Living Room Dance Party

Ariel Wills
MA NCSS 2021

I am interested in the unique qualities of this new online format for collective interaction. My family had a seder over zoom for Pesach, and we sang, asked the questions, and ate charoset together, opening doors for Elijah in Rhode Island, Oregon, and across Los Angeles. My mama is an independent art teacher who has found a large community of students across the nation who she now teaches performance and visual arts to online. Many of my favorite podcasts are exploring this shift in their broadcasts—99% Invisible, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, Code Switch, Death, Sex & Money, How to Survive the End of the World, On Being, Call your Girlfriend, and so many more.

I am a dancer. My ability to engage with the dance world and to take technique classes has always fluctuated based on where I live, what kind of technique or class is available and at what time, whether it fits around my work schedule, if I have a way to commute there, or time to commute there—these sorts of questions always begged for attention before I was able to make it to the dance class.

I have been particularly excited and grateful for the people coming together over social media and creating networks of connection for me to dance from my quarantine. A lifeline for me and many I know has been attending live-streamed dance classes over Zoom and Instagram Live.

Gaga dancers class with Bobbi Jene Smith. Photo by the author.

Many levels, ages, and bodies are welcome and present. The classes are so accessible. I have been able to take Gaga Dance classes (an Israeli contemporary dance form) live streamed from Tel Aviv and NYC almost on the daily. I took Bollywood work-out classes, complete with choreography, and participated in DJ D-Nice’s dance parties with over 100K people present, while Skyping to dance with my mom who’s in Oregon. I took a live-streamed power Vinyasa class from one of my favorite yoga instructors in Portland, OR, whose classes I used to be a regular at until I moved out East. What a joy to reconnect and partake in her class physically from a distance! I joined in on a local Rhode Island salsa class to reunite with the team I miss dancing with so much. There are classes taught by company dancers teaching from Paul Taylor, Limón, Martha Graham, NYCB and others. You can take dancehall, Afrobeat, ballet, salsa, and more.

These classes are all free. Many dancers and instructors have GoFundMe accounts for those who are able to donate.

Here are some of my go-to resources to find music, dance, and connection:
  1. For legendary DJ sets and live dance parties check out @dnice on Instagram Live. Regulars at Club Quarantine include Halle Berry, Michelle Obama, Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder, and Diddy.
  2. The IG page @dancing.alone.together accumulates lots of the classes going on daily, it's an invaluable resource to check out!
  3. Find Gaga classes @gaga.people.dancers. See Gaga dancers in action from quarantine.
  4. Fantastic Rhode Island Latin dance classes (salsa, bachata, and more) @ri_latin_dance
  5. Amazing Bollywood workout: @rameezkarimofficial

How are you interacting within the online community from your quarantine? I hope people will join in global movement with me. These communities are very welcoming and open for all human bodies who want to move or enjoy music! This is such a short list of great resources and I would love to learn of any more that you might find. Send them to us at v.1!