Dancing at home safely
The end of lockdown is in sight, or is it? With some counties in Level 3 and some in Level 2 everyone is in a different boat. Some dance schools are hoping to open up but many more have to stick to dancing at home with online classes for the time being. We may be dying to get out of the house and back into the studio, but it looks like we may have to dance and safe stretching at home for just a little longer. If you’re still #dancingathome I’ve picked out a few star products you might want to check out to make your at-home-studio just as good and as safe as the real thing!
Create a safe space
It’s so important to ensure that the space you’re dancing in is safe. Before you start fouetté-ing have a quick glance around you. Are your family or housemates likely to need to use this space while you’re dancing? Is there a sneaky plant pot in your way? Could that table be a little closer than you thought? Is there a dog or cat that could wander in unexpectedly and trip you up? A little planning can save you from the pain and frustration of unnecessary bumps, bruises, and broken toes.
Mind the floor
It’s really important not to jump or turn on floors that are too hard. You can easily damage your joints by jumping and falling on unsuitable floors. Tiles and concrete floors are a big no for your home studio. Don’t risk it. Your dance floor has a huge effect on your dancing. You can trip on a carpet and slip on tiles. If you have some parquet flooring, that’s the spot to choose if possible.
One solution is a good quality mat. Jade yoga mats are made of top-quality, environmentally-friendly rubber and provide grip and cushioning. Make sure to use a good quality mat to ensure you are taking care of your body. Make sure to keep your mat clean too. Our mat wash is brilliant for keeping nasty germs off the mat.
If you’re doing a lot of dancing at home on non-dance floors it mightn’t be a bad idea to invest in some knee pads. These will further reduce the damage of impact on your joints and keep you bouncing for longer. Make sure you’re wearing the right footwear too. There’s no teacher to check on you so you need to be careful to wear the right gear. If you need any new shoes you can get everything you need right here!
Dancing at home… at the barre
While you can 100% use the back of a chair or a wall as a barre, there’s nothing quite like placing your hand on a real-life barre to get your head in the game (dance-wise I mean). Our completely adjustable height, free-standing barres are perfect for use at dancing at home in your home studio because they pack away easily for storage. We’ve got both 1m and 2m single barres and 2m parallel barres available right now. We had a BIG demand for these during the lockdown so we have ordered a 1m version too. Some of us are working with smaller spaces and a 1m barre is much more manageable.
Freestanding barres are a brilliant solution for dance schools who may need to add a few extra barres to ensure social distancing and safe stretching in the studio.
Using this time dancing at home to strengthen and stretch is a wonderful opportunity. This should always be done with care, however. If you use an exercise band for strengthening, make sure you’re using the correct weight and not over-taxing your muscles. Make sure to follow instructions carefully and not over-do anything. We have some brilliant strengthening exercises here that you should try out.
The Turnboard is a classic at this stage but still as effective today as the day it was invented. Proper ballet turning requires focused spotting, a strong core, balance, and correct arm placement. The TurnBoard was designed to have very little friction, which allows dancers to concentrate on the individual components of turning, with the option of rising to relevé. The skills learned using the TurnBoard lead to better and increased turns and you can use it anywhere at all.
If you feel like working on your arabesque, why not try the Flexi-stretcher? It’s an amazing tool, developed for dancers, acrobats, gymnasts, cheerleaders and athletes. Just make sure you’re following the instructions carefully and warming up thoroughly beforehand to keep safe stretching!
If you want to stretch out those floppy feet you should try the Ballet Foot-stretcher. This is another tool designed especially for dancers to stretch out the forefoot and improve the point over time. It’s another item that needs to be used with care to get the desired results. If you follow the instructions carefully and don’t overuse the foot-stretcher it’s a safe and constructive tool.
Looking after tired and sore muscles is something all we dancers are well used to. If you’re dancing entirely at home you may not have access to the safe stretching tools you often borrow at the studio or from a physio. The Bunheads Muscle roller and Massage Ball are inexpensive items that might just be your new best friend. If you’re working from home you might find that you’re doing an awful lot of sitting. This massage ball is perfect for rolling out knots in the back and glutes. The Tech Dance footsie roller is an absolute peach to press back and forth under tired arches after a demanding pointe session.
Remember that it’s natural to lose a bit of dance fitness and flexibility over lockdown. You’re not doing your normal routine and it’s normal that you’ll have to work back up when you get back to the studio. That said, it’s 100% possible to get your cardio in and do some strength training to keep the fitness level up. If you’re doing dance classes or workouts online, make sure that you’re getting your content from a reputable source. Train like a Ballerina, the Balanced Ballerina, Yoga with Adrienne, Blogilates are all great and free resources on YouTube.
It’s hard to keep up the motivation when you’re dancing by yourself. Try putting on some dance music, there are lots of apps made specifically for this. It’s also not a bad idea to mix up your content. Don’t stick to the same ballet every day; do yoga one day and maybe try some tap to break up the routine and get some variation into your week.
Studies have shown that you activate the same part of the brain when you watch dance and when you actually dance! So grab the popcorn and settle in for an evening of dance. Lots of companies are releasing shows online for us to fill our time with, let’s support them!
If you’ve got any handy hints for creating a lovely dance area at home let us know. If you need any new shoes and gear check out danceworld.ie for all your dancewear needs (and wants). Happy (and safe) at home Dancing!