What is a good place to learn how to dance in New York City?
August 8, 2009 7:58 PM   Subscribe

What is a good place to learn how to dance in New York City?

(Anon because I'm a weirdo and find this question very embarassing). I recently decided that I really like dancing, and mostly I don't do it more because I don't know how to do it well. Also, I think it would be fun to get better at it. I'm a guy. In my 20s. I'm single. I don't know what kind of dancing I want to learn how to do. All kinds? I'm not trying to meet girls or anything, but I also don't have anyone I can bring to a class or lessons. How does this work? I want to learn any kind of dancing people actually do in social situations, not like some crazy art dancing or tap dancing. So yeah, pretty broad, but I've only a vague ideal what I'm looking for: Social Dancing. Instruction. Solo students accomodated. In New York City. Thank you for your help.
posted by anonymous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My girlfriend and I take Lindy Hop lessons at Dance Manhattan, on 19th Street; they teach ballroom, swing, and Latin as well. The classes are full of unaccompanied people and you change partners continually throughout the class anyway. (Sorry but you're going to meet some girls!)
posted by nicwolff at 8:46 PM on August 8, 2009

Try contra dancing.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:49 PM on August 8, 2009

Mr. dancinglamb and I took a bunch of lessons at the Sandra Cameron Dance Center down on Lafayette Street before our wedding. There were a whole bunch of single people in our swing class. We also took private fox trot lessons there before our wedding.

One thing that I really liked about the swing lessons was that they had us regularly switch it up with our partners so that we got a taste of what it was like to dance with different people. For me, I got to feel the significant difference in the guys that were really into it and the others that were, well, not so much. I absolutely had a blast and would do it again.

Oh, and you are *so* not a weirdo and shouldn't be embarrassed by this question at all. Seriously, it was one of the most fun things I've ever done, and you absolutely don't need to bring somebody with you. Especially in NYC. Give them a call and pick their brains. They will suggest the right class for you. If nothing else, go there one night and just watch.
posted by dancinglamb at 10:20 PM on August 8, 2009

I think anon is looking for a more general kind of dance experience, to answer the question: What do I do once I get on the dance floor? Swing can be a great, fun, and social experience, but most of the time won't come in handy when the DJ at the bar puts on Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough.

That said, I don't have any particularly great advice. My gut says that beginning hip-hop dance classes might get you moving in the right direction. Dance studios will sometimes have a dance/workout class that might help, too. There's one in SF called Rhythm and Motion—I haven't taken it, but it says it covers a wide range of dance styles. I think something like that could be good for you and give you a grounding it the basics of what it means to dance.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:02 AM on August 9, 2009

I've heard good things about Broadway Dance Center from a friend who gets the urgent need to dance once in a while. It's very casual as far as jumping into a class, and classes are often, and there's a wide variety in the people attending (first timers to true professionals who are keeping up on their chops...)
posted by Busithoth at 7:41 AM on August 9, 2009

I love Broadway Dance Center and have been going there almost five years but they don't really offer what the OP is looking for. They have tap, ballet, hip hop and so on, but not social partner dancing. They're great for what they do offer and you really can jump into almost any class, but they won't meet his needs.

OP, I recommend trying salsa classes. I took them with Jimmy Anton a few years ago. As a dude who's not bringing a partner, you'll be very much in demand!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:33 AM on August 9, 2009

Once you start going to a studio (like the place like nicwolf suggests, where a lot of styles are taught) and get exposed to different styles of dance, you'll see lots of people dancing and think "Yeah, I'd like to be able to dance like that" but eventually you're going to see someone (or a couple) dancing, and you're going think "That's awesome! What is that dance?!"

You'll find a dance style that aesthetically appeals to you, even though you can't do it. Then you'll have some direction, and be able to find out what kind of classes will get you there.

Ballroom dance competitions are a great thing to check out because they often have over 20 styles of dance in the same evening, being performed by people who are good at it. The dance competition community has its own aesthetic ideals that might not appeal to you, but just expose yourself to lots of awesome and find out what resonates.

Whenever there are music videos playing, or anything that has dancing in it, keep an eye out for stuff that appeals. Do you love the way Michael Jackson dances? Justin Timberlake? Etc etc.

Take some classes to get involved, while keeping an eye out for things that appeal to you.
If a dance style appeals to you, you're not going to become what you see, you're going to learn it and in doing so make it your own thing.


How do you learn? If you're a geek, or hesitant to move, you'll probably benefit from the competitive dance approach to instruction, which (once they get you moving) will break things down into axioms and is very modular and structural and logical, and every last detail can be explained to you and why you do it. If you already like dancing, and want help turning your bouncing around into something cool, hip-hop instruction, for example, may be more up your alley.

If you want to go dancing in clubs, don't let that put you off learning partner dancing - if you do your partnership dance with an imaginary partner (just doing something else with your arms), you'll probably do pretty well in clubs, especially if you then let it evolve into your own kind of clubbing freestyle.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:44 PM on August 9, 2009

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