This year has been challenging for everyone, and arts organizations are struggling. Danspace has been committed to continuing to pay our teachers and staff, and your support continues to make that possible.
If you’re able to, please consider making a contribution. You can contribute to Danspace directly or make a tax-deductible donation through our resident company, dNaga. Click here for contribution options and please contact us if you’d like to support our school at a different amount.
Thank you for all the ways you make Danspace so vibrant and special!
Dance Zooming in 2021
by Claudine Naganuma with Danspace faculty and staff
The first time I heard a recording of my voice, I was surprised that “I sound like that?” I was very critical of myself. The same thing happened when I watched a tape of myself dancing and as a young choreographer, I was critical of how I put dances together. With self-awareness can come the inner monologue of unworthiness. This inner dialogue doesn’t feel good. It makes me vulnerable and sensitive and it feels like shame is close to the surface. It takes a lot of discipline, courage and positive self-talk to coach my way back towards being on my purpose. Zoom is bringing up these same feelings of inadequacy, as I look at myself on screen “I look like that?” and compare myself to others in my class. It occurred to me that if I am having such a challenging time, despite being a professional in the dance field, that there may be others who are feeling the same way. This begs the question, “What can I do to set up the best possible chance of having a positive zoom dance experience?”
Here are a few strategies that some of our faculty and staff brainstormed to share with you:
The most important thing is to come to class. Whether your camera is on or off, whether you’re feeling tired or energized, just showing up to class takes courage, dedication and commitment. If you’re coming to class, you’re already doing a great job!
It’s ok to have a hard day
It can feel tough to watch yourself on screen – you can hide yourself if that makes it easier for you to dance.
If keeping your camera off helps you come to class, just chat to your teacher or class assistant (whoever you feel comfortable telling). Knowing when you’re having a bad day helps our teachers support you and offer encouragement.
Seeing the teacher and letting the teacher see you
One important part of zoom dancing is camera placement. Having your device on your desk at waist level will make it hard for the teacher to see all of you. If possible, place your device up high and angle down or place your device down low and angle up. One teacher has stacked some storage boxes on top of a small bookcase to get her device up high enough. Others have used a tripod. Whether you have equipment for your device or you create something out of objects at home, letting the teacher see as much of you as possible allows us to give you the best, most personal corrections, compliments, and suggestions as we can through zoom.
Another tip is to have warmups in contrasting colors so we can see you and you can stay warm dancing at home.
When your full body is visible, you can use the camera like it is the mirror in the studio. I can check out my alignment or watch the timing of my foot to the knee. That way it becomes a useful tool for you as a student too!
Pin the teacher or Gallery view
You might find different benefits from the different options.
Pinning the teacher: Depending on how I am feeling, sometimes it is just best to focus exclusively on the teacher and not be in gallery mode. That way I don’t get distracted by others practicing (and I don’t compare myself to my classmates as much).
Gallery view: When I miss dancing with others, sometimes staying in gallery view (if I am able to see the teacher) feels more like I’m dancing with others, even though I’m alone in my space. When I’m missing that sense of community and ensemble, I choose gallery view (though sometimes I have to still pin the teacher to see the combinations more clearly).
Setting up your dance space
Sometimes others in the household may not understand that it takes quiet concentration to train. If possible, having a quiet space that’s uninterrupted by other household members or pets is ideal. If your animals or other mammals in the house don’t make it easy for you to take class, you are not alone.
Make sure your barre is the right height. If a chair is too low or too high, maybe look around for other heavy, sturdy objects. One teacher has stacked up some plastic storage boxes full of costumes to make the right barre height. Add a box to make it taller or take one off to make it shorter – a customizable barre!
If possible, avoid moving furniture. It can be frustrating to have to rearrange your space every time you want to dance, and lifting heavy things might result in injury. If it’s possible to rethink your space to make it more “dance-ready” that might feel more energizing when it comes time to get ready for class.
Focus on what’s great, interesting, and creative about dancing at home
One teacher said, “Even though I’d rather be dancing at the studio, I always leave class feeling a little bit better. The ritual of putting on my dance clothes helps me feel ready for class.”
Not having a mirror is a challenge but also presents an opportunity. We have to listen to our own bodies and figure out how to apply corrections without a teacher coming to adjust us.
We are getting very skilled at spatial awareness – learning how to not run into our furniture or trip over our pets will make us all better at not running into each other when we can dance across the floor together again!
Creating a space that sets you up for a positive dance class experience can be challenging. I am very grateful that the technology is there to keep us moving. If you have more ideas on how to have successful zoom classes, please share what works for you!
Our virtual Nutcracker Project was a hit!
Our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone who supports our dancers – either at home or in spirit. We had such a wonderful time dancing, experimenting, and creating together.
Visit our website to make a contribution to our programming or email email@example.com if you would like to view the Nutcracker Project film.
Children’s & Youth Division
We are closed for Winter Break Monday, December 21, 2020 – Saturday, January 2, 2021.
Our fall semester goes until Saturday, January 30, 2021.
There is no break between the Fall & Spring semesters.
The Spring semester goes from February 1 – June 12, 2021.
Enrollment for the spring semester is open.
Our fall semester goes until January 29, 2021 and the spring semester begins right away on February 1.
The class schedule remains the same and classes will be held virtually on Zoom until we get word from the County that we can take steps to safely meet in person. Danspace is following health and safety updates from the County. At this time we know it is not safe to meet in person.
You can mail in a check to Danspace, 473 Hudson Street, Oakland 94618 or pay by credit card. Note that there is a 4% convenience fee for credit card payments. Click on the amount above to pay with a credit card.
The virtual class schedule will remain the same. You can view the class schedule here.
Series 3 starts Sunday, January 3!
The new year is a perfect time to start a dance class! We are offering Ballet Fundamentals for true beginners, Adult Composition, Cardio Hip Hop, and more. We have options for adults brand-new to dance as well as experienced advanced dancers.
If you have any questions about what might be the best class for you, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dancing on zoom is fun with friends! Please invite people you think might enjoy an at-home dance practice to participate with you (they can sign up by emailing email@example.com). New students can try their first class for $20 before deciding if they would like to enroll or continue at our regular drop-in rate.
While no one at Danspace ever imagined we would be dancing at home and taking classes online, we are so grateful to every single student who showed up for classes in 2020. Our faculty and staff thank you for your determination, your commitment, and your creativity during this time. You continue to inspire us every time we see you on screen.
Our plan is to start 2021 virtually and keep you updated about opportunities to return to the studio when those are more fully developed. We are watching the case numbers and listening to experiences in OUSD, at other dance studios, and public health guidance. As a small, family-owned studio, we are planning to move slowly and cautiously, prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.
We also plan to continue to offer virtual options once we are able to begin gathering, so if you feel more comfortable staying virtual, we’ll still have options for you.
As always, please reach out to us with questions.
Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and happy end of 2020,
The Danspace team