Dance is a wonderfully diverse discipline. It’s an art, it’s a cultural marker across many different societies, it’s a serious adult pursuit and a fun avenue for the expression of childish glee and emotion. It’s work and exercise as well as play and recreation. It’s one of our most ancient and enduring expressions of life and culture as human beings.
It’s also an extremely social phenomenon, existing on a complex intersection of history and current trends in music, fashion, and design. It’s a group development project thousands of years in the making guided by the best qualities of our shared humanity.
One could argue that whether you are a student or a professional dancer, the community is as important to dance like any other ingredient. But how do you find your dance family? Here are some ideas on the matter.
Already intrigued? Use our latest feature — the CLI Studio Partner Map! Here you can find a local dance school or studio that partners with CLI! All you have to do is enter your zip code, click the button, and BOOM! You found your dance family.
Refine Your Tastes
Your first step towards finding a dance community should be establishing your preferred type of dance. And while you don’t have to narrow it down to only one discipline or genre, it helps to create a clear idea of your goals. For instance, if you are obsessed with ballet and contemporary dance, then your first step should be finding a ballet and/or contemporary class nearby. Most communities out there have some sort of dance studio or extracurricular programs devoted to the performing arts, so try an online search to see what your options are for a local space near your city. A quick search will often uncover that there are many free or affordable dance classes near you.
Many dance communities exist in or around a dance studio, so make sure to look for bulletin boards and handouts in those spaces, including your local public schools! If you are interested in dance fitness, check out your nearby gyms or local schools for dance exercise classes or special events. Talk to people, especially artists and students, you encounter in these spaces, and look for dance organizations on social media that are dedicated to the style that you are interested in.
The more collaboration that you utilize, the better the odds are that you will find a dance community that is right for you. You don’t have to be an active member of any social media channel to search there, either.
A good technique is to enter your location (or other towns or counties near you) and the type of dance you are looking for into search engines and search bars of various social platforms. For example, a social dance community (think salsa, swing, even krump) has groups on Facebook where they post upcoming events, classes, and other relevant information.
Finally, many local public schools host performances for the arts, have art education courses, and may even support their own dance teams. So take a look around! You may already know a school friend or two who could guide you in the right direction.
Expand Your Horizons
Let’s say that your community doesn’t have a dance studio, or the places which do exist aren’t offering the style of dance instruction and choreography that you are looking for. Don’t sweat it. We are living in the golden age of the online community, instruction, and socialization. Now more than ever people are turning to the wider aperture of the internet to gain a sense of their niche. This is certainly true in the world of dance, where unprecedented opportunities for interactive virtual education and instructor feedback are literally at your fingertips.
Look for online dance programs that provide interaction opportunities with other users, interactive classes, as well as cataloged tutorials, and customized, on-demand training. An online dance community can be an exciting and invigorating avenue for expression and engagement. The more that you develop your interests and abilities as a dancer, the more opportunities you will discover to share them with like-minded people.
Dance Is Freedom
At its core, dance is an expression of freedom and agency in your own body. It is beauty, catharsis, protest, and jubilation all in one, and the rich and tumultuous history of societies across the world that have used dance to heal and to come together are an example of that.
However, not all communities have access to the same resources. Some towns don’t or can’t prioritize funding for the performing arts and culture, so while there may be dancing (because we as humans will always dance!), there may not be access to more than a few styles or levels of classes as far as education goes.
As a community building art form, dance will continue to bring people together for years to come. Online dancing can help to bridge the gap between many different kinds of societies that want to join the party, but may not have the resources. After all, every person deserves the chance to dance.