"Stir up that recipe for greatness," Casie "Tynee" Goshow says as she moves her arms in circles while teaching alone from a neon-lit platform at FORWARD__Space's virtual hub. Goshow prompts the people watching her on-demand class to close their eyes as they continue the simple, repetitive combination: brushing hands in front of the face, then spreading arms wide.
"Think about all the amazing, powerful things you're going to do now with the rest of your day, your week and your month—because you are ah-may-zing," she says to the camera.
This isn't your mother's exercise class. It's FORWARD__Space, one of many pandemic-friendly virtual workouts that emphasize the joyful, spiritual and social aspects of dance. From Ryan Heffington's free Sweatfest classes on Instagram Live to the thousands of people who join Dance Church's jubilant dance parties, online dance workouts have become an outlet for coping with grief, isolation and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. These classes are not about mastering complex combinations; there's no teacher barking counts or reminding you to "pull up" and point your toes. Instead, instructors encourage you to connect to your body, move freely and, most importantly, let go.