So! You want to learn how to dance hip hop. Or, you’re already a hip hop dancer who is looking to brush up on some technical knowledge behind what you do.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Hip hop, or more appropriately called “Urban dance choreography,”can feel intimidating to jump into. So we’re going to get really nitty gritty and thorough with our explanations.
You’ll find everything you need to know, from musicality and what an “iso” is, to where to find a hip hop dance class and how to immerse yourself in the community.
There’s a lot to learn, but you’ll get it down in no time. Plus, it’s all fun stuff! We’re talking about dance here!
There are 5 total parts to this guide, focusing on different topics. We recommend going chronologically, and giving yourself enough time to fully understand the concepts from each section.
Ready? Let’s get moving.
PART 1: MUSICALITY
We’re going to start our learn to dance lessons with songs – or more specifically, the understanding of music and its relationship with dance, called dance musicality.
While it is definitely possible to learn to dance without any music or noise, the majority of what you’ll be learning, practicing, and performing, will be to some kind of music.
(See Related Article: How To Make Your Moves Match Vocals)
It doesn’t matter how many beginner dance tips you read if you don’t start at the basics. All beginner dance classes start here. Though some things may seem obvious or intuitive, basics are never irrelevant! Basics are home.
So with that, let’s get started! Annnnnd 5.. 6.., 5, 6, 7, 8!
What Is An 8-Count?
An 8 count is the most general way to break down the structure of music.
Most dances (except the waltz) are counted and choreographed to a count of 8 rhythmic segments, or two 4-count measures back to back.
Before you get to moving to any count, you first have to be able to recognize where the count is. You do this by, simply, catching on to the rhythm of the song and counting the beats – in increments of 8.
(*We’re gonna focus on songs on standard 4/4 time, which means there are 4 beats/counts in every bar, or every measure – but note that not all songs follow this signature! There’s 3/4, 4/8, 7/8, 11/16… but let’s start with 4/4, which is the most common.)
Try this out:
Listen to a song, any song, and try counting with a mental metronome – “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.”
Match your counts to the syncopation of the sounds – what you’d naturally bob your head to. Try clapping on each count, to make its placement more obvious. Think of a choir swaying from side to side and clapping their hands while they sing.
Got comfortable with that? Now count aloud all the counts, but clap only on the even counts: “One, clap, three, clap, five, clap, seven, clap“
Counts are important, because it’s a blueprint for when your movement is going to take place.
For example, if a choreographer says that a move executes on “the 5,” you’re going to count into the music (probably with their cue), until you reach the “5” within that 8-count: “One, two, three, four, MOVE“
16 counts: The “And”
You can even break down the structure even more – let’s divide that 8 count in half.
By inserting an “and” in between each count – “One (and), two (and), three (and), four…” You’re splitting up the 8 count into 16ths.
Practice locating those “and” counts by snapping on those.
If you want to note both the “whole” and “and” counts, clap on the whole counts, and snap on the “and”s – clap (one) – snap (and) – clap (two) – snap (and) – clap (three) – snap (and) – clap (four) – snap (and)…
The tempo of this exercise (the speed at which you’re clapping/snapping) will change according to the tempo of the song.
(*Popular music tempo is usually 120BPM, but changes depending on the song/genre.)
(See Related Article: How To Dance Quickly To Slow Songs)
Try these practices out with different songs of different genres.
Make it a habit every time you hear a song, so that it becomes second nature to not only pinpoint those 8 counts / 16 counts, but to move to them react to them instinctively, without having to think about it.
You can go from clapping and snapping, to bobbing your head, and bouncing.
Whatever way your body reacts to those counts, use that to mark that 8!
While you’re doing these clapping/snapping exercises, you may notice that there is a pattern in the noises you hear, according to the beats you’re marking.
Take note of these! There may be a lot of other things going on in the song, but there are usually anchors in the music that you can use to help mark those counts.
For example, a snare on every 4th count, or a bass on every even count.
“Wait, what? (again)..”
Maybe you know, by ear, what these sounds are, but let’s define them to give more clarity.
Different Musical Elements Of A Song
All right, so we got the gist of the timing. Now, what’s going on in those counts? Let’s give those “sounds” a name.
(*We’re not going into every single sound found in the history of music! Just the basics, so as not to overwhelm or overcomplicate.)
- What Are Lyrics?
- The words that the singer is singing to, also referred to as “the melody”
- The lyrics are probably the easiest to distinguish, but hardest to count / dance to, since vocals don’t always match the strict structure of 8-counts
- Sometimes, choreographers will make moves that correlate with the lyrics, like miming actions or using certain body parts.
- What Is A “Bass”?
- The bass is the lowest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano), or, the lowest melodic line in a musical composition, that supports the harmony
- Different instruments can produce a bass sound (drums, guitar..)
- Dancers often use the onomatopoeia “boom” to describe a bass drum
- What Is A “Snare”?
- It’s the sharp, staccato sound you hear, like the sound you make when you clap your hands
- Dancers often describe as snare as “ka!”
- What Is A “Hi-Hat”?
- A hi-hat is produced by a hi- hat cymbal
- Dancers often describe this sound as “tss tss”
- What Is A “Synth”?
