As technology brings the world’s cultures together and choreographers continue to push the creative envelope, there are more types of dance classes now than ever before. Don’t let all the options overwhelm you, but don’t limit yourself to stereotypes either!
There are many different types of dance, but the fundamentals are often very similar. Read on to learn about each genre and find out which one is most compatible with your personality and interests.
How Many Types of Dance Styles Are There?
There are so many different types of dance classes and dance styles out there. Here is a comprehensive dance styles list before we dive deeper into some of the more popular types of dance classes for adults and kids alike:
- Indian classical dance (which can be categorized into other dance styles, like Odissi and Manipuri)
- African-American dance (including break dance, swing, disco, and hip hop dance styles)
- Novelty or fad dances (like the moon walk, gangnam style, or the Carlton)
- Ceremonial dance (such as ritual dances of China and Hadra dances in Islam religion)
- Social dances (waltz, line dancing, samba, and tango are examples)
- Latin dance styles like jive, salsa, and bachata)
- Street dance (like break dancing, tutting, and electro dance)
- Highland dancing
- Tap dance
- Belly dancing
- Lyrical dancing
- Folk dance
- Electronic dance
….and of course, there are many, many other types of dance classes that aren’t listed here, too.
The best way to learn all of these different types of dance styles? By taking dance lessons! Sign up here and check out the video below to learn more about everything that the many types of dance classes have to offer (and what to expect) :
What are the Most Popular Dance Classes?
There are all types of dance classes out there! You just have to find the right types of dance classes for your preferences, abilities, and schedule. Some dance techniques and movements take significantly longer to learn than others.
Without further ado, here are some different dance styles you can learn to become a better dancer.
Graceful, elegant, precise, delicate: if these words describe you (or you wish they did), ballet might be the perfect fit.
With classical European roots and a vocabulary that’s still completely French, ballet has a long tradition of developing dancers who look weightless and effortless as they pull off difficult spins, extensions, and footwork.
But it’s far from easy, so if you fall in love with formal ballet, you’ll need to decide whether you want to make a serious commitment. Every professional ballet dancer has years of intense training behind him or her.
Even if you don’t have perfect posture or long, flexible legs, ballet’s structure and symmetry translates easily into other schools of dance. Ballet fusion, for example, takes musical and choreographic cues from wildly different genres, infusing traditional lines with influences that range from modern dance to Motown.
Julia Stiles helped popularize this notion in Save the Last Dance (2001). Her character’s ballet dancing finally came alive when she borrowed moves from hip hop, winning fictional judges’ approval and sending kids scrambling to studios with alternative approaches.
2. Contemporary, Modern, and Jazz
Modern schools might look more casual than ballet, but these types of dance classes also incorporate very careful, specific choreography. Modern dance actually emerged a long time ago, when choreographers learned to treat the human body as a versatile tool that can be shaped and molded through dance.
From Martha Graham’s whole-body breathing exercises to today’s high-concept, contemporary performances, modern dance continues to challenge traditional notions of movement and art.
Meanwhile, jazz dance has also evolved throughout the decades, following and embodying popular music trends. From New Orleans jazz clubs to Michael Jackson’s iconic music videos, jazz dance is still a dynamic, current, and high-energy option that’s perfect for music lovers and natural athletes.
3. Tap Dancing
Singing and acting aren’t the only performing arts that can land you on a Broadway stage, and your mouth isn’t the only body part capable of telling a compelling story. If you’re a naturally expressive person, your friends have probably noticed that you “talk” with your hands and facial expressions, or even with your whole body.
Tap dance is basically the same thing: acting out the details and emotions of stories with your feet. As you learn to control and coordinate the movement of your toes and heels, your internal rhythm and balance will transform for the better. No wonder Fred Astaire couldn’t get enough!
4. Theatrical Dance
Theatrical instruction is an excellent way to channel physical energy and tap into your natural storytelling talents. It’s one of the best types of dance for those who thrive on constant sensory stimulation; props, costumes, music, and backgrounds are important elements of the theatrical dance performance.
Of course, choreographers also incorporate these to complement a ballet’s themes — or to highlight a jazz routine’s musical accompaniment — but for theatrical purposes, the colors and textures onstage are often just as important as the choreography.
5. Ballroom, Swing, and Other Pairs Dancing
One of the best types of dance classes for couples, ballroom dancing also has massive popular appeal!
From Dancing with the Stars to Silver Linings Playbook, ballroom dancing has officially arrived on the pop culture stage. If you’re revisiting your dancing shoes as an adult, this is a great place to start.
As you learn foot sequences and how to lead or follow, your instructor will help fine-tune your posture and sense of rhythm. These dance lessons are usually more casual than solo sessions in a professional studio, and because students have to pair off to rehearse their steps, you get the added bonus of socializing. Classes can be romantic bonding experiences for couples, or give single students a chance to connect with new friends.
6. Hip Hop Dance Styles
Hip hop dance styles are some of the most popular types of dance fitness classes – and for good reason! It’s hard to find a dance style that will give you quite as good of a workout as this one.
Hip hop is also a popular dance style for children. It’s a great way for them to learn the fundamentals of dance, all while having fun. Each unique dance tells its own story, doing so in an explosive, energized fashion.
After you or your child learn the basics of hip hop, you can even move on to breakdancing – a freestyle form of hip hop that’s even more fun to learn.
7. Latin Dance Styles
There are many different types of Latin dance classes you can take, too. These popular club and ballroom dances spread throughout Europe in the 19th century and became extremely popular – now, they are ingrained in cultural traditions around the world.
They include the classic Latin ballroom styles we know and love today, such as samba, rumba, cha-cha-cha, jive, and paso doble, as well as the more social Latin dances like tango, mambo, salsa, merengue, and reggaeton.
What Type of Dance is Best for Beginners?
These are just eight of the many dance styles you can learn, but there are many more such as hip hop dance, salsa, belly dancing, and so on. If you’re a beginner, then you might find ballet to be the best style of dance for you to learn.
This is one of the reasons why ballet is one of most popular types of dance classes for kids. In ballet lessons, your child will be taught the right poise and technique that will carry them on to a successful experience in any other type of dance they show an interest in later on in life.
That said, while some types of dance are a perfect fit from the very first lesson, but don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Cover your bases and sign up for two or three different types of dance classes, if you’re interested in multiple styles.
Improvisation exercises in modern dance class can unleash the creative potential and inner confidence of a quiet, reserved dancer. And the structured nature of ballet choreography can help restless dancers improve their focus and control.
Not sure where to find the right types of dance classes for you? Consider doing a Google search for “types of dance classes for adults near me” (or do a search that’s specific to your children, if you’re looking for various types of dance classes for toddlers or even for older tots). You’re sure to be able to find a wide variety of options depending on where you live and how much you’re willing to spend on lessons!
Have fun, and by taking dance lessons, know that you’re sure to find your niche soon enough!