Generic dancing class?
December 7, 2007 8:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm a nerdy white boy from the Northeast. I dance like a nerdy white boy from the Northeast. I want to dance like.. well.. I just don't want to embarrass my wife when we're at weddings/parties/clubs. Are there any classes I can take analogous to "conversational" language courses? I really don't want to learn swing or ballroom dancing or anything in particular. (A class somewhere near Boston would be ideal.)
posted by Plutor to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Dancing isn't easy for everyone. You might have an easier time starting with something structured. While it won't be the same sort of dancing that you will do at weddings or clubs, it helps to gain confidence in dancing in general and learning to move with a rhythm.

I recommend contra dancing. There are several options in Boston. The people will be friendly, and probably many will be nerdy, so hopefully you'll feel at home. You can just drop in and start.
posted by grouse at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2007

I would suggest actually taking a "real" dance class. Try hip-hop. You'll feel like a total ass at first but by the end you will have loosened up. Obviously you're not going to bust out complete routines on the dance floor, but you will be more comfortable moving your body and you will be able to use some of those movements in social dancing.
posted by radioamy at 8:44 AM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

I know that you said that you don't like the idea of learning swing, but I'm going to recommend Lindy Hop anyway. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it's an awful lot of fun and you could do it with your wife. I started dancing in Boston with my boyfriend, and now that we're way over in Idaho we still our best to get out and dance whenever we can.

The people who teach these classes are really fantastic instructors and you can start having absolutely zero experience. Have fun!

(oh, and there are plenty of nerdy white boys who dance like nerdy white boys there. Even the nerdy white boys can get the hang of it.)
posted by plaingurl at 9:34 AM on December 7, 2007

Many of the local adult ed programs do "dance samplers" covering various styes in addition to their single-genre classes -- eg Dance and Creative Movement at the Boston Center for Adult Education, Dance Sampler at Brookline Adult Ed.

If you really want Dancing With Geeks, the MIT Folk Dance club host a variety of genres, including contras.

On the less structured side, maybe Contact Improv?
posted by nonane at 9:34 AM on December 7, 2007

hmmm ... try swing or salsa ... just to get into the mood.
posted by jannw at 10:01 AM on December 7, 2007

The key to dancing is being comfortable. Go out with a bunch of friends and your spouse to a club, and then imitate whoever the best dancer in your group is. Some of the worst dancers I've ever seen in a club are also the ones having the most fun.

Don't make dancing into anything more than it is: a pleasant way to pass the time and get some exercise.
posted by reenum at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2007

"Go out with a bunch of friends and your spouse to a club, and then imitate whoever the best dancer in your group is."

Thats how I learned. I'm now considered one of the best dancers at any party I attend.

I also will second taking a class of any specific dance type, as radioamy suggested. Although it isnt your goal to learn salsa dancing, by the end of the class you will more comfortable in your skin while on the dance floor. The lindy hop and hip hop have more athleticism required though.
posted by mikeinclifton at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2007

While you don't want to learn anything in particular, taking classes in a specific dance will improve your confidence, form, and rhythm.
posted by JJ86 at 11:39 AM on December 7, 2007

I think you're probably looking for a class called "Social Dancing". Usually they do a sampler of a bunch of different types, mostly partner dances, mostly suitable for more formal events like weddings, work parties.

For club dancing, try a Jazz class (I tend to lean away from the hip hop, although hip-hop Jazz can be good, too). Most of the dancing you see, for example, background dancers in Top 40 music videos doing is basic stuff you'll learn in a Jazz class (just with lots and lots of practice).
posted by anaelith at 11:54 AM on December 7, 2007

I agree with a lot of the "just take some form of dance class" advice. You just need to get the basics of following rhythm and feeling your body in time to the music. Pretty much any good dance class will do that. Lindy Hop/Swing is useful in all sorts of situations and very adaptable to other circumstances. It'll really help you feel more confident in dance generally and that's the key.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2007

Also, some dance clubs will offer specific lessons (sometimes free!), in the form of show up a few hours early and we'll teach you a few steps so that you can dance tonight. This seems especially popular at Latin dance clubs, but I'm sure they have them elsewhere, too. If you regularly go to a club that offers such it's a great way to get familiar with that dancing style and music. Knowing what to expect next in the music will help as much as knowing about dancing in general.
posted by anaelith at 7:54 PM on December 7, 2007

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