Dancing myself sane during Covid

By Struttin' Mod | Mar, 12th 2021

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Dancing helped me fall in love with myself and my body, which is a new feeling.

Like everyone else, when I went into lockdown a year ago, I didn’t realise how it would affect my life. I was looking forward to working from home, but I wasn’t excited about giving up my dance classes. I was even less excited about the virus itself, so I suppose it could have been worse. But, we’ve all had to adjust right? To this new way of living and it has been interesting, to say the least!

Before I continue, I just want to state that I’m only here to share my personal journey. I’m not an expert nor am I here to convince anybody that exercise is THE solution, because it’s not. Plus, we’ve seen enough of that over the course of the pandemic. I respect that, while it may work for one, it does absolutely doesn’t work for the other – and that is okay!

For me, it’s another way of falling in love with myself and my body, which I never was before. So, if you’re interested in how I kept up my fitness spirits during these lockdowns, feel free to keep reading. Spoiler alert: everything wasn’t always coming up, Milhouse.

Struttin Ireland
Dancing With Us During Covid
Working from home has been a positive boost for my mental health.

I didn’t have to face the terrible work situation I was in at the time. Plus I added more hours to my day without having to travel to/from the office. The fact that I could avoid facing strangers’ morning breath on the bus was nice a little extra. I used this extra time to keep myself in check by exercising to stay fit and strong. I’m also focussing on proper flexibility training – again.

Unfortunately, all these lockdowns paused my pole classes. Meaning that I can’t pole dance unless I am content with literally bringing the house down. And honestly, I would like my rental deposit back.

Instead, I’ve been using the leftover pole time for online classes and learning other dance styles. So far, I’ve learned twerk, dancehall, jazz, and commercial, apart from my usual hiphop and street dance. Am I good at any of them? Not really. But I’m proud of myself for learning/trying new things and hopefully hone my dancing skills.

Dancing keeps my mental health in check and I feel amazing after classes

Learning new dance styles has a positive effect on my brain. It teaches me to love HOW I dance rather than focusing on improvements or what I should look like. While the goal remains to develop my style further, it won’t work if I cannot appreciate what I have. So, love how you dance! FYI: these wise words have been brought to us by our amazing dancehall teacher Lucille.

Struttin Ireland
Learn To Twerk At Home
Dance made me get in touch with all these different sides of myself. The parts I’d lost or put away out of shame.

It became quite frustrating to hear people tell me what was “not for me” or “not my style”. But people cannot be put in boxes. We all have layers, like ogres, onions, and Cordelia Chase.

For instance, I never thought I would be able to twerk. My tiny Asian butt may have increased en masse ever so slightly when I started exercising, but I hardly create an Earth shattering quake when I twerk. Besides, it’s so much more than that: it is a great workout for your abs, hips, and legs. There’s many ways you can incorporating twerk into your exercise routine. In the warm-up, have a full on twerkout or just have fun shaking your booty to some old school Ginuwine.

Dancehall is a beautiful and fun dance style from Jamaica. And I’d been intrigued by it for a while before taking my first class. When watching Lucille Aires’ videos, I’m just in awe at how she moves and how the style looks. I may lack the curves and the culture but finding my style through dancehall has been nothing but positive. Jazz requires precision, technique, and elegance; none of which I possess naturally, but I try to adapt some of that into my existing moves. Emphasis on ‘try’ in that sentence.

However, there are times where dancing does not help my mental state.

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, my mood just doesn’t improve. The aftereffects can be quite detrimental as it undoes everything that I’ve built up. It’s because I get bothered by the lack of space and simply miss the social aspect that comes with a dance class. Even though I don’t have to fear my classmates getting a whiff of my sweaty ass.

Struttin Ireland
Dance yourself sane during lockdown

On those days I do whatever suits my mood. I veg out on the couch, watch The Thick Of It for the umpteenth time and stuff my face with chocolate. It also helps to lose myself into a book or graphic novel. Do something more creative like painting or designing.

While it seems like I’m always active, I am not. I don’t partake in the unhealthy lifestyle of continuous productivity that’s hyped up on social media. Productivity means doing what’s good for you, which makes the term subjective. It doesn’t mean you constantly have to be ‘on’ and produce continuous results. We’re not robots: we get tired and we need rest! Continuously forcing yourself to produce results is inhuman. Resting is productive as well.

The important thing is to take care of yourself. Whether you’re twerking up a storm, dancing in an online class or in your makeshift kitchen-slash-nightclub – do what feels good for YOU.

Get to know yourself and find out when you can push back or push forward.

And focus on your post-lockdown hopes and dreams, because this too shall pass! When I come out of this lockdown, I aim to be an ultra-flexible dancing queen. Ready to perform with JLo at her next world tour. But let’s hope lockdown will not take THAT long!

Until we can live our best IRL fantasies keep the tunes blaring and join us online every week.


Written by Indah from Suria Creative

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