Dancing Apart, Together

When you are stuck at home, on your own (or even with your family), it can be difficult to stay focused and in touch with your regular daily life. So I thought I would share with you a few ideas about how you can stay strong in your dance and mental health while we are living through these crazy times.

“Travel” to the studio

Many of us are now utilising spaces within our homes as our dance studio. It could be our lounge room with the chairs pushed back, the kitchen or a bedroom. We are also finding it easier to get distracted and not do the work we set out to do when using our own spaces.

Usually, when we trained or taught in a studio, we would leave the house and a part of this departure and arrival sequence told our brains it was time to get down to business. But we don’t do that when we simply go into the “dance studio” within our houses.

What would happen if we “travelled” to our studio space? If we actually left our “home”, walked to the corner, or down a few houses, and then walked back to the “studio” (which just happens to be inside our house. Don’t talk to anyone or break the spell of what’s happening. Just go to the studio and work as if you had gone to your actual dance space. When you are done, “leave” the studio by walking the same path you took earlier to come “home”.

This trick helps reset your brain into dance mode from home mode. When you are in your dance space, make sure you’re working on dance and don’t get distracted with social media or housework – you’re not at home, you’re in your dance space, treat it with the respect it deserves.

Warm-up and Cooldown Rituals

In the same was as “travelling” to the studio is important, use the warm-up and cool down as a ritual. The warm-up clears out the cobwebs of the day and prepares your mind and body for working and the cooldown begins the recuperation process at the end.

Part of the reason these should be thought of as rituals is that it resets your mind into working. The familiar steps of the warm-up (even if you change bits up) reminds your brain of what you are about to do and kicks off the familiar endorphins of success and happiness in anticipation of what is to come. Both it and the cooldown should be like meditation through movement, which will soothe the body and your mind.

Connect with Other Dancers

It can be hard doing it alone – especially if you’re used to dancing with others every week. Consider joining an online class with your local teacher. Or if they’re not teaching, with another local teacher, or an interstate or international one who you’ve always wanted to be able to study with regularly.

Attend events with other dancers. There are events for “locked down” showcases with popular dancers bringing you shows from their lounge rooms direct to yours. It’s almost an ideal situation – the drinks and food are free and you don’t need to leave home to see the show!

Create your own dance circle. If you have dancers you dance with regularly or that you wished you could, reach out to them and hook up a good old fashioned round of lounge room disco. One of you plays the music for the group, everyone gets to dance together. Best. Thing. Ever.

So there are three tips you can use to get some “normality” out of life while we are all socially distancing ourselves. It’s hard to come to an understanding of what is happening and why, but really in the end, we all need to remember to use this time to appreciate what we have and to make the most of it. No one can be sure what will happen out the other side of this, but if previous bouts of hardship in our history is anything to go by, we will come through it stronger and ready to see what is next in life.

No matter what happens, just remember one thing. There is a reason why you dance. Don’t stop that now just because the world around us is stopping. Fight for your time to dance, you’ll feel better when you’re done dancing.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in the coming weeks. If you have any other tips and tricks that I’ve not shared so far, feel free to let me know via the APB Dance Facebook page, Instagram or send me an email using the contact form here on the website.

Did you know that APB Dance is offering online classes, streamed live from my dance space to yours? Check out what’s on offer below.