Even as some studios across the country are starting to reopen, at- home classes are still part of our normal COVID-19/ summer 2020 existence, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Whether you’re enrolled in a virtual summer intensive or you are combining all the different online options out there to manage your own summer training, chances are this new type of summer intensive is presenting different challenges and opportunities. When I was heading to summer intensives, I always bought a new leotard to boost confidence, but this summer, I’ve found that these other products have become ESSENTIAL to boost my training. Here are my top FIVE summer dance essentials (other than internet connection!) that will keep you feeling strong, safe, and motivated to continue virtual classes!
- Yoga Mat - In addition to ballet classes at home, there are also so many virtual Pilates, yoga, and other conditioning classes! This can be a great supplement to your training, or a chance for you to focus on mindfulness and relaxation during an intense period of training at home in this “unprecedented time.” Additionally, jumping on a yoga mat (when possible, for example, warm up jumps) helps absorb some of the impact, since most of us aren’t dancing on sprung floors at home.
- Marley - If you haven’t already splurged for a piece of marley, I can tell you it is absolutely worth it. I hesitated to spend money on it but after virtually training for months, I can say it is the game changer of summer essentials. I feel so much safer on pointe! Available for $86.00 at Harlequin Floors (if you want this pro hack- shower lining from Home Depot is less than a third the price and also works, however it doesn’t have the extra padding and is a little thinner than some options from Harlequin. It still provides the same kind of traction).
- Epsom Salts - Summer intensives are always demanding, but if you’re doing it all on a hard floor, you are more likely to feel pain and soreness in your feet and lower legs especially. Blisters, bruised toenails, corns, and general aches and pains always feel better after a warm Epsom salt bath- and makes a great compliment to an ice bath if you’re dealing with inflammation or minor injuries.
- Turning Board - A few of my friends invested in turning boards during quarantine with the specific goal to work on their pirouettes at home. They can improve your spot and placement, and a lot of people find them extremely helpful with overcoming the fear of turning in a small space. After years of swearing I didn’t need one… I finally caved and bought one to try it out- no better time than quarantine.*
- Ankle Weights - Sometimes, training at home feels a little less demanding than being in the studio with your teacher and other dancers to push you. If you’re looking for an extra challenge in your class and are working on developing strength, ankle weights are the best! I mostly wear them for barre or cross training at home, but keep them handy when the studio reopens because they are great for jump training!*
These are all keeping me going this summer! And when not at home, either just going outside or as we start to slowly return to the studio, make sure to wear your mask! So many dancewear companies make masks that are comfortable, easier to breathe in, and stylish- consider Bloch or Rezonance Athletics (dancer- owned AND sustainable!).
*make sure to ask your teachers or someone who knows you and your goals well if these are appropriate for your development and goals!