Our guide to dance
Kristina K

Our guide to dance

First published date October 08 2013 Amended date April 20 2015

If you’ve seen Swan Lake, Honey or Billy Elliot, you’re not alone if you’ve found yourself drawn into the magical world of dancing with their pirouettes, beautiful turns and spins and strong popping and locking. The dancers’ natural ease and brilliant story-telling are enough to convince us to take up dancing. Or if you’re already a Salsa queen and want to teach others to dance, why not enrol on one of our dance courses. Whatever your level and capabilities, our wide range of courses are suitable for all your fancy footwork needs.  


Put on your dancing shoes!

We thought we’d seen it all - newly-wed couples breaking into the chicken dance, dancing flash mobs in stations and dance marathons. Everyone’s at it these days – dancing has become a way of life! So if you’re a beginner and have never danced before, or you’re contemplating taking up a class, stop wasting time and get jazzy with your feet!


Strictly Come Dancing

Remember Ann Widdecombe’s dance routines which consisted mostly of her being dragged around the floor and not doing much?  Whilst you might think that her moves were atrociously cringe-worthy and surely no one could be that bad in dancing, you’ll be surprised at how technical some of the ballroom dancing moves are. Learn a mean tango, a cheeky cha cha or waltz your way into everyone’s hearts – ballroom dancing is a great way to have fun with your partner and it improves your balance, coordination, timing and fitness.


Foxtrot your way to dance school

If you want a career in dancing, do an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in dance. You’ll get to combine your dance degree with other areas that you’re passionate about. Choose from Dance and Theatre Studies, Dance and Media, Dance and Sport, Festival Management and Dance, or Dance and Drama. Courses involve practical dance classes, coupled with classroom lessons to give you a good knowledge of dance traditions. You’ll understand dance’s place in society, learn to edit sound and video, pick up different dance techniques and execute dance performances as final major projects. Have a browse of the different types of dance for more subject options.


Dirty dance – Johnny Castle style

That iconic lift in the movie Dirty Dancing is so popular that it’s every dance instructor’s dream to create moves just as memorable. If you’re a dance trainer, get on our choreography, dance movement or dance teaching courses. Find out how flexible our bodies are and learn about operation muscles and nerves. Improve your career as a dance teacher and learn to conduct safe warm ups, choreograph cool moves and have a good head for business, which is important if you’re running your own dance studio.


Shimmy away your insecurities

A lot of people feel awkward at parties and clubs. Do you find yourself piling on the alcohol so that you can dance and not feel like a social-recluse? Or do you hang on to your drinks for dear life and avoid the dance floor at all costs? Whatever it is, learning to dance will build your confidence. Pick up some cool break dancing moves or even get sexy with belly dancing – all that hip twisting and feet shuffling is bound to impress your friends (and strangers!). If all else fails, getting down and funky with the ‘robot’ (think Michael Jackson) will definitely get the crowd going in the club!


More than just slow, slow, quick-quick slow

Whatever dance styles you learn, the experience is more than mastering the timings, the dance steps and avoid treading on your partner’s toes. Not only is it good for you to stay in shape, but you also get an amazing opportunity for some cultural experiences. For instance, you’ll learn that salsa is a combination of African and Caribbean dances. Many salsa enthusiasts travel to the Middle East and Columbia to experience the different styles of salsa dancing, and experience the diversity of cultures and heritage along the way. Dance classes are also normally very sociable, providing a great platform for you to make friends with people from all backgrounds. Some dance groups even travel round the country together to attend workshops. There’s a huge hip-swaying, footloose community out there…


Dance your hearts out

When Swan Lake was premiered in 1877, the reception it garnered was lukewarm at best. The dancers gave the composer, Tchaikovsky, a particularly hard time, declaring his music to be simply too difficult to dance to. They thought that music of such richness and depth was not suitable to accompany balletic moves. Swan Lake was unsuccessful after its first year of performance. It was only after Tchaikovsky’s death that Swan Lake was revived with the help of famous choreographers Petipa and Ivanov.

Swan Lake is known for its demanding technical skills all because of one extremely gifted ballerina, Pierina Legnani. She performed with such grace and discipline that she set the bar very high for other ballerinas. Every girl to dance the part of Odette after her was compared to her performance. Legnani performed 32 fouettes (a fast whipping turn on one foot) in a row – a move many ballerinas find it difficult.


Did you know?

Most ballerinas wear out 2-3 pairs of pointe shoes a week.


Dancers are known to be disciplined, focused, high achievers who tend to be successful students and hard workers.


An hour of vigorous dancing can burn 500-700 calories. A ballet performance that runs for three hours is equivalent to an 18 mile run!


Women and men with a disability can still dance. A lot of dance companies and studios offer dance classes for the disabled.


Endorphins are secreted when dancing, bringing out a positive mood. It makes dancers feel alive and very energetic.



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