The Rockettes Are Teaching Free Virtual Dance Classes This Holiday Season
If you've ever wanted to channel your inner Rockette, now's your chance. Shortly after their annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular was canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Rockettes decided to offer free virtual dance classes on their Instagram page to spread some holiday cheer.
"With everything going on in the world right now, it became apparent that we needed to throw a little holiday spirit into the social media world," Rockette Danelle Morgan tells Shape. "It's been so rewarding that, despite not having the Christmas show this year, we've been able to bring some holiday cheer and joy to our fans."
The classes are hosted on the Rockettes' Instagram Live every Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET and will run through December 23rd. They tend to be between 50 and 60 minutes long — and you'll want to stick around for fun Q&A sessions at the end of each class. (Related: How to Do a French Twist Hairstyle Worthy of the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular)
If you head over to the Rockettes' Instagram page, you'll find an array of their IG Live classes posted on their main feed that you can follow along with at your leisure. "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers", for instance, led by Rockette Melinda Moeller, is very beginner-friendly, especially if you're totally new to dancing, says Morgan. Other classes, such as Morgan's "Christmas Dreams", are a little more advanced in terms of technicality and dance experience, she explains. (Related: Exactly What It Takes to Become One of the Radio City Rockettes)
That being said, since the IG Lives are saved on the Rockettes' main channel, you can always revisit them and modify the movements based on your needs and dance experience, says Morgan. "If the kick seems too high for you, bring it down to your own level," she suggests. "If the tempo seems too fast, slow it down and make it more approachable. Just keep in mind that there's nothing wrong with doing things at your own pace."
At first glance, it may seem like the classes are strictly geared toward choreography, but be prepared to get a good workout in. "The thing about Rockette choreography is that it's our job to make it look easy, but in reality, it isn't," jokes Morgan. (Here's the secret to getting strong, sexy legs like a Rockette.)
You'll find that each virtual class begins with a 15-minute warm-up to help you prepare for the choreography. In Morgan's class, for example, a lot of the choreography focuses on oblique muscles, which is why she included some plank variations in her warm-up. "You'll definitely build a sweat before you start dancing," says Morgan. "You'll challenge yourself physically and also mentally as far as understanding the choreography and details." (Want more? Try this Rockettes workout inspired by one of their most demanding numbers.)
Plus, there's no better way to relieve stress than letting loose and dancing, says Morgan. "It's definitely an outlet," she shares. "Times are tough right now, and it's important to take a moment to yourself. You have to find that joy, which may mean dancing by yourself in your apartment, pretending to be a Rockette. You have to step away mentally and live a little sometimes." (Related: Here's How Working Out Can Make You More Resilient to Stress)
Ultimately, Morgan says she hopes people taking these classes will get a firsthand taste of what it feels like to be a Rockette. "Every single time we take that stage, it's a moment for us to shine," she says. "Despite not being on stage this year, we've had that same feeling when we're on Instagram Live, and I hope that people experience some of that connection. If at the end of the class, people are left feeling connected and uplifted, then I feel like it was a job well done — and I'm grateful for that."