Dance Class Guide: Which Dance Class is Right for your Child?
Ballet1 of 11
You've probably seen kids around your neighborhood wearing tights and satin slippers, but what is ballet exactly? Classical ballet originated in Europe in the 19th century and uses precise patterns and steps that translate into fluid and graceful movements. Ballet requires balance, flexibility and stamina, and most ballet performances involve groups and working with others.
Tap2 of 11
Developed in the U.S. in the 19th century, tap dancing involves performers wearing shoes with metal plates on the bottom. When the dancer moves, the metal plates click on the floor creating the signature tapping sound. By sliding, clicking and taping their feet, tap dancers act like percussion instruments creating beats with their bodies. Tap dancing requires a great sense of rhythm and improvisation and is typically performed alone.
Jazz3 of 11
Heavily influenced by the music of the same name, jazz is a dance that showcases individual skill and emphasizes improvisation. Jazz is high energy and features explosive moves like big leaps, quick turns or fast footwork. While jazz lessons teach kids basic moves, this style of dance encourages kids to try and make every move their own and find their own way to express themselves through the dance. Many students take ballet first to master basic skills before graduating to jazz classes.
Hip-Hop4 of 11
Like jazz, hip-hop dance evolved from the culture of its namesake and features a wide range of styles. From breaking to popping, hip-hop emerged as a street dance style that is usually danced to hip-hop music. Many of the dance moves seen in music videos today are considered hip-hop. Kids with a good sense of rhythm will be successful at hip-hop dance, as it requires dancers to develop their own moves to the music.
Modern/Contemporary5 of 11
Modern dance emerged in the 1900s as a rebellion to the formal structure of classical ballet. In opposition to ballet, modern dance features free movements made by the entire body from head to toes. Dancers in this genre usually perform barefoot to grasp the floor. Most importantly, modern dance is all about expressing emotion and purpose. The dance encourages participants to develop movements of their own as a form of creative expression.
Lyrical6 of 11
A fusion of ballet and jazz, lyrical dance is usually performed to music with lyrics. Quicker than ballet, but not quite as fast as jazz, lyrical dance is fluid with dancers transitioning from one move to the other with ease. Dancers express strong emotions like love and anger, which feature leaps through the air and endless turns.
Ballroom7 of 11
Ballroom dance refers to a set of partner dances that features steps, patterns and rhythm that match the style of its accompanying music. Ballroom dances include foxtrot, waltz and quickstep. This class does not require any previous experience since the dances include simple steps used in repeated patterns.
Latin8 of 11
Latin dance is a group of dances that originated in Latin America and features both ballroom and social styles. Latin dances include salsa, merengue, rumba and samba. Like ballroom, Latin dances typically require pairs, but you can perform some dances solo. There are hundreds of Latin dance styles that can vary from country to country, but they are traditionally performed with a prescribed type of music, and many of the dances involve full body movements with an emphasis on the hips.
Swing9 of 11
Swing is a quick-paced partner dance characterized by movements like swinging, flipping and throwing dancers. Partners often lift, flip and spin each other to lively, energetic music. There are many styles of swing dance including the lindy hop, West Coast and East Coast swing.
Broadway10 of 11
Broadway, also known as musical theater, is a mixture of ballet, jazz and modern dance complemented by acting and singing. Because Broadway is a mixture of these three major dance styles, it allows for movements with body parts rarely used in the other dance forms. Broadway also uses theater props in dance numbers like canes or top hats.