These 5 Dance Studios Are Offering Virtual Classes So You Can Stay Fit At Home
Get your groove on!
We have tried almost everything to stay in shape this year. We tried skipping ropes, building our home gyms, and even indoor cycling. But every once in a while, we crave something new. If you’re looking for a classic and fun way to sweat it out, dance studios in Metro Manila are offering virtual classes that you can attend via Zoom. OneLife.ph spoke to dance instructors Joni Galeste and Donna Shi about everything you need to know!
Donna, 24, started training when she was just three years old. She started teaching choreography in 2018 and is now a dance fitness instructor at Manila’s first boutique dance fitness studio, 808Studio.
“Because of my training in various dance disciplines -- hip-hop, ballet, jazz, to name a few -- I am able to teach different types of dance and adapt to what my clients look for,” Donna shares. “I usually gravitate towards jazz funk or hip-hop but I also teach dance covers to songs of iconic artists and K-Pop groups which also have their own styles.”
As for 31-year-old Joni, ballet is more her cup of tea. She began teaching baby ballet classes at the age of 15, but only started training higher-level students when she was already dancing with the Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT). “It takes a lot of experience to become a teacher. I didn’t feel equipped with the right knowledge to be teaching older girls until I started doing lead roles with PBT.”
Today, Joni is an instructor at Galaw Co Dance Theater and Elan Ballet & Pilates Studio.
Why you should start dancing
Aside from being a fun workout, dancing can also improve your mental and emotional well-being.
“You will need a lot of muscle control which comes with a lot of patience and determination. One 45-minute dance cardio class can burn around 500-700 calories, so I would pick a workout that doesn’t feel like [it and] one [that] I know I’ll feel happy [about] and accomplished,” says Donna.
Ballet, on the other hand, can prevent injuries because according to Joni, the “spine is properly stacked and the knees are aligned. The proper pelvic alignment works wonders, especially for people who have to sit at their desks for hours at a time for work.”
Dancing also helps your body release endorphins, which improves your mood throughout the day. “The dancing and memorization of combinations also helps take you away for a little bit. Since everyone’s been feeling ‘stuck’ due to the pandemic, an hour and a half of working and building skills, improving your memory, and expression through dance is [a] great break from the mundane,” Joni says.
Dance classes in the new normal
Since we all need to abide to health and safety protocols, in-studio classes are postponed indefinitely. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get in shape while staying safe! Dance studios have implemented online classes, held via Zoom, where students from anywhere in the world can enroll and learn.
“Just before ECQ was declared in March 2020, 808Studio actually held live studio classes for a week,” Donna shares. “I think the main difference between our live classes and the ones we do online would be the overall energy and atmosphere. Nothing really beats the feeling of being under the lights, hearing the live beats being played by our awesome DJs, bouncing on the sprung floor, and just seeing, hearing, and feeling people come together and just jam out to their favorite songs.”
Now, their “studio” is located in their living rooms. “I still do try to replicate those vibes by setting up my own dance space in my home complete with the flashing lights, and also through encouraging our 808ers to show love through the chat and if they want, they turn on their cameras through the whole class.”
For ballet students and instructors, their major restriction is space. Joni says, “The studio was large enough for students to practice combinations and turn exercises that required them dance across the room. If the room is tiny, I can either only see their upper body or just their legs. It’s been a lot of adjusting for all of us so I can see everything in order to correct them.”
Even though virtual classes require a lot of adjustments, they have opened doors for several aspiring dancers.
“The best thing about teaching via Zoom is that old students listen better, they have better spacial awareness and there’s so much more care that goes into the dancing,” Joni shares. “Because of Zoom, those who have always wanted to try dancing but never had the time to, get to do it now. No more waiting in traffic!”
Advice for beginners
Joni and Donna usually hear statements like, “I don’t dance,” “I’m not flexible enough,” or “I’m too old” from their first-time students. But they have one thing to say: anyone can dance.
“No one is too old! My oldest beginner ballet student is in her 60s and she’s gained so much strength and flexibility over the past year!” Joni says.
If you want to start your dance fitness journey, Donna suggests throwing your doubts out the window and just dance like no one’s watching.
“I would suggest not only to invest time in the dance style you want to be great at, but to switch it up every now and then, because you might learn a thing or two. Each dance discipline has its own language and can focus on moving certain body parts more,” she says.
Where to enroll
These virtual studios are offering virtual classes. Check them out and sign up!
- Galaw Co Dance Theater
- Elan Ballet & Pilates Studio
- Dance Plus Philippines
- Bedroom Ballet