How to become a better dancer without going to classes.

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Ever since being in my early adolescence, I’ve always envied the glossy magazine images of girls in their branded dance attire attending the very top city dance schools and studios. I was, and still am, convinced that, unless I frequented, or frequent, institutions like Pineapple dance studios, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), or City Academy, I was never going to reach my full potential. To an extent this is pretty accurate. With the dance coaching that you’ll be sure to receive in these top studios being unrivalled, the country’s crème de la crème, there’s no doubt that regular sessions would polish your technique to a tee.

And yet, who is to say that you can’t get access to a similar level of expert training, of guidance, from the very screen that I’m, that you’re, gazing at right now? Ever since I’ve came home from university, I’ve contemplated going back to the dance school that I grew up in. I’m not entirely bothered by the idea of training alongside 16-year-olds at the age of 22. I love the feeling of community that dance classes always seem to have, moving, expressing, in sync. And yet, it’d be empowering to have the freedom to grow and progress outside the confines of a class of adolescents. I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot of you out there in the same boat. I mean, what happens to the masses of dancers, the 98% of bun-heads, that don’t become professionals? You don’t outgrow happy feet.

As is the walk of many in life, you enter the working world, and turn your back a little on the activities of your childhood that gave you so much joy. All of a sudden, they seem trivial. After slaving at a desk in an office from 9-5, it can feel like a great deal of effort to locate and get to an adult dance class, especially if you live/work in a pretty rural area like myself.

Thankfully, in the age of the internet, we have a fair few options on our hands. No longer do we need to reach for a standard VHS or DVD fitness routine, the choreographic/dance technique content online is limitless. 1MILLION Dance studios is one company that has fixed the vast phenomenon of avid dancers in isolation. It defines itself as bringing forth Dance that felt far too distant for us. Dance culture that seemed reserved for people who were different to us. 1MILLION DANCE STUDIO will transform dance into a wonderful experience that you can enjoy. And so it does. With a vast range of beginner – advanced commercial/hip-hop choreographies to choose from, you’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a routine to master. There’s also many other channels that present Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary choreographies, if grooving to R&B really isn’t your thing.

Stuck for stretches? PsycheTruth’s Youtube channel has them covered.

And did I mention the large quantities of blogs that are dishing out free professional dance tips? The City Academy, Dance Magazine and Dance Spirit sites impart a great deal of beneficial dance knowledge, to name just a few.

So, if any fellow dancers out there are disheartened at not being able to spot a decent tap class within close proximity to the office or flat, never fear. You can keep practicing those pirouettes and chasse’s wherever you may be.

Trust me, you’re not alone in it.

Take Karen X. Cheng, the internet dance sensation that took her skill from 0 to 100 over the course of 365 days.

Through dedicating herself to imitating the moves that she saw in expert online dance videos each and every day, she was able to reach unimaginable levels in such an incredibly short stretch of time. It’s such an incredibly cliché phrase, but consistent, focused practice really does make perfect. Arguably, the main challenge that you’ll face, is avoiding becoming disheartened and sustaining motivation.

I remember how, at the age of 14, I committed myself to learning the splits and perfecting my ballet moves and routines over the course of the summer. At the time my parents owned a B&B and so, to have an appropriate studio space, every morning, I would push to the side the chairs and tables in the dining room and discipline myself to follow a dance timetable I’d created for myself each day. First, I would stretch, then I would work on some exercises, and then I’d go over a couple choreography’s or develop new ones. With guests walking past and occasionally peering in, and my siblings’ racket often overpowering the melodies coming from my CD player, there were a fair few factors that could have made me negatively believe that I was never going to improve as much as I wanted.

All of the most successful individuals know the importance of environment in shaping success. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t feel like you have to wait for your situation to change, for you to grow, for you to change.

So there, both literally and figuratively, start where you are.

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