Dancers leap through challenges

Although distance learning has made it hard to learn dance, it doesn’t stop the dancers from learning. “I feel like I’m constantly learning, no matter what it is, and this year I have learned a lot of new things as well,” said sophomore Alice Finkelstein.

Alice Finkelstein

Although distance learning has made it hard to learn dance, it doesn’t stop the dancers from learning. “I feel like I’m constantly learning, no matter what it is, and this year I have learned a lot of new things as well,” said sophomore Alice Finkelstein.

Dance classes are adapting their lessons to distance learning, similar to physical education (PE) and weight training classes. 

Because teachers have a hard time teaching dance through Zoom, they use the internet to teach their students. They use YouTube for warmups and to find songs to make choreography with. Carlmont’s beginner dance classes also use videos from STEEZY.

When it comes to assignments, in beginner dance classes, students typically have to submit a video on Flipgrid. However, sophomore Jasmine Yu found it challenging to record herself dancing.

“Our full body has to be in the frame, and we have to have enough space,” Yu said. “It can be hard when you’re filming on your phone because you have to set up your screen so that you see everything you need to.”

Another struggle that dance students face is teaching the class choreography. According to sophomore Alexandrea Li, choreography can be challenging to learn online. 

“The Zoom video is mirrored, so you have to mirror the dancer. If the dancer has her right arm up, we see it as her left arm, and some people get a little bit confused about it,” said Li, who takes the intermediate dance class. 

According to some dance students, the teachers are easy-going graders because they know that there are many struggles in having dance classes at home. Some struggles include technology issues, space, and flooring material. 

“A lot of students in dance…don’t have a lot of space,” Li said. “And some people only have carpet floors. And if the choreography consists of leaps, jumps, and turns, it’s really difficult.”

Distance learning dance classes can be less motivating than having in-person dance classes, according to Alice Finkelstein, a sophomore who takes the advanced dance class.

“I missed the feeling of dancing together with them,” Finkelstein said. “Feeding off of each other’s energy … when everyone’s dancing together … creates a whole new feeling.”

Having prior dance experience gives students an upper hand during distance learning.  

“I don’t have any experience in dancing, so I can find it pretty difficult to … memorize things and also do them correctly,“ Yu said. 

Even the dance teachers are having a hard time during distance learning. One struggle that they face is technology issues. 

“I’m not the most technologically savvy person, and I have had a lot of frustrations around creating things on the computer,” said Lauren Reibstein, a Carlmont dance teacher. “The students have been very helpful when I have questions. It’s been nice to have them on my side.”

Compared to last year’s dance class, students focused more on individual dances rather than preparing for performances; due to the pandemic, in-person performances are not possible as of right now. 

Instead of preparing for the homecoming performance, students are currently prepping for their virtual Zoom dance performance. 

“It’s going to be similar to [the choir’s Halloween concert], and we will get as many students … on the screen at the same time. We may feature a couple of students,” Reibstein said. “We will try to create something that’s enjoyable and shows off their talents…within the realm of Zoom.”

Although having dance classes during distance learning is challenging, Finkelstein was glad that they could continue dance class and accommodate despite the situation. 

“[In] dance, you get up, and you get moving. It kind of brings a positive light, and it’s a positive time of the day,” Finkelstein said. 

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