So you want to take the plunge and become an online dance student. However, you aren’t sure which online dance classes are right for you. As a beginner, learning can appear challenging from the outside looking in, but virtual classes for adults have never been easier, more interactive, or intuitive than they are today.
Recognizing your pathway as a beginner dancer and customizing your learning experience with the many user-friendly aspects of live classes or on-demand instruction is accessible to virtually anyone. To get started, however, you’re going to want to identify which dance classes are right for you. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best online dance classes you should consider taking.
One of the most popular art forms, ballet is more than just dance: It’s a multimedia theatrical phenomenon that spans hundreds of years of tradition and encapsulates nearly every aspect of the fine arts. So it should come as no surprise that ballet is one of the most sought-after dance styles for students, drawing in thousands of new dancers worldwide every year.
What are some of the attractions to this form of dance for the beginner? It’s highly stylized and disciplined, utilizing an encyclopedia of motions and movements that have been developed over centuries. It’s visually beautiful and universally recognized as a “high art” in regards to its contribution to dance culture. Its refinement and beauty are married to a physical intensity and perfection of form and technique that is unparalleled in the world of dance.
The conditioning alone makes a beginner’s ballet class attractive to new students, and whether or not that student has an interest in pursuing a future in classical ballet dance, the skills acquired as a beginner are transferable and highly useful.
Almost every single ballet class will begin the same way: at the barre. The ballet dance instructor will lead you through a series of exercises intended to warm up your body and strengthen your muscles with the support of the barre. Then, you typically move to the center and across the floor combinations. These combos involve some of the same exercises you did at the barre, with the addition of jumps and turns.
Online classes will have more variety to choose from, which can be helpful for an adult beginner. You can take a fundamentals class that uses barre and center, or you can choose to only take the barre or center routines. As always, customization can assist your beginner dance journey into the ballet world!
Beginner Hip Hop
Hip-hop first broke into mainstream culture in the 1980s. Arguably the most dominant music genre on the planet, hip-hop has versatile appeal and rhythmic coolness that informs every innovation in its trajectory as the sound of our times. And right there along for the ride is hip-hop dance, a genre that defines itself by groundbreaking new dances and formations while maintaining a firm, heavily documented, and cataloged relationship with its past. This contradiction of tradition and innovation is a big part of why hip-hop dance is so popular around the world, as it allows the dancer to draw from a vast cultural milieu while still looking fresh, clean, and funky.
Hip-hop dance is an excellent choice for adult beginners because its deceptively informal style disguises a hardworking hustle that when mastered can achieve the same technical brilliance of more standard dance forms. If you’re just starting, a hip-hop inspired warm-up class is great for getting into the rhythm and gaining a basic understanding of the steps, just by following along. If nothing else, the beginner hip-hop student will quickly learn enough to set them apart on the dance floor.
Ah, yes, Jazz. When you hear the word, do you picture jazz hands and sheer black tights, or swinging trumpets and a bluesy bass? Jazz (like every other dance form, if you haven’t noticed) has a complex and rich history, encompassing many influences and styles.
Jazz dance expands on the African American vernacular of dance that came to popularity with the rise of jazz music. Featuring the Lindy Hop and the Charleston, Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins, jazz dance has been molded by the world around it. When music became more commercial in the ’80s, jazz dance started to be seen as a technique more separate from the music itself. Music videos and even shows like So You Think You Can Dance helped to shape the public perception of jazz into what it is today: sharp moves, “clean lines”, and kicks, turns, and jumps galore. Despite the rich history of the style, jazz can be one of the easiest dances to learn at a beginner level, as the technique is very straightforward and is used across other styles.
Note: Musical Theatre dance incorporates a LOT of jazz techniques, and in many situations, it is essentially jazz + acting. CLI Studios offers classes with choreography to songs from Hamilton, In the Heights, and the jazziest of them all— Chicago.
Contemporary dance pairs well with ballet as it borrows heavily from the tradition, motions, and choreography. However, where it deviates from ballet is when things start to get interesting. Contemporary dance allows for much more freedom regarding music and improvisational motion, which can be very attractive to a new student of dance who wants to branch out from traditional ballet. And because contemporary dance was developed with an eye towards progress and innovation, it allows for a certain type of spontaneous creativity to flourish in an incredible way.
Improvisation is common as a warm-up and is often a part of the choreography in contemporary classes. Improvisation is when you get to be free, and dance to the music, however, it inspires you, often focusing on how the music sounds or how the movement feels.
That isn’t to say that contemporary dance is all just freeform motion. It may be helpful to think of it as modern art in the world of painting. To the casual eye, it can appear abstract to the point of meaninglessness, but a closer look reveals a deeper purpose and meaning that is often revelatory to the audience. Beginner contemporary dance classes are a great choice for the virtual student who is looking for a creative outlet that is rich with the current spirit of the artistic world.