8 Reasons the World Really Needs Dance Right Now

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Social distancing is hard. But social disDancing is more bearable. Here are eight reasons why we all need more dance in our lives during this disorienting time.


It relieves stress.

Feeling overwhelmed by the news, virtual math class, or just the thought of another day inside? There's nothing like a good dance session—maybe with Tiler Peck—to clear your head.

It connects us to others.

The proliferation of virtual dance parties right now isn't a coincidence. We're all craving personal interaction, and few things facilitate that as well as dancing "alongside" others.

It gets us off the couch.

No, Netflix, I'm not still watching—Zoom dance class starts in 5!

It helps us understand what "six feet apart" really looks like.

We'd collectively be much better at following social distancing guidelines if everyone took a dance class or two. Seriously: Nobody has better spatial awareness than dancers.

It emphasizes the power of ritual.

Maintaining a routine can help create a sense of normalcy during these strange times. And dancers get that: We don't feel right unless we spend some quality time at the barre (er, kitchen counter) every day.

It gives us a creative outlet.

Our screen-numbed quarantine brains desperately need new stimuli. And what's more stimulating than learning a new routine, or choreographing a new dance?

It reminds us of the importance of our bodies—and taking care of them.

Dance grounds us in our physical selves, which have never felt more precious.

It's beautiful.

And in this unsettling time, we all need more beauty in our lives.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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