of online dancing. At Social Dance Company we are running online Group Classes for our students on weeknights and have also developed a 14 dances in 14 days Dance Challenge for anyone and everyone.  These are groups of simple steps that can be linked together to give you a short sequence of every dance from rumba and salsa through to waltz and foxtrot.  

It’s also great to see so many studios running classes for their students and the general public.  Here’s how you can make online work for you:

  • If your studio is running online classes, give them a go.  Our live online classes focus on techniques rather than steps and we ask our students to use them as revision rather than learning complicated new steps the wrong way
    • Focusing on revision is a great way to keep dancing and consolidate your skills
  • If you are looking for lessons online, Google the style and type of dancing you are after and then look for an online program and instructor that matches your learning style and classes at your level.  You’ll also find lots of virtual classes on YouTube.
    • Don’t be frightened to ask questions 
  • Remember, if you don’t have enough room to dance, you can learn lots by just watching, you’ll be surprised how much will come back when you get back on the dancefloor again
  • If you are interested in watching the professionals, there are lots of sites like DanceShopper sharing on Facebook and Instagram
  • Catch up with your dance friends via Skype or Zoom and try a virtual dance party.  You can even share a play list on Spotify
  • For just plain fun, Tik Tok dances are awesome and very easy to learn. Why?  They are based on simple combinations, all forward facing (so you don’t need to worry about alignments and tricky turns) they are short, often 10 seconds or less and easy to follow.  They are also set to recognisable bits of songs which help choreograph the movements.  Best of all you can dance them with your “family group” to kill some of that isolation boredom.  
  • Group Dances – These were huge in the 80’s and are still popular today.  From Nutbush, the Macarena to Killer and Gangnam style they are easy to learn because like Tik Toc dances, they are based on simple choreographed routines that benefit from repetition. All you need to do is download a YouTube video and follow the moves, these are great dances to learn when you are stuck at home.  

The best advice we can give online dancers is give it a go but don’t set unreasonable expectations for yourself.  Work on revision not learning complicated new steps.  Remember, online dancing should be high on the happy factor so if you are not picking up a step, it’s probably the video or instructor not you.  Like to know more?  Check out our website and keep dancing.

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