Are you a new or former dancer interested in finding a new dance class? Not sure where to start? Here are two important questions to ask yourself while you shop around for the best fit for your personality. Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to find the perfect dance class that fits your personality.
First question: Are you interested in heading in a professional direction or are you interested in learning dance for fun?
This is an important question to ask. Not only does it narrow down the choices of dance studios that you may attend, but it also makes you goal-oriented. Even if you decide that you are not interested in becoming a professional dancer, choosing to learn to dance for fun is still a challenging but rewarding task.
If you decide that you’re interested in heading in a professional direction, first look into dance studios that are associated with high schools, colleges, universities, etc. You could take dance while attending college and get a degree in dance (which would certainly send you in a professional direction) or you could audition for a highly-selective program nearby.
Even if these options sound a bit daunting to you, observe some dance studios in your area. See if they require you to observe a specific dress code, wear your hair in a certain way, arrive a specific amount of time before classes, etc. This lets you know that this studio is serious and interested in strict, professional guidelines. Many ballet studios will require a certain dress code, and this doesn’t necessarily indicate that the studio is extremely serious compared to others. Observing a class or two, or speaking with an instructor will usually help you differentiate between them.
Second question: What style(s) of dance are you interested in learning?
Dance has many sub-genres: ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, salsa, flamenco, ballroom, swing, cheerleading, new age, etc. If you’re interested in trying them all out and finding your specific niche, go for it! If you’d rather select one style of dancing because you’re interested in it or you’d like to see if it works for you, you might want to do a little research on the various styles of dance before you jump into a dance class.
Ballet is very beautiful. It requires a lot of grace and muscle strength (more than a lot of people expect). It is very formal with little room for experimentation. Lyrical, on the other hand, is a combination of ballet and jazz dance. It is set to music with lyrics and has a very narrative style. It is also very beautiful and graceful, but there is room for experimentation. Jazz is a fun form of dance much like lyrical but often set to faster tempos and a little looser in its implementation. Tap is a fast style of dance where you make beats with metal on the bottoms of your tap dance shoes. Contrary to popular belief, it is also a hefty workout – but a fun one! Most dance studios offer these forms of dance as well as a cheerleading class for youngsters.
If you’re interested in learning salsa dancing, flamenco dancing, ballroom dancing, or swing dancing, there are typically three venues for learning these styles. The first is at a dance studio that specializes in couples dancing. In my experience, these studios are a little pricier than the studios mentioned above, but you may get more one-on-one instruction. You typically do not need a partner. The second option is a couples instruction class where you will need to bring your own partner. This usually is a single teacher (rather than an entire studio) devoted to teaching these forms of dance. The third option is to scour the internet for venues offering free dance classes on specific nights. These are typically held in bars, so if that makes you uncomfortable, I would rule it out.
These questions should begin to point you in a specific direction by narrowing down all of the choices available to you. If you are still uncertain, speak with the studio director or a dance teacher to see if you feel comfortable with them. Attending a dance class should be a positive experience. There may be hard work, but you’ll love the payoff.