As technology brings the world's cultures together and artists/choreographers continue to push the creative envelope, there are more types of dance classes now than ever before. Don't let all the options overwhelm you, but don't limit yourself to stereotypes either!
There are many different types of dance, but the fundamentals are often very similar. Read on to learn about each general genre and find out which one is most compatible with your personality and interests.
Graceful, elegant, precise, delicate: if these words describe you, ballet might be the perfect fit.
With classical European roots and a vocabulary that's still completely French, ballet has a long tradition of developing dancers who look weightless and effortless as they pull off difficult spins, extensions, and footwork.
But it's far from easy, so if you fall in love with formal ballet, you'll need to decide whether you want to make a serious commitment. Every professional ballet dancer has years of intense training behind him or her.
Even if you don't have perfect posture or long, flexible legs, ballet's structure and symmetry translates easily into other schools of dance. Ballet fusion, for example, takes musical and choreographic cues from wildly different genres, infusing traditional lines with influences that range from modern dance to Motown.
Contemporary, Modern and Jazz
Modern might look more casual than ballet, but these types of dance classes also incorporate very careful, specific choreography. Modern dance actually emerged a long time ago, when choreographers learned to treat the human body as a versatile tool that can be shaped and molded through dance.
From Martha Graham's whole-body breathing exercises to today's high-concept, contemporary performances, modern dance continues to challenge traditional notions of movement and art.
Meanwhile, jazz dance has also evolved throughout the decades, following and embodying popular music trends. From New Orleans jazz clubs to Michael Jackson's iconic music videos, jazz dance is still a dynamic, current, and high-energy option that's perfect for music lovers and natural athletes.
From Dancing with the Stars to Silver Linings Playbook, ballroom dancing has officially arrived on the pop culture stage. If you're revisiting your dancing shoes as an adult, this is a great place to start.
As you learn foot sequences and how to lead or follow, your instructor will help fine-tune your posture and sense of rhythm. These dance lessons are usually more casual than solo sessions in a professional studio, and because students have to pair off to rehearse their steps, you get the added bonus of socializing. Classes can be romantic bonding experiences for couples, or give single students a chance to connect with new friends.
Theatrical instruction is an excellent way to channel physical energy and tap into your natural storytelling talents. It's one of the best types of dance for those who thrive on constant sensory stimulation; props, costumes, music, and backgrounds are important elements of the theatrical dance performance.
Of course, choreographers also incorporate these to complement a ballet's themes — or to highlight a jazz routine's musical accompaniment — but for theatrical purposes, the colors and textures onstage are often just as important as the choreography.
And Many More
These are just a few of the many dance styles you can learn, but there are many more such as hip hop dance, tap, belly dancing and so on.
Some types of dance are a perfect fit from the very first lesson, but don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Cover your bases and sign up for two or three different types of dance classes, if you're interested in multiple styles.
Improvisation exercises in modern dance class can unleash the creative potential and inner confidence of a quiet, reserved dancer. And the structured nature of ballet choreography can help restless dancers improve their focus and control. Have fun, and you'll find your niche soon enough!