So you want to learn to dance, and are a little stumped as to how to get started. There are so many different types of dance that it is natural to have questions about which style to choose and how to learn it. One of the most important frequently asked questions is how to choose the dance school that is right for you. This is a tricky question and the answer depends completely on you, or more specifically, on your priorities and what you want out of dancing.
Competitive or fun
The first thing that you have to decide on is whether you want to dance professionally or not. This is crucial as it helps you arrive at a shorter list of schools and gives you an idea of what you are looking to achieve. Even if you are not looking to make a career in dance, learning to dance a great way to work out while you have fun doing it. This is a great way to stay in shape as well as meet new people!
If you are thinking of dancing professionally, it is a good idea to first check out dance studios that are linked to academic institutions. In those schools, you could continue your studies while taking dance lesson and will be rewarded with a degree at the end of the course. A degree would definitely kick-start your professional dance career.
If you are unable to attend such a school for some reason, don’t fret. Look for reputed dance studios in your area. How would you be able to pick the one with high standards? Studios with a serious and professional orientation usually have rules which, for instance, require students to follow a dress code and be punctual. Also, you may want to look at testimonials from existing or past student who have attended the dance school. This would provide you with an insight about the instructors’ expertise and the general atmosphere at the school.
Styles of dance
Another important question you need to answer is which style of dance you wish to learn. Do you prefer modern hip-hop or are you drawn to formal ballet? Jazz, lyrical, tap, salsa, ballroom – there are plenty of other genres to choose from. It might be a good idea for you to dabble with all of them and see which one suits you best. Alternatively, if you are interested in a specific style, read up on it before trying it out. A little knowledge is always handy.
Ballet is a very formal type of dance that is very beautiful. Physical strength and grace are prerequisites for this dance form and not everyone is cut out for it. Jazz is a lively style of dance with fast tempos and a freestyle form. Lyrical (jazz ballet) is a genre that combines elements ballet and jazz into a narrative style which has music with lyrics. Tap is a popular, fast-paced style where dancers make sounds by tapping their shoes on the ground.
Besides these styles, there are also certain styles for couples, such as salsa, flamenco and ballroom dance. Studios which teach these types of dance will typically charge you higher rates, but also offer more individual instruction. You could sign up for free dance classes with a partner. These are held on certain nights and information about them is easily available on the internet.
Deciding where to take your dance classes can make a significant difference, both in your level of success and satisfaction. Being well aware of your aims might save you a lot of trouble and regret in the future.
Check out this list of dance classes and dance schools from around New Zealand.