How the 'C' word changed how we approach dance.

By Richard Causer

Online Dancing is the New Black. However it sure has come with certain challenges.
Who would have thought that the world would change so much in such a short timeframe? One moment we were all out and about socialising in bars, cafes, parks, catching up with friends, sharing experiences, travelling across the globe and dancing anywhere we wanted. The world was our oyster and the sky was the limit. 

THEN BOOM!!!

The 'C' word started to appear on our screens, news, radios and newspapers. It flooded our social media post and it started to come out of everyone's mouths no matter where you were or what you were doing. 
Coronavirus or Covid19 became household names and probably the most commonly used words around the world. 
Because of its impact, the world had to think fast and explore new and exciting ways it could keep the wheels rolling.

(IN COMES ZOOM DANCE)

As the world came to a halt and we were all restricted to our small home spaces, 
Anastasia, Elise, Fiona and myself started to chat about what we could do in these strange times. We wanted a way to keep active, to socialise and connect with people and also keep practicing what we all love so much- teaching. 
So, Zoom Dance was created. 
It’s now been approximately 7 months since the ‘C’ word became fashionable and the majority of dance was moved online. We have definitely all done our fair share of online classes and there are definitely many stories to tell about how things can go drastically wrong. 

‘CAN YOU HEAR ME? CAN YOU SEE ME?

I’m sure we all understand the frustrations around technical problems that happen during class. We finally feel like we are all over it and setting up for an online class is a breeze…… then everything freezes. Usually mid exercise and you are sitting there wondering if it has frozen for everyone or is it just you? Then the internet elves kick back in and everyone is still in full swing having the time of their lives and you feel like an absolute ‘wally’ as you’ve missed the whole sequence. 
These ‘internet’ issues as well as our computer batteries all of a sudden on 5%, not hearing the sound or not seeing the screen are things we have all dealt with and I believe are slowly coming to understand that is just the way it is. “Patience, Patience, Patience”, is what I have to tell myself. 

WHO MOVED THE COUCH THERE? 

Navigating a dance class in your lounge room or other small home space is definitely no easy feat. The amount of times I have fallen into my couch, hit the ceiling fan or stubbed my toe is too many to count. 
The first few classes I did online were definitely the most challenging. I had gone from dancing in large studios where space was no issue, to all of a sudden compacting myself to be a ‘tiny dancer’. It sure was a challenge but something that has now become quite familiar and has allowed me to focus on ways to move in smaller spaces, my technique and forced me to get creative. 

CANINE ON THE DANCE FLOOR

Dancing with a dog has been fun. Miss Bonnie (pictured) is either fascinated by my movements or she thinks I’m a total nutcase. However, she is there, every class. Sometimes wanting to join in, and sometimes totally over it and just sleeps. 
Interruptions are something we can’t really avoid during online classes. Dogs, children, people knocking on the door, the phone ringing, neighbours renovations and your partner crossing the space after coming out of the shower. Sometimes our homes are complete zoos and there is not much we can do about it. But I kinda love it, we all get to see a little into people’s lives, the challenges they experience and it makes us all human. 
There are a lot of reasons one might choose not to do an online dance class, some being the reasons already spoken about above. However, I do think there is something super special about dancing online, especially during this uncertain time in history. 

“I HAVE TWO LEFT FEET”

Whether you have danced your whole life or not at all, online dance class is a platform where all of a sudden ANYONE can have a go. Being in the comfort of your own space, the nervous and social anxiety barrier is eliminated. You can choose to have your video on or off, do as little or as much as you like and take breaks as you please. 
People who have never danced before are all of a sudden coming out from hiding and trying their hand at dance. And this is just fabulous! Dance accessibility just became easier.
I love dancing! And because the whole world has transferred to an online platform, all of a sudden, I have access to classes all over the world. In the last few months, I’ve done classes in the UK, Germany, Melbourne and New Zealand. I can do classes with people all over the world, meet new people and experience what’s happening everywhere else.
It really has been a challenging time in so many ways. However, if I was to think of a positive that has come out of the ‘C’ word, it’s that no one can take dance away. We are a resilient group of people and we will always find ways to connect to other people and share the power of dance. 
Of course I love a good dance in a studio, nothing can take away the feeling of moving and travelling in space and I hope everyone gets to try it at some point. However I wouldn’t change anything about my experience with online classes. It truly is a humble and nurturing platform. The people who come to Zoom Dance classes are just wonderful. We have such a large range of ages, abilities and experience, and none of that matters. There is no judgement on who you are and what you can do. 
Zoom Dance has kept me sane through Covid, maintained my connection to the contemporary dance community and has introduced me to many beautiful people who I never would have met otherwise. 
So yes, there are challenges to dancing online, but if you have the opportunity to give it a go, then you must! It’s something you won’t regret.

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