Essentials – The guide to dance in London. Become a professional, or just enjoy!
Q: How do I get started in dance in London?
A: The most common way to start dance in London is to go along to some open classes and try out a few different styles to see what’s out there. There are lots of studios around central London, which offer a wide range and variety of classes for all levels of ability. Such as Pineapple Dance Studios, Danceworks, Dance Attic, Studio 68, The Place, and London Studio Centre.
Q: How many different dance styles are there?
A: There a many styles and forms of dance. Here are some examples:
Jazz – Has a background in Ballet. It is the type of dance you would see in West End Shows, like Fame and Chicago. It can also be seen in its more commercial style in pop videos.
Break Dance – a form of Hip Hop which consists of nifty foot work (top rock), six step, power moves, freezes, and aerial tricks.
Hip Hop– influenced by America in the 1980’s. The style consists of funky and energetic moves with a lot of flavour and rhythm. The kind of moves you would see in a Black Eyed Peas video.
Ballet – usually begins with barre work. Focuses on skeletal alignment and muscle development. It’s a graceful and fluid style.
Salsa – a type of Latin American dance incorporating Jazz and Rock. It’s a highly stylised and creative couple dance. Men lead their partners into high speed turns, twists, and spins.
Locking – points, jumps, Skeets, Scooby Doo’s, wrist rolls, back claps and much more can be seen in Locking. It’s fun and has lots of character and gesture.
Popping – tensing and relaxing muscles to beats in music, with the effect of freezing the muscles to create shapes and cool effects. Connected with the “Funk Style,” Robot, and Boogaloo.
Contemporary – is both technical and physical. There are no boundaries with this style of dance. It’s very loose and fluid, with lots of movement and improvisation.
Q: Who can I talk to for advice?
A: Speak to the choreographers after the class for advice on what to do if you become serious about dancing, get more information about what other classes to do, or know of, and how they will benefit you.
Q: What do I wear?
A: In most of your Street and Hip Hop classes people will dress to impress, in combats, baggy sports trousers, good trainers, funky bright tops, hats, sweat bands, and bandannas. In Ballet and Jazz classes people tend to wear tighter fitting clothes, so they can have full control when sculpting their bodies with the technical moves. It’s best to take Ballet and Jazz shoes to these classes.
Q: I want to become a professional. How do I do that?
A: To become a professional dancer requires a lot of dedication and training. Most professional dancers train at vocational dance schools. They focus on technical skills in dance, e.g. Ballet, Musical Theatre, and Contemporary dance. These core discipline skills will prepare you for a career as a Professional dancer. For more information about Dance Schools and courses visit www.cdet.org.uk
Q: Can I still dance professionally, without going to dance school?
A: It is possible to get professional dance jobs without going to dance school. However you need to be very motivated and strict with yourself about what training you do and where you do it. Firstly you need to decide what you want to do, e.g. Musical Theatre, Ballet, or Commercial dance. Then you need to attend open classes daily to focus on getting the technical skills and style. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a Commercial dancer, then you will be expected to be a versatile performer, strong in a variety of styles, e.g. Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Ballet, Acrobatics, Break Dance, Locking & Popping. There’s no easy way to get anywhere unless you have good contacts in the industry.
Q: Do I need an agent, and if so how to I find one?
A: It helps to have agent if you want to get professional work as they can open more doors for you and get you out there. You can ask other dancers who they’re represented by and get some advice about which agents may be suitable for you. There is a book called “Contacts” which is released every year which has information about all different types of agents, and it can be found in most shops, e.g. Waterstones, Borders. There is also the Stage Newspaper which comes out every Thursday with the latest auditions and postings. This can be found in most newsagents around London.
Q: Can I get involved in performances on an Amateur level, just for fun?
A: If you know of any local dance groups in your area, try and get involved with them. If you go to their classes and gradually pick up the routines and style then that will be a good start. If any events happen within the dance group you can then get involved and start performing. Joining any type of club requires commitment so be prepared to give up some free time if you want to get some performing experience.