Dance Classes for Adults

Dancers foot

Thinking about going to adult beginner dance classes for the first time?

Great! We've probably got a section that deals with the specific dance style you have in mind.

However, here, we've also got a bit of really useful info on aspects of dance classes that you may not have considered and may affect just how well you get on in your lesson, no matter what dance style interests you.

Dance Class Benefits

So, if you are serious about learning dance, going to classes is the way to learn.

Even if you have done a great many different dance videos, or the same one a hundred times, you still aren't going to be able to dance to a very high standard.

They are a fabulous place to start, but your dancing needs progression.

And of course the main drawback of dance videos is that no-one is correcting your moves. You are just doing whatever you think are the right moves.

By going to a class, your teacher can see you do the steps and can correct you whenever necessary.

This is vital if you are ever going to dance well and also helps you avoid injury.

The dance teacher can monitor your progress. And you can gauge your improvement in relation to the rest of the dance class.

You can find a lot of support in a dance class that you just won't get alone at home. From that support, you'll also find the dedication to stick at it and not just give in when confronted with a difficult move.

And it's great fun to be in a good dance class.

You'll get a tremendous sense of achievement that most dance videos can't give you.

But, choose wisely.

Great dance classes can be a joy. And badly taught ones can be a misery.

Here's how you decide which adult beginners dance classes are going to be right for you...

Dance Class Levels

Firstly, you should establish which dance class level is right for you.

You can see things on a studio timetable named 'Beginners', 'Absolute Beginners', 'General' and 'All'.

'General' and 'All' seem to imply just that, but some classes advertised at this level can turn out to be quite complex and unsuitable for a complete beginner.

Make sure you go to the right class. If you can, perhaps watch before you go. See the section on Watching classes.

Also, don't assume that if you danced to a certain level many years ago, that you can automatically start dancing again at that level.

It is far more preferable that you start by taking classes that are for absolute beginners or are at least a couple of levels down from where you used to be, in order for your body to reacquaint itself with the dance.

Your muscles may be stiff and your fitness levels not what they used to be. You can always progress quicker if you wish, once you've got your rhythm back.

Other pupils

A dance class for beginners should be just that - for beginners.

Now, it's perfectly acceptable for that to include a range of people; young and old, fit and not-so-fit, and perhaps people who have some dancing experience but either haven't danced in a very long time, or who are returning to dancing after an injury.

What's unacceptable is for a beginners class to be used by intermediate or advanced level pupils as a warm up or rehearsal class.

Trying to learn to dance for the first time, step by step, next to someone who is super-fit and talented will just make you feel hopeless and self-conscious.

Unfortunately, and too frequently, we do come across classes where the teacher allows their more advanced pupils to attend. Avoid these.

Find a class that's just for beginners and feel safe and confident that the class is aimed completely at your level.

Huge Overcrowded Classes or Tiny Classes?

Which is better when learning for the first time?

You can 'lose' yourself in huge classes and therefore your mistakes won't be as visible.

You'll have loads of other people to watch and follow and compare with.

And going to a few of these classes can really boost your confidence.

It'll get you in the mood and familiar with the dance in the broad sense.

You can also get used to the routine of going to the class and there will probably be one or more people that you can chat to about their dance experiences.

Clearly the drawback of these classes is that you get little or no individual attention - the teacher isn't going to be able to study everyone's moves in any detail and you'll find it hard to progress without feedback and specific encouragement and support.

Also, you must be able to have a clear view of the teacher and what they are demonstrating.

If you can't see their feet, for example, chances are you'll execute the moves incorrectly and this can lead to some dazzling injuries, or just really rubbish dancing.

Be particularly mindful of large Ballet classes - you must be able to access adequate room on the barre in order to do the exercises properly.

Being crushed up against the person in front and behind is no use for these moves. See the Ballet section for more information.

However, generally speaking, large lessons are great for getting in the swing of things.

The advantage of a small class is that you get the individual attention that you'll need in order to fully master and progress at your chosen dance.

A good teacher will gently correct your technique and encourage you personally.

You'll always have an excellent view of the teacher's whole body so you can accurately copy the movements they are demonstrating.

And you'll have space to move around - a bonus that cannot be underestimated in dance.

Although it must be said that a fairly empty Salsa class can be a negative.

Salsa moves should always be kept small - this is how they are intended to be danced and this also translates well to dancing in a packed Salsa club.

But for most other dances it is great to be able to fling yourself about a bit.

The down side of a small dance class with only a few pupils is that you may not initially like the glare of such individual attention - beneficial though it may be.

So there you go, there's a decision to be made and something else to think about when you are choosing which dance classes to join.

All this information, added together with the specifics in our dance style sections, and our pages of  general dance hints and tips should give you a fantastic overview of what dance lessons will suit you and which ones to avoid.

This means that when you do join a dance lesson or studio, you'll be in the right class with the right teacher and your dancing will be the best it can be.

Next, we discover whether doing a dance class video at home before joining a class is a good idea...

› Dance classes for adults