“People don’t really talk about the difference dance can make to your life, but it’s had a huge impact on mine. It’s improved my fitness, wellbeing, memory, cognitive function, short-term memory, coordination, spatial and body awareness and happiness. But, most importantly, it’s helped me rebuild my confidence. So much so, I’ve even started going to classes in person.”
Kiah Nicholas joined the Virtual Studio back in March when so many of us pivoted our lives online, but the benefits that dance has made to her life have outlasted the lockdowns. Read on to hear her story.
Hiya, I’m Kiah from Sydney. I’m a creative in advertising and a gangly, uncoordinated, introverted cliché. A necessary introduction that plays into why I only really started dancing in March, when the, uh, proverbial hit the fan.
We had just gone into lockdown; I needed an outlet, didn’t have a car and running wasn’t working out, thanks, asthma! I was looking for something engaging, varied and challenging when my mate Carlo texted, “Sydney Dance Company are doing Virtual Studio classes on Zoom”. Yes!
The idea of doing dance classes from the safety of my bedroom sounded perfect.
I’d done dance classes before but found studio environments intimidating. I used to do classes with my brother, but when he passed away in 2014, I kind of stopped going altogether. It’s been seven years and I can still see his big goofy grin and the way his flat feet stomped around. The guy could double backflip and walk on his hands, but he danced like an elephant…and I loved it! He was always better and smarter than me, but when we danced, we were both equally uncoordinated and having the time of our lives. I tried going back a few times since, but the attempts resulted in anxiety attacks.
The Virtual Studio has been a revelation for me. During lockdown, when I couldn’t leave the house, see friends and family, or I had to work late, it became a critical way for me to break up my day, ensure that I was taking care of myself and connecting with others. It helped me feel like part of a community, but the benefits have extended beyond lockdown too. It has also influenced my creativity, and I ended up creating a campaign that was inspired by my recent re-connection with dance.
People don’t really talk about the difference dance can make to your life, but it’s had a huge impact on mine. It’s improved my fitness, wellbeing, memory, cognitive function, short-term memory, coordination, spatial and body awareness and happiness. But, most importantly, it’s helped me rebuild my confidence. So much so, I’ve even started going to classes in person.
I love the Virtual Studio Beginner Hip Hop classes with Jayden Rodrigues and James Dean. They are some of the kindest and most encouraging teachers I have ever met.
No matter what is going on in my life, as soon as I hop on the Virtual Studio, everything falls away. Mostly because remembering the routine takes all my concentration, but also because when I see the faces of the teachers and other students on the virtual grid, I cannot help but feel welcome, supported, and happy.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. With online classes, you’re free to have fun instead of spending the whole class worrying about what everyone else thinks. You’re free to be yourself and make mistakes, which also means you’re free to learn and grow and get better. That is what I have loved most about it.
I’m still just a beginner but I’m not ashamed to be one anymore, because the Sydney Dance Company teachers have taught me to take pride and joy in the learning process.
Being free to dance like no one’s watching is a powerful and wonderful thing.
Thank you, Sydney Dance Company.