Tyra Pointer in action Credit: Facebook screenshot

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Home Gym is a series by City Paper writers looking at the different ways D.C. is working out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay updated on our coverage of the global health crisis, and visit the CDC website for information on how to practice safe habits during this time.

I am not what you’d call an athletic person or fitness enthusiast. I’ll take an occasional spin, barre, or yoga class just to keep my body moving, and I played a little softball and field hockey in middle and high school but my life does not revolve around exercise. Unfortunately, I, like most people in the U.S., am now spending roughly 23.5 hours a day inside and I need ways to pass the time, so I’m trying to fit in some daily movement.

The promise of a good soundtrack can motivate me to get off my butt, and I enjoy a dance party from time to time, so City Jam Experience’s Bring Back the 90s Throw Back Dance Party seemed like just the ticket. Fitness Snob Studio, where the in-person class usually takes place, is allowing instructors to continue teaching their classes in the empty studio and streaming them online via Facebook Live for $5. After registering and joining the class’ private Facebook group, I logged on with my laptop, shoved some piles of books out of the way, and prepared to get my groove on in my bedroom. 

Instructor Tyra Pointer started out by having “us” (me and five other digital dancers, according to the video’s eye icon) take four steps forward and four steps back, then added a few foot taps on either side. After a long day of work from home, I was not really feeling like dancing but Pointer’s enthusiasm was infectious. By the time she was instructing us to slide left and right, I was feeling less grumpy and slightly more coordinated. 

And then we started squatting. Because each move quickly rolled into the next, it wasn’t until the third round of squats that I realized my enthusiasm might be my undoing. I did my hamstrings some good, but will I be able to walk tomorrow? Another potential cause of my undoing: dancing barefoot for an hour. Were I to try the class again, I’d at least throw on a pair of socks so I could better perform the running man. 

Live streaming is an imperfect technology and devices are fallible, of course. Due to some combination of problems with my laptop and their camera, the audio and video quality weren’t great—images were blurry and it was hard to hear Pointer and the music at times. Instead of jamming to the sounds of my youth, I sort of nodded along to semi-familiar excerpts.

Part of the fun of classes like these is doing it in a room full of people who feel and look as foolish as you do. Dancing on my own in this format is not as fun as dancing to Robyn, but it’s still a better distraction than reading about the president’s press conferences on Twitter. 

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