• By Robin Tolkan-Doyle

Dance Party for One, Please

God, I love a good Zumba class.

I even signed up for one of those all-day hip thrusting, booty shaking classes where you learn to be an instructor. But then I woke up the f up and realized I would rather run into traffic than try teaching people how to cumbia and chachacha. In my mind and fuzzy mirrored reflection (you don’t wear glasses while Zumba-ing), I could easily double Shakira. In reality, I’m closer to Elaine Benes. But just like Elaine, I love to dance, especially to music I can’t understand.

Quarantine basically put the kibosh on these dancing dates I’ve been taking myself on over the years, which in the beginning, was difficult to adjust to because I’ve been relying on exercise as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety since I was a teenager. I’m also super particular with my instructors and the classes I choose to take. But not long into lockdown, I came across the live streaming dance fitness platform called WollenDance from following one of my favorite Zumba instructors on Facebook.

Wollen means “want to” in German, so WollenDance translates to “Want to Dance.” And yes, I do, even if the only other living beings in the room with me are my overweight pug and sleepy Chihuahua.

On its website, WollenDance is described as an online community of people that “share a love for dance choreography, good music vibes, and positive dance instructors.” A little hokey sounding, sure, but these are tough times, and I need some Zumba in my life to keep me going full speed ahead these days.

Anyone who tries WollenDance out (you can also download its app), receives the first week of classes for free. After that, you can choose from different membership plans – from $14.99 per month if you prepay for the whole year to $24.99 per month if you opt to be charged on a monthly basis.

(Note to reader; for copyright reasons, the classes aren’t actually called Zumba. Look for Latin Cardio instead).

Lemme also preface that there are tons of dance classes for all levels available here including Barre, Jazz, Tap, Kickboxing hybrids, and Ballroom (although, that might be awkward). There’s even a class called Old School Skinny. “a blend of authentic 90s House Party energy & easy-to-follow Cardio Grooves.” I’m going to have to try that one soon, for sure.

Classes are either available via live stream seven days a week from morning to night or on-demand and are usually just under one hour long. WollenDance archives an ever-growing collection of pre-recorded live streams available to access whenever you feel like having a dance party with yourself, even at 2 in the morning.

The platform partners with boutique dance studios from around the country, big and small, to deliver their classes right into the comfort of your home wherever you are in the world. And the instructors are all people who actually work at these gyms. If you find one you like more than another, you can make it a routine in your schedule.

One of my favorite classes these days is streamed at Kazaxe (pronounced kah-zah-shay), a dance studio in Alexandria, VA that blends Latin music and moves with hip-hop, and Caribbean music. This is one of the more high energy classes with the camera focused on a stage of rotating instructors, some of whom often move faster than a cheetah (make sure you get some stretching in before you hit play).

For anyone missing their exercise dance classes these days, I can't recommend WollenDance enough. It's really kept my spirits lifted. Until this pandemic does a David Blaine trick and disappears, I’ll be honing my Shakira skills in my home office for no one but me to see.

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