By Devana Petrovic, Staff Writer
While we are all stuck at home, many artists have moved to online platforms as a means of communicating their art and doing their part to minimize our isolation-induced boredom. I decided to utilize this commodity and explore different genres of dance from the shoebox space of my own bedroom.
Harbour Dance Centre (HDC), a popular Vancouver studio for adult drop-in classes, has been continuing their dance instruction via Zoom as part of their HDC Live live-streamed classes. I figured, what better time to try out a class than during a global pandemic?
Having attended some in-person classes at HDC, my expectations were already pretty high as I’ve had consistently good in-person experiences with the studio. Nonetheless, I went in a little concerned about some of the potential difficulties of taking a dance class at home. Would I knock something over or kick someone as I tried to move around the limited space of my home?
After browsing HDC’s website for their live stream class schedule, instructor Lauren Maynard’s Sexy Street jazz class seemed like an easy decision. I had seen a little bit of Maynard’s class when visiting HDC on a different occasion and had always wanted to try out the seemingly upbeat and lively class. Maynard started the class on time, bringing her enthusiasm and vibrant attitude to the screen. For those on the shy side, the option of turning off your camera is available. However, if you feel comfortable, the video option allows for increased student-instructor communication.
As someone with some dance experience in ballet and contemporary styles, I took the advanced beginner-level even though this was my first time experimenting with this genre of dance. I found the difficulty level to be on par with the website’s description. However, HDC also offers absolute beginner and introductory classes for those who do not have any dance experience.
The lesson started with an upbeat warm-up of some body-loosening and grooving exercises, followed by some light stretching. Maynard impressed with boundless energy and an ability to engage with her students despite the limitations of virtual learning.
The rest of the class consisted of learning a choreography combination, which Maynard modified for attendees who may have less room at home. Although a virtual lesson naturally does not have the perks of attendees immediately communicating with their instructor, Maynard was careful to check in with us at many points throughout the lesson to ensure that everyone was on track and felt comfortable with the pace of the class.
The class was an hour long and cost me $10. It offered me a much needed break from the pandemic madness and provided me with an emotionally uplifting and positive hour of physical release. Being with other individuals in a high-spirited environment amidst the current global state of chaos proved to be therapeutic, and I felt more connected to myself and others — even through a computer screen.
If you’re feeling like you want to express yourself through movement, or if you’re just looking for a fun workout, I recommend Harbour Dance Centre for a feel-good and professional virtual dance class. If you’ve ever been too nervous or busy to try an in-person dance class, HDC’s live-streamed lessons are a great way to start. They offer a variety of courses, and more details can be found under the Schedule tab on their website — participants can also register on this tab. For a single HDC Live session, attendees must purchase a $10 single-use pass, or may opt for ten classes for $90.