Full disclaimer: I used to spend five to nine hours a week in a dance studio switching from ballet, pointe, and modern to jazz, tap, and contemporary. But even with this background, I have never felt more confident in my dancing skills than when I prance around my room in pajamas blaring my favorite tunes and pretending that the walls in Freeman are not paper thin. These spontaneous bursts of energy (whether out of pure exhaustion or sheer desperation to laugh at the absurdity of going to college during a pandemic) have become a daily routine for me this semester.
From the health benefits to just simply having fun, dancing around your dorm room like no one is watching is probably one of the best ways to deal with rising Covid paranoia, finals stress, and anxiety about returning home for an extended Winter break.
- A dance a day keeps the doctor away, right?
Dancing for even a short amount of time each day can result in positive physical and mental effects, from lowering your risk of heart disease to reducing stress. Of course, you could sign up for (virtual) dance classes, but I urge you to take a few minutes for yourself each day, tune on your favorite song, and just move. Don’t think about what you look like, or whether you are following the beat or any type of choreography. The addition of music while dancing can also increase your levels of happiness, which we all need a little bit more of during this time. However, this is NOT to say you can replace wearing your mask and socially distancing with just dancing. Rather, all three will keep you safe and improve your overall well-being during a pandemic.
- Why plank when you can spin like a ballerina?
There are so many techniques and traditions of dance out there, and I urge you to take a dance class while at Conn if you are interested in learning a new form or have never danced before. On the other hand, the best part about dancing around your room or house is that there are no rules and you can just let go. I took ballet classes for thirteen years of my life, but I typically let this technique go and instead let the music inspire me. Of course, sometimes a kick or spin may appear in my routine, but I prefer improvising my way through a few songs.
- Ridges and Winches (circa 2019) who?
Obviously, going-out culture looks a little different this semester, in that: it doesn’t really exist. Of course, I danced at the outdoor MOBROC concerts this semester but these were only a few select Saturdays while in a normal year the apartments across campus were known to throw…dinner parties…every weekend. That being said, I find ending my week by blasting ABBA or Queen creates a sense of nostalgia for these gatherings while staying safe. Pop on your mask, gather a few friends, bring a speaker, and prance around Tempel green for some much-needed ~socialization.
- Self-care, is that you?
Last but not least, moving your body in any way that feels comfortable is a form of self-care. Whether you choose to blare music in the shower, your room, or through your headphones while you work (five-minute dance breaks never hurt anyone), moving your body is key to manage stress. I also find that taking these dance breaks help to reinvigorate me after hours of staring at my laptop screen. I still enjoy a more structured workout such as pilates, but sometimes I need something a little more freeing and fun. Why stay within the confines of your yoga mat when you can roll around, jump up and down, and twirl around to your heart’s content?
So, scroll through your liked songs on Spotify, pick your favorite tunes, put on something comfy, and get moving!