By Janavi Gupta
As you probably know, toward the end of 2019, a new disease began to rapidly affect people in China and soon people all over the world began suffering from it. This disease is known as the Novel CoronaVirus (COVID-19) that soon caused mayhem all over the world. Countries began to put their citizens under lockdown, the air space was shut down, and people all over the world began stocking up on groceries in fear of the worst. However, the most important thing that has been affected are people’s day to day tasks. School, tuitions, work and all forms of classes and communication were shifted online.
It’s absolutely absurd to me to think that one can learn something such as dance online! The thought of dance has always come along with the notion of going to class and physically interacting with my teacher and friends. However, with the CoronaVirus barring everyone from leaving their houses, we decided to give online dance lessons a try. With the advance technology prevalent in today’s times, it shouldn’t be that difficult or inconvenient we thought! Well, we were wrong.
From the very first class, we encountered several difficulties that none of us had anticipated. One of the most important tools needed for efficient online communication is a good internet connection. A weak internet connection in multiple houses caused lagging of audio, freezing of video etc. Many of us struggled to keep up with what our teacher was saying. Lagging of audio made it extremely difficult to keep up with the rhythm. Due to the fact that the video was a mirror image of the person, it was a challenge to revise old pieces, let alone learn new ones. The other big challenge was in the platform used to conduct these classes. Very often, the conference call ended before the class actually finished due to certain restrictions of the platform used. This led to disruption and loss of time to set the call up once again.
Some of the commonly used apps include Zoom and Skype
It is rightly said that, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ As a result of the various problems we faced, it was up to us to find a solution. The lagging of audio and video due to a weak internet connection could not be helped too much. However, my teacher set up a digital library containing videos of all the pieces that we had learnt thus far. This solved the problem of not being able to follow along with our teacher live due to freezing of the video and helped with better sound quality. In the case of someone not being able to log in due to a technical snag or the class ending because of platform restrictions, our teacher was able to ask us to practice by ourselves with videos from this library. However, not everything was bad about this online class. Since these platforms lend themselves more to communication than actual dance practice, we were able to sit and discuss the history of dance and its origin, something that is not always easy to do in a physical class.
Overall, the experience of an online dance class has been a completely new one. We faced several challenges, some of which we efficiently tackled, others, which were not so easy to solve. This just goes to show that although technology is sufficiently advanced, there is still a lot more than can be developed to make doing certain things online easier. As a student who will be going to college very soon, I wish to continue learning dance even there. This, however, will have to be done by means of an online class. I hope technology will be developed more to make this easier in the coming years.