Thinking of taking online dance classes, but not sure whether you are going to get your money’s worth from them or if you will actually learn anything from them?
Virtual dance classes are worth taking for two main reasons; the first is if you are unable to get to an in-person class and the second is your ability to learn from teachers you may never have been able to take a class with otherwise.
I am not going to lie, the learning you can gain in-person from a great teacher will never be beaten by a virtual class. But what if you can’t get to a great teacher because of where you live or what if weekly dance classes are not within your budget? Well that’s when virtural dance lessons can shine and in this article, we will explore whether doing and paying for Virtual or online Dance Classes is Really Worth It?
What are Virtual Dance Lessons?
Virtual dance lessons are classes that you view online via your computer or a device where you can stream and watch lessons. You are then able to do the class from the comfort of your own home or from anywhere you can get internet reception.
Are all Virtual Lessons the same?
NO! Not all virtual lessons are the same. The main difference being that some virtual lessons are pre-recorded which means you can stop, pause and go back to repeat difficult steps over and over and learn at your own pace. You can also do online lessons in real-time, meaning that your teacher is on the other end of the screen at the same time as you and they can give you feedback throughout the class.
The first main difference between these types of lessons is the price. Prerecorded lessons usually come on a monthly subscription where you stream and download a variety of different lessons depending on your level and what you feel like learning. Real-time lessons are generally charged per lesson or per hour. You need to attend the lesson at a certain time just like an in-person class, only your teacher is at their home or studio and you are in your home connecting digitally.
I would always opt to do in-person lessons over real-time online lessons if you can as they are going to cost you the same amount of money, but when in person you are going to get far better feedback to apply to your dancing compared with doing the same lesson online. For more information about the pros and cons of real-time lessons you should read my article Should you Enroll your Child in Online Virtual Dance Lessons? as the rest of this article focuses on whether pre-recorded virtual dance lessons and programs are worth it!
The Benefits of doing online Pre-recorded Virtual Dance Lessons
Did you know that before 2020 there were several different dance websites that offered memberships that unlocked a library of hundreds of different dance classes, in different styles, at various levels and with some of the leading teachers in the industry! Learning dance online has been around for quite a while, and there are many quality programs out there that offer top training and so if they have been around for a while, people obviously have seen some benefit in them even before the pandemic hit!
If you are able to watch and rewatch as do as many different classes as you could possibly for a monthly or yearly fee, than the cost benefit of learning from pre-recorded virtual classes will save you far more money than if you were to do this in real time or in-person. These programs make learning dance budget friendly compared to their in studio alternatives!
2. Anytime, Anywhere
One of the biggest advantages of online pre-recorded dance classes is that you can do them anytime that suits you and anywhere you want. You can take class at the beach, at a friends house, at midnight or first thing in the morning. As long as you have a device you are able to stream to and an internet connection you can learn to dance.
3. Access to the best teachers and professionals
Many of the websites who offer virtual online dance lessons, want to entice you to join and buy there programs and they do this by making sure they have the best teachers available to you. Some offer separate camps or intensives with special guest teachers who are usually well known professionals that you would never get a chance to take class with otherwise!
4. Go at your own pace
The great thing about pre-recorded lessons is that you can pause them, rewind and go over and over certain movements and steps until you learn them. This is something you don’t even get to do in an in-person class, and is therefore the most unique benefit pre-recorded virtual dance classes offer. You can slow down the video, skip to different parts and are able to keep coming back to them over and over until you have the lesson down pact, or for the fact that it is your favourite.
5. Social Media Groups
One of the great things about technology today is the way it allows us to connect in new and ingenious ways. Social media groups are one way to still get the social and community aspect from your pre-recorded dance classes that can be sorely missed learning and dancing from home. You can form groups and post videos of your progress or your take on the choreography in a lesson. You can chat and talk about dance or give each other feedback and tips.
6. Free from judgement
Virtual dance classes are great for introverts or for anyone that just doesn’t feel they have the confidence to dance in front of others or are worried they won’t be able to keep up in real class. Doing classes online by yourself means there is no one but you around to judge you or make you feel uncomfortable!
The Disadvantages of doing online Pre-recorded Virtual Dance Lessons
1. Free from judgement
I am going to start with the last benefit being the first disadvantage in this list because one of the biggest disadvantages to doing virtual dance lessons is that you are not going to get any feedback. You might be trying your hardest to master choreography or a technique, but be getting nowhere because you don’t have anyone watching you to tell you what you need to improve on or what you need to do to get the steps right.
2. No community motivation
In a studio setting your teacher is there not only to correct you but also to encourage and motivate you. Your fellow dancers are also there to cheer you on, as well as motivate you to do better as you aim to not just become the best dancer you can be but to be the best dancer in the room. This aspect of dance class cannot be recreated when learning by yourself at home with a screen.
3. Your dance space
Doing dance lessons online means that you will probably be doing them at home, and lounge rooms and bedrooms are not set up or made for dancing in and on. A dance studio has mirrors, barres, sprung dance flooring and a large space – all the things that make learning dance so much easier than trying to not knock your knee on the end of your bed or get carpet burn on your knee.
4. Limited Performance Opportunities
When you do lessons in-person at a studio or school, you will generally do them with the aim to create a piece of choreography to perform live in front of others. It is true as I have written above that you can record yourself and post to social media, but there is nothing like performing infront of others, whether that being on stage or at the end of the class and hearing the applause of an audience.
Although it’s great that virtual dance lessons can be done anywhere and at any time, it also makes it easier to say – I’ll do a lesson tomorrow, or the next day, or next week or even next month. Unlike real-time lessons, you aren’t accountable to anyone when learning through pre-recorded lessons and for some people, this can mean that they aren’t taking the lessons even though they are paying for them.
So will you be signing up to online dance lessons?
For me as an experienced dancer, one of the reasons I consider signing up for virtual dance lessons is for the opportunity to take classes from people I would never ordinarily be able to learn from, for others classes are a financial burden. There are distinct advantages to taking online and virtual dance lessons, but I will always state that at the end of the day, nothing beats being able to take classes in person – but when that’s not an option – why not give virtual dance classes a try?