I grew up dancing Ballet and Modern very seriously in Boston, and although I didn’t go pro, I like to brush off the leotards sometimes. New York City is likely the best place in the world to attend a dance lesson. Whichever you’re feeling; back to basics, learning trendy choreography for fun or really honing your technique, here are some of the classes I’ve tried here, and what I thought:
Where to Find Real Dancers:
I’m starting with Alvin Ailey because it’s the overall best place to dance in New York for former dancers. A professional environment and demanding yet fun teachers, they really know what they’re doing here. You can’t be a total beginner at Alvin Ailey. Each class requires real dance experience (unless otherwise noted), as the beginner classes always have a challenging aspect about them. The studio offers everything from Ballet, to Zumba, to Hip Hop and African Dance, but where it really shines is in its Contemporary and Horton classes. I always walk out of there feeling accomplished…and very very sweaty. Individual classes are $20.
The Joffrey Ballet School is where to go when you’re ready to brush up on ballet. Simple as that. They do offer jazz and a few other classes that I have yet to try. The vibe was serious here – no talking in class…it really brought me back to those ballet days…hair in a bun, frizz smoothed back, no holes in the tights…scaryyyy. But obviously, they know what they’re doing here, so go if you’re feeling up for the challenge. Individual classes are $15.
Steps on Broadway is for the well-rounded dancer. Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Flamenco, Pointe, Tap and Theater Dance. It’s where a lot of Broadway dancers train. I like to go occasionally to try out my skills against the youths…I usually am super sore afterward but it’s so worth it. Classes are $20.
Theatre & Music Videos Come to Life:
Broadway Bodies has classes called “Bieber Fever,” “Hamilton Support Group” and “Formation.” It’s where you go to learn the latest Music Video and Theatre choreography for yourself. I’m ready to admit to the world that I took Bieber Fever and LOVED IT. It was to learn the choreography to “Sorry,” which has some of the most amazing hip-hop dancing. I brought 10 friends and did both part 1 and part 2. You can choose to do just one, or both, and you can do them again and again. Alistair is an amazingly fun teacher. Classes are $20 each.
Partnering for all Levels:
Just Dance has expert choreographers and teachers for those who want to learn partner dances. Scott and I did a 4-week class together (YES, he ACTUALLY AGREED TO IT), that taught us everything from Waltz to Salsa. They also have specific salsa-only classes if you want to do that, but I loved the variety of dances. Yes, you have to dance with strangers (our class was about 10 people), but that’s what made it fun! Cameron and Janice were our teachers, and they were very flexible with the class – if there was something we wanted to practice more, or less, or learn something harder, they were able to do so. Cost varies.
Trendy & Fun:
I tried Chromatic Dance recently – it’s a new dance studio with an upbeat environment. It’s all about dancing with all levels of dancers to those trendy songs of today, with choreography from their experts. We had Kelsey and she was clearly a well-seasoned dancer who taught us her choreography to “Cake by the Ocean.” She broke down the steps for us in a way that allowed our muscle-memory to take over. Because of that, it’s a dance that I still remember. The atmosphere of the class was very collaborative as well, with lots of moments to bond with the other students in class. I would absolutely choose this one as a beginner who wants to have sweet dance moves under his/her belt. Classes are $25.
Let me know which ones you try! And follow me on Facebook for dance discount news @MaryinManhattan.