Groove is in the Heart: How to Dance Your Way Through the Quarantine

By Zara Abdelrahman

Corona! The world pandemic! It is worrying us all. Yet we all know what we need to do to combat it: STAY INSIDE. Despite it sounding easy, it is not. 

Isn’t it ironic? The moment you are told you cannot go out, sitting in front of the TV all day seems impossible. You start to get restless, you feel trapped, your mood drops and let’s not mention how annoying all those family members you are trapped in with suddenly become. 

The Perfect Solution – DANCE 

But hey, why not see this as an opportunity, a chance to try something new?  My suggestion: dance!  Yes, it may sound like I am going crazy (maybe I am – I’ve been locked in the house several days) but hear me out.

I am going to list six benefits of dancing at home and point you in the direction of some great free online resources to get you dancing your way through Corona.

1) It is easy to do at home  

All you need to start learning to dance is your body, and some music. It is as simple as that. No gadgets or high-cost equipment are needed and regardless of how small your living space, push back the couch and you have enough room for a boogie. 

With YouTube being full of instructional dance videos (my favourites are listed below) your home has now become a studio.  

2) It keeps your immune system healthy  

Yes, it’s true! Trust me, now more than ever, you need a strong, healthy immune system and sitting around all day is not going to help that. Research has shown that moderate to vigorous exercise like dance, reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Just in case you did not know, Corona is a respiratory virus – get dancing fast!!

3) It keeps you happy  

If you are anything like me, then the paranoia of Corona, and the worry about loved ones is all too real. That teamed with not going out, and you can easily find yourself having to be concerned about your mental health too! However, this need not be the case if you get up and have a dance.  

Studies have shown that dancing, more so than other forms of exercise, fights depression by increasing your serotonin and endorphin levels, your happy hormones, and decreasing cortisol levels, your stress hormones.

4) It can stop you gaining weight  

It is undeniable, not going out can easily lead to unwanted fat gain. It is all too easy to sit around and then reach for the fridge when bored. Get dancing! It is the perfect form of cardio exercise, which does not even feel like exercise! A full, intense, 30 minutes dancing to the songs you love and you can easily burn 400-600 calories!  

5) It is fun for the whole family 

Dance is great for anyone of any age; from your mum, your brother, to the kids, get them up and moving along. Being locked in the house with children can be particularly hard. Children need mental and physical stimulation. Get them to learn a dance choreography online. It will keep them entertained, and it will get them active (so they are more likely to sleep at night). Then, they can perform it with -or- for you at the end for some fun, family bonding!  

6) It will give you some new skills to show off at all the parties to come

Using instructional videos online you can learn any dance form you want. Learning a new skill is always great but this has an added benefit! Once this lockdown period passes, there are going to be plenty of excuses to party. You will not just be celebrating. You will be catching up with all those postponed weddings and all your favourite clubs will be open again. Start learning now and you will have all the best moves to party to the max!

Ready to dance? Here are my top three, online resources for learning to dance at home: 

1) Belly-danceYalla Nor2os with Zara 

What better dance to start with than that which is truly Egyptian? Zara takes you step-by-step from the very basics of belly-dance to the advanced. This series is great for getting to know, and love your body. It really concentrates on the details of body control and isolation. It is also perfect for any age as it is a low impact, not hurting the knees or joints. The classes are taught in Arabic (her Arabic will also have you laughing) and have English Subtitles. Have a go at learning the moves, then put on your favourite songs and try to apply them. You can check out the Zara Dance channel here.  

2) Hip Hop and Dance Workouts: POPSUGAR  

This is an American based YouTube channel jam-packed with literally thousands of dance-based workouts; great for burning calories and learning some up to date hip hop, Afrobeat and dance hall moves. They have some of the industry’s top instructors who all have a can-do attitude to lift your spirits. Each video has options for those who are beginners and those who are advanced and range from 15-minute to 1-hour workouts. Nearly every workout includes a section on squats, so not only will you get great moves but you will have the glutes (gluteus maximus muscles) to go with them!  Check out the channel here 

3) Ballroom and Latin Dancing: Passion4dancing 

Why not learn Ballroom or Latin dancing? Passion4dancing is a great channel for learning Ballroom and Latin dances: be it by yourself or with a partner (a great activity to do with your husband or wife whilst locked in). This website has a great selection of videos but they also stream live classes for free! These are even better, because participating live with 100s of other people can make you feel less alone during this lockdown time and bring in a sense of community which we all need right now. There are many regular salsa and bachata nights in Egypt, so once this Corona episode is over, you can carry on your new found hobby by attending these classes and great nights out, in the flesh, to re-socialise. Check out the channel here 

Final note 

I hope you have enjoyed my article and found something to inspire. On a serious note, please stay safe during this time and please STAY AT HOME as much as possible to stop the virus spread, if not for your own safety then for the safety of others who may be more vulnerable than yourself.  

Stay Happy, Dance and I will see you at the after-parties! 

About the Author: Zara Abdelrahman is a famous dancer who also has a PhD in Attosecond Laser Physics! Her interests, of course, include dance and science but also extend to female empowerment, writing, swimming and helping the environment one piece of plastic at a time.  

WE SAID THIS: Lets’s dance!

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