The Modern dance teachers we have worked with are some of the most inspiring and creative and encouraging dance teachers we've ever met.
There aren't many who are sulky, grumpy or lazy!
So you'll probably find that the Modern dance teachers you encounter are quite charming.
Here are a few tips on what to look for...
If the class is 'free' movement – in other words, making up your own movements – you'll need a teacher who gently encourages you and will go amongst the class to help any individual pupil fully interpret the theme.
At the beginners level, you don't really want to end up in a class where the entire hour is spent just flinging yourself around with no guidance or instruction - you probably won't know where to start.
So look for a teacher who, even if they leave sections of dance up to you, can provide you with enough of a framework for you to dance within.
In other words, if the teacher wants you to dance a routine called 'Storm', while there will be areas that you can free dance and interpret 'storm' however you wish by leaping, bending, spinning, jumping and so on, you'll want to start with a few movements and suggestions from the teacher.
They might take the first few bars of the music and choreograph something quite specific, and then say the next four bars of music are completely yours to try some moves that represent 'feeling tall and strong'.
They may then create a further section for you to
follow and then another that's up to you on the theme of 'snapping and
breaking'. You get the picture.
As a beginner it's therefore better to have some structure in your classes, at least to start off with.
It'll give you much more inspiration to choreograph a few steps yourself in the middle of the dance rather than have a teacher turn up, put on some music and then just say 'dance like it's winter'.
That's far too vague and unstructured for most learner dancers.
Look for someone who is going to guide you through the steps or just leave a few for you to do yourself when you are first learning.
Modern dance teachers who do this will build your confidence, not only in your dancing ability but also in your powers of interpretation.
If you are in a class where the teacher is going to choreograph a routine for you, then always try to find someone who will break down the moves carefully to a very basic level.
teachers are usually very good at doing this, as every tiny movement is
cherished and valuable to a Modern dance routine.
And as a side note... Modern dance classes don't seem to work at all when you have the kind of teacher who likes to bark instructions at people.
While this may be common in Ballet, in Modern dance it seems counter-intuitive to inspiring people to be individual.
Modern dance teachers are therefore generally gentle souls who are very supportive, encouraging and approachable.
And who are a never-ending stream of brilliant ideas and suggestions that will bring out the best dancer in everyone.
Because Contemporary dance styles are so varied, the pupils are usually a very mixed bag too.
As it is a great class that helps you make up your mind which dance suits you best, there'll be everyone trying it out from the young and trendy wanting an introduction to the world of dance before going on to dance Hip Hop, to the older pupil who wants to get fit but can't stand boredom of the gym.
There'll be those who have danced before and those who never have.
Now, most dance classes for absolute beginners are suitable for everybody.
There are very few dances that, at the early beginner stage, demand a certain type of ability or physique.
So you will often read on this site how much we champion that dance is for all and there are few barriers to any type of dancing for most people.
However, never does that apply more than with Modern dancing.
So accessible is it, that the less able bodied, people with injury, those recovering from illness or surgery and those with limited movement can still find a place in a Modern dance class where they can dance to their best ability and to their heart's content.
Modern dance draws a truly mixed class. And it's richer, more exciting and more rewarding for it.
If you want to dance to music, move your body a bit, but don't want strictness of routine, or lots of positions to remember, nor hear endless names of steps, you've come to the right place.
Modern dance is a way to sample dance and to also sample your own ability and aptitude for dance.
It is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to enter the world of dance.
Good luck x