Dear Dance Diary, Here’s a question for you.
What is the best dance class to take?
I don’t know how many are aware, but I often feel a kind of unspoken competition between dancers. I’m not talking about the oh-so notorious eisteddfods and competitions depicted in reality TV shows; I mean the competitiveness between tap-dancers and ballerinas, contemporary dancers and hip hoppers, and then you have those freakishly charismatic, brilliant, talented musical theatre kids that are in a class all of their own! But it begs the question, which actually is the best dance subject?
Well, the answer is, there is no individual best dance subject, simply because no two individual dancers are the same. That’s not to say that you can’t be excellent in more than one subject, (especially musical theatre, as you’re practically a triple threat if you can do that…) just that, from my own experience, I’ve noticed that a lot of subjects seem to have, well, a type; and that’s not a bad thing.
Fidgety? Can’t sit still? Then Try Tap.
Take, tap for instance. The ones that take up tap are the fidgeters, the pencil twirlers, the knuckle crackers and toe-tappers, all those who just can’t sit still. Tap gives those hyper-active, fidgety people somewhere to put all that energy, not that it spares anyone any peace. Tap is exquisite to watch when performed (normally accompanied by singing, in musicals…); the energy, the power and the enjoyment are contagious, however, the constant practice can be, well, loud. So, if you’re a fidgeting, clicking, cracking, clapping and snapping kind of person who doesn’t mind being a little bit annoying, then this subject is for you!
dStrong, Ambitious yet Delicate? Ballet may be the dance for you.
For some reason, I’ve always felt that the opposite of tap is ballet… Perhaps its because of the rigid grace of ballet that so deeply contrasts the loose ankle, bent knees of tap that I have grown to love, or maybe its just the fact that I’m personally, really not that much of a fan of doing ballet, (I mean, have you ever seen a musical with solely ballet dancing?). Despite that however, I cannot deny that ballet is absolutely stunning to watch. I’ve found that the people who love ballet tend to be the ones who are all about the form and technique, especially older students.
If I were to allocate a dance personality type, I would say ambitious, strong willed and often, quite competitive. When students are younger, they’re taught the delicacies of ballet, but as they grow, they learn the strength and power behind it. That is why I find ballet is great for competitive, ambitious students as well as gentle kids who want to learn dance. It’s a style that grows and changes, just like the students that dance it.
As ballet is all about technique and form, it makes sense that it would be the root of many dance subjects. One of these subjects is contemporary. Contemporary is a fusion of jazz, yoga, pilates and of course, ballet (but not musical theatre… just saying…). The definition of what actually is contemporary is quite vast, as it is interpreted differently by everyone. However, given the mix of styles, I find this is the best subject for those who just want to move, stretch and leap.
Express Yourself in our Contemporary Dance Classes!
Contemporary is also a subject that has an emphasis of freedom and expression. The way you do a step may look entirely different to the way the person beside you does it, but neither are necessarily wrong. It is about self expression and emotion just as much as it about technique, strength and flexibility. If you’re reading this because you want to dance, or someone you know wants to dance, but you have no idea which is the best suit, I would recommend contemporary.
Chooze Jazz if you are modern, energetic & bouncy!
Jazz, one of the bases of contemporary, also uses basic classical forms as the root of its style, however, unlike ballet, Jazz is energetic and bouncy, with a far more modern repertoire of steps and moves (which, funny enough, are often used in musical theatre). While still having an emphasis on technique, just like the more traditional dance styles, jazz also embodies attitude and character into its routine, making them not just enjoyable to learn, but also fun to perform.
The students I find who enjoy jazz the most are those who enjoy being around lots of people, who get energy from interaction with others and who have big personalities. Furthermore, because of how energetic this style is, jazz is perfect for anyone looking for a fun way to improve stamina, cardio vascular fitness and physical strength and flexibility in nearly every muscle group. Like jazz, hip hop is another style that is bouncy, energetic, dance and can be performed accompanied by modern, popular music.
Jazz is also probably one of the most well known styles in regards to pop culture in dance (besides musical theatre), with a large number of movies and TV shows being made about the style and the types of sub cultures that come from it. This is the subject for anyone who doesn’t have the greatest flexibility.
If You Feel the Rhythm, then try Hip Hop
Hip hop, like contemporary, is often more about feeling the rhythm in the music and moving accordingly. Hip hop is an energetic, fun class that also doubles as a super enjoyable exercise, so if you also share these qualities as well as would like to really improve or maintain your fitness, and really like R’n’B music, then this is definitely the subject for you.
Gymnastics, Cheerleading & Tumbling – Acro is everything in one!
Another style of dance that is extremely good for fitness is acrobatics or, as its more casually known, acro. Acro is essentially gymnastics, cheerleading and tumbling all wrapped up into one class and put to music. This subject is brilliant for people who both want to develop acrobatic abilities, and for those who already have them and want to either improve them, maintain them or try something a little new.
The style of this subject is honestly completely dependent on the music choice and the choreography, meaning, I’ve seen acro routines about drunken sailors, gummy bears and ninja assassins. The opportunities for this subject are only limited to the choreographer’s imagination (similar to how the content of musicals is limited to the writer’s imagination…), meaning, using the skills you learn in this subject, you could technically be anything!
Are you the next triple threat? Then Musical Theatre is for you!
Now, being a musical theatre teacher, there’s a slight chance that I may be a little bias when it comes to the benefits of this subject, benefits of which there are many. This subject is a combination of singing, dancing and acting, meaning that as well as keeping your fitness up with the dancing aspect, performance, confidence and singing ability are all things that are improved on as well.
This subject is brilliant for kids who love performing and public speaking, and is also very good for improving confidence and social skills. Arguably the most versatile subject, the performance skills learnt in musical theatre can be used in many other subjects of dance, as well as in real life situations. Again, I’m not saying that it is the best exactly, but, you know, its pretty great as far as dance subjects go.