A bit of a stretch: 8 online dance workouts you can do at home

From ballet to belly dancing and Bollywood, here are some fun ways to get moving

Irish dancer from the Moulin Rouge, Isabelle, practices in the street next to her home in Paris on April 14, 2020, on the 29th day of a strict lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE
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Even if you have two left feet, there’s nothing like dancing around the house to get the body moving and the endorphins buzzing.

Dance workouts remove all the restrictions of traditional exercise routines, you don’t need any equipment or props, and you'll have an excuse to turn the music up full blast. It’s a sure-fire way of bringing some joy into your day. And, in the privacy of your living room, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous you look as you try to master those Afrobeat moves.

As people around the world continue to self-isolate, dance studios and instructors have taken to sharing lessons and tips online, via livestreamed classes, YouTube tutorials and Zoom sessions. Here are eight to try.

Family fun with Bodytree Studio

Abu Dhabi’s Bodytree Studio offers a range of movement-based classes, as well as dance lessons for little ones in partnership with the Emirates School of Dance Classes. Many of these classes are now available via the studio’s newly launched Bodytree Online channel, and can be booked up to an hour before the class starts.

We dance and move and meditate together in our living rooms, our gardens, our bedrooms, surrounded by cats, dogs, parents, and siblings

“We dance and move and meditate together in our living rooms, our gardens, our bedrooms, surrounded by cats, dogs, parents, and siblings. No matter the background, it’s just incredibly soothing and grounding to see other families through the screen, moving, sharing, letting everything go for a minute to drop into the present moment and dance, move or meditate,” says Bodytree’s head of dance, Lise Whitfield.

Get the children involved and try a family hip-hop class, with instructor Nader, who has worked with famous artists such as Rita Ora, Beyonce and Pink. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break from being a teacher (and maybe disciplinarian) and just have some fun together.

Prices for single dance classes start from Dh30 for 30 minutes; packages also available; www.bodytreestudio.com

Master the classics

One of Dubai’s most established dance schools, Sharmila Dance Centre is making sure its students can keep up their practice by offering regular classes via Zoom. “We have been preparing classes since the middle of March and sending the links to our students, who could then watch and train from YouTube.

"This method, however, wasn't really allowing us to have the interaction with our students and the energy that a dance class generally has. So we started Zoom online classes on Saturday, April 11,” explains founder Sharmila Kamte.

The schedule includes hip-hop, commercial and lyrical dance, and ballet classes for people of all ages and levels, as well as heels, a style made popular by choreographer and teacher Yanis Marshall that is commercial in style but danced in heels.

Dh55 for a single class; packages also available. For more info, email info@sharmiladance.com or call 0508581084; www.sharmiladance.com

Spice things up 

Fitness First is running a regular roster of at least six free online fitness classes a day, streamed live on Instagram @fitnessfirstme. The schedule features a number of dance-led workouts, including Afrodance and the intriguingly dubbed Bollywood Party. A weekly schedule is posted on the company's website uae.fitnessfirstme.com

Get popping with Supersteps Academy

If you’re keen to get waacking, threading, popping or locking (or, indeed, would just like to know what any of those things mean), head to Supersteps Academy. Founded by the multi-time street-dance champion SuperMalcom, Supersteps offers live classes and access to replays, as well as helpful tutorials and mentoring across a range of urban dance styles.

Unlimited access for GBP12 (Dh55) per month, or pay as you go for individual lessons; www.superstepsacademy.com

Belly dance with Leila Isaac

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand (or midsection) at belly dance, now is the ideal time. Leila Isaac, a teacher at the famed Pineapple Dance Studios in London, has launched four-week online courses, taught every Sunday via Zoom. If you’re not ready to commit to a full course, check out Isaac’s various workouts and classes on her dedicated YouTube channel.

GBP50 for the four-week course; www.leilahbellydancer.com

Learn from the best

Whether you’re a beginner who’s just starting out or an advanced dancer looking for in-depth training, Steezy offers lessons in a range of dance styles, including dancehall, B Boy, krump, house and jazz funk. Classes are conducted by sought-after choreographers, and taught via custom-created videos that allow you to switch views, so you can see your instructor from multiple angles, loop back to a certain move, slow down the speed, or watch yourself dancing on the screen alongside the instructor so you can compare techniques.

Plans are priced at $19.99 (Dh74) per month or $99.99 per year, with a free seven-day trial; www.steezy.co

AI-powered ballet lessons

Ballet dancer Seong Woo Ryu and Mokrin Choi from South Korea performs in the Classical Seniors (18-21) division during the 9th Annual Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition at the Symphony Space in New York on March 19, 2019. The 9th annual competition features  dancers from around the world competing for monetary prizes, scholarships and company contracts. It runs from March 19/22 with awards March 23, 2019. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

If you are serious about getting your ballet skills on point, head to 1-on-1 Ballet, which offers AI-augmented multi-level online ballet master classes. Ballet exercises are taught using movement combinations performed by world-renowned ballet stars. Ballet packages consists of about 20 different exercises and last between 45 and 50 minutes. Most importantly, AI technology records your movements, taking into consideration things like speed, angles and angular velocity, and compares it to an AI ballet teacher executing the same moves. It will provide feedback and recommendations for correcting your mistakes and improving technique.

Pricing on request; ballet.1on1.studio

Your all-in-one resource

Learntodance.com offers a vast array of free dance classes, teaching everything from tap dance and salsa to breakdancing and Irish step dancing, country and western and Argentine tango, via a series of easy-to-follow Youtube videos. There are also premium dance courses, offering online streaming and downloads for those who want to fast track their way to the dance floor.