How to Learn Dancing Online?
Today online education is extremely popular. There is a plenty of single online YouTube videos and even sophisticated platforms designed to provide high quality education. Many of them are free and follows the philosophy of affordable and available education for everybody. Below we will investigate if it’s possible to learn dancing online? And if yes, then how?
The Types of Online Education Resources
The online education (also known as e-learning or distance learning) brings knowledge via the Internet. Internet as a channel of data transfer is widespread and easy, providing the key benefit of online learning – its availability. It’s possible to learn anywhere and anytime, no matter where you live. For example, if you live in Dubai and want to learn Cuban Salsa (or Casino), you can watch how it is danced in Cuba or Latin America – the origin countries of this style. So, it’s possible to choose the best options available on the market of e-learning, and it doesn’t matter if they are hosted in your country or not. Such approach rises a tough competition between providers of educational resources and pushes them to increase the quality of education.
Even though there is a strict definition of online education, many people have a rough idea what it is. Online education usually consists of the following items:
- Educational program that documents the educational process in details, has a list of prerequisites, schedule of lessons, tests, exams, grading information, etc.
- Online courses – the key element of the education. Each course is divided into chapters or topics, and can contain:
- Videos and other multimedia materials
- Schemes, images, photos
- Webinars (sometimes called online conference) – a way of real-time online communication between the teacher and students. Webinars allow to stream video from camera, share documents and desktop screen, use virtual blackboard, organize polls and discussions.
- Forum – method of written communication between all the members of a course. Usually it’s a way to post questions and help your coeds by providing answers.
- Chat – a well-known easy method for communicating with classmates and educational staff.
- Practice. It’s the weakness of online education. For example, if you study physics or chemistry, then you need access to lab where you can perform experiments. In online education you can work only with virtual environment. Sometimes you gain access to virtual labs that simulate the real ones and it feels like you really do the experiment. Rarely there’s a real lab with remote control that you can distantly use. Anyway, both approaches are very expensive and not widespread. Besides, for “exact” sciences it’s possible to imagine how to perform the practice, but for Arts (e.g. Fine Arts, Sculpture, Dancing) it’s a much more complicated task.
- Tests and Exams are probably the most important elements of e-learning. They check your knowledge and show how good you study. If you get pour marks, then you usually can’t continue the education and move to next chapter, until you properly learn the lesson and repeat the test with successful results. Some advanced courses may even have dynamic educational trajectories, i.e. you receive personalized adapted materials based on your score. It allows to focus on your weaknesses and improve better.
As you can see the online education has an all-around approach and tries to provide an adequate available alternative to standard education.
The Major Online Education Systems
While many people think that online education it’s the YouTube videos, we showed above that a true education is very complicated and involves much more than just watching videos.
There are special programs called Learning Management System (LMS) that help technically organize the online education. Some of them are free (e.g. Moodle), others are very expensive (e.g. Blackboard). But the most valuable thing is content. There’s a special type of online courses called MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Such courses are free and thousands of students can study on the same course at the same time. Among the free MOOC providers, the following are the most famous:
- EdX provides courses from the world's best universities including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, UT and others.
- Coursera an alternative to EdX, provides over 1000 courses from various schools, including Stanford and Yale.
- Khan Academy – a true non-profit organization for providing free online education.
Unfortunately, all of them currently don’t have any courses for dancing.
The Ideal Ballroom Dancing Online Education
Let’s think of ideal e-learning of dancing. Most of the technologies we will list below are already available on the market, still they are not integrated together to provide a high quality online education.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The VR technology is very popular today. It allows to enrich the user experience and receive more visual information. For ballroom dancing education, VR can help to examine every dance move from arbitrary angle and point of view. So, that you can’t miss any details and have a complete understanding of perfectly performed dance figures. Many world-wide brands (e.g. Google, Sony, Samsung, Zeiss), focus on this area and provide various devices, usually headsets or glasses. Most of them are quite cheap and cost less than 600 USD.
Augmented Reality (AR)
It’s a way to integrate virtual reality with real life environment. AR technology allows you to interact with real life objects and add some extra features. For example, AR can be used to provide comfortable navigation or precise interactive instructions. Watch some videos below that show how AR can work in the future.
Regarding ballroom dancing, AR can be used to get better dancing experience. It can make the educational process more interactive and add more fun. For example, it can allow to wear any dance dress you want without actually buying it. Or give you a feeling of dancing in a night club or dance studio without leaving your house.
Motion Detection System
The benefits of having a personal trainer is that he can always verify your moves and correct them if necessary. The motion detection system scans all your moves and checks if you do the dance figures right or wrong. Today such technologies are available on the market. Initially the user was obliged to wear a special costume (or suite) with sensors that helped to make the motion capture. Modern technologies changed a lot and you can wear any clothes you want. Usually a motion detection system consists of several laser or infrared scanners that capture your moves. Some newer technologies use standard optical cameras and computer vision to do the task. Probably the most famous one is Microsoft Kinect that analyses your moves quite well. It allows to play games without controllers, by moving your body. It’s a great opportunity for fitness applications and of course dancing. You can enjoy dancing and obtain a detailed analysis of your dance moves. Such report can help you to eliminate detected mistakes and sharpen your dance skills.
Complete Physical Feedback
Today most technologies lack physical feedback. It means you can’t feel the touch, temperature, texture of the virtual object that you touch. Some solutions provide special gloves that help partially pass the feelings to your hands. Wearing a full suite can provide such physical feedback to your whole body. For example, it can make you feel like you dance with a partner or dance instructor.
How to Learn Dancing Online Now?
So, what means do we have to learn dancing online now? As we mentioned before, the complete online education is not yet available for dancing. There are several conceptual factors that brings into question if it’s possible to learn dancing remotely. Dance lessons require lots of practice and interaction with your trainer that is missing if you learn online. It’s the same question like is it possible to learn neurosurgery online and become a good doctor? Or is it possible to become a master of martial arts in front of the computer without actual sparring and attending the gym? It’s a tricky question and the answer is rather “no”.
We believe that e-learning is a positive trend in education. It provides equal opportunities for people from various countries and has many benefits. But in case of ballroom dancing it’s not effective. Today if you want to learn dancing online, you can find some historical facts about dances, information about dance styles and performance videos on YouTube or Vimeo. Some videos have instructions and detailed explanations. However, they can be harmful. If you will blindly follow the videos and copy them, you may accidently do it wrong and your body will save it with the muscle memory. It can lead to serious mistakes that are difficult to fix even with dance instructor.
The videos have also some benefits, they can help you:
- to watch various dance styles and find the one that you like;
- to remember some dance moves that you already know;
- to find some new dance figures or arm styling that you want to learn;
- show you some vital moments you should focus on.
Educational Videos from Our Dance School
At “Dance For You” studio we prepared some educational videos related to Ballroom and Latin dances. The idea of these videos is to show you different dances and introduce the basic steps. Please, follow this link to enter the video gallery.
Classical Group and Private Dance Lessons
Undoubtedly, classical “face to face” education is still the most effective way to learn dancing. Taking dance lessons in a dance school has inestimable advantage over online learning. Both group and individual dance classes have their own benefits. Working with your professional dance teacher can help you to progress faster and learn all the dance moves properly. At our dance studio we offer a large range of dance courses that will satisfy all your dancing needs. We have adaptive schedule, flexible dance courses, professional team of dance teachers and choreographers. Besides, we have special dance courses for couples, kids and for wedding. Please, contact us to get more information.