- A “synth” sound, from a sound synthesizer, is produced by electric signals converted to sound through amps and loudspeakers
- A common reference to a “synth” is the synth piano, which may sound like a long, slow bass, “wobba wobba”
- What Are “Strings”?
- Guitar strums and melodies are also useful to take note of, for more instrumental / acoustic songs
- What Is The “Keyboard/Piano”?
- The piano sounds will also accent, or set the melody/harmony of the song.
You’ll discover different combinations of different sounds in layers and layers of any song. Get used to listening and dissecting music so that you can name which sounds are what.
Try This Out:
With more practice in listening and counting to music, you’ll start to see patterns. Maybe there’s a bass drum on each 1st and 5th count, or a snare on every even count.
As you’re clapping or bouncing or whatever you’re doing to mark the beats in the music, take notice of the sound patterns that exist within it. It’ll cue you in to the concept of dance musicality.
What Is Dance Musicality?
Musicality, for dancers, refers to the matching of movement to the rhythm, melody, and mood of the music.
Dance Musicality is demonstrated in several ways, depending on the dancer’s style, the song, and countless other elements.
Check out these 2 pieces to the same song, that are completely different in both style of dance and musicality choice. See if you can hear the difference in dance musicality choices made by the choreographers.
Superstar (Aluna George) – Charles Nguyen
Superstar (Aluna George) – Chris Martin
The cool thing is that everyone listens to music differently. The different ways choreographers interpret the music are translated into movements.
Great choreographers have unique ways of moving to music that bring out sounds you might not have heard when you’re just listening to the song. Now you know what it means when someone says. “UGHHH, her musicality is so sick!”
(See Related Article: How To Train Your Musicality As A Dancer In 3 Simple Steps)
When you’re in tune with the musicality, you can really transmit the feeling of the song through your movement, rather than stiffly hitting beats and noises.
By being more familiar with the different sounds that make up a song, and their relationship to the tempo and flow of it, you’ll have a better understanding of how to execute moves to embody those sounds more closely.
For beginning dancers, we hope that you took away some knowledge on music, and that this will help set a good foundation for the movements you will be applying to them.
Practice the recommended exercises any time you hear a song, and we guarantee you’ll go from claps to choreo in no time.
PART 2: BODY AWARENESS
As a dancer, your body is your most important tool. The more you familiarize yourself with it, the more natural and reflexive it will be to control it.
Skrrrrt. Hold up. Before we get to moving anything, we need to know what we’re moving!
Body Awareness In Dance
Have you ever taken a yoga class? Then you’ll know that a big objective of yoga is simply to be present – in the mind, and the body.
By doing so, you’re bringing together your mental and physical – a healthy and therapeutic practice for anyone.
Similarly, as a dancer, your mind and body must be working together – your mind is the part that understands the music and the intent behind the movement, and your body is the actual tool for moving.
(See Related Article: How To Utilize Your Body To Execute Choreography Better From Carlo Darang (Cookies))
For Better Body Awareness, Try This:
Lay on the floor, and close your eyes. (Turn on some light music here, if you want.)
Go through this list of body parts, and focus your thoughts and feelings on each one.
Flex or move the part to draw more attention to it. Once you feel fully comfortable with where it is and what it feels like, move on to the next one.
- *Try rotating them in and out
- Upper chest
- Core (tummy area)
- Lower abdomen
- *Try turning your neck, and also rolling it clock- and counter-clockwise
It sounds almost too easy to be effective – but the key here is not the difficulty of the movement (which is obviously very minimal).
The key is how familiar you’re becoming with these body parts, which requires a surprisingly great deal of focus. Muscle memory starts with muscle awareness!
Most of us, even as dancers, go about our days or take class without putting much thought into each individual part of our tool. By dedicating your time and energy to getting to know it, you’re practicing the most fundamental dancer hack there is!
Body Placements In Dance
Cool, so we’re getting to know what each part of body feels like in a resting position.
Let’s create some pictures to explore how our bodies look and feel in certain placements.
(See Related Article: 5 Ways A Contemporary Dance Class Can Make You Better)
We’ll be using 3 main ideas for these exercises:
What “focus” refers to in dance is the direction your face is facing. Timed right with a committed facial, your focus has the power to make or break a piece.
Whatever pose you’re holding or pathway you’re moving through, your focus is most commonly straight to the mirror (not the greatest habit, but it’s good to watch yourself at first, when developing body awareness), to the right, to the left, up, down – and to varying degrees.
For example, “right 45” can refer to turning your face toward the right, but only halfway from directly ahead and your right side. “Down left 45” signals looking slightly toward the left, with your chin pointed down, so that your eyes are aimed at the bottom corner of the wall.
For a 2-D visual, think back to math class, and imagine the wall in front of your face being a giant x-y plane.
The corners of the room are the “diagonals” (“45s,” and the ends of the x-axis is the left/right, the y-axis, the up-down.
For Better Body Awareness, Try this:
Stretch your neck to the rhythm of a song, by looking to the
- right, left, right left, ↔ then switch to
- up, down, up, down
- then hit the diagonals! ⤢⤡
- then roll your neck around so your eyes are making a big circle ⤿ and switch directions ⤾
Focus changes will flow naturally as you learn choreography, but sometimes the choreographer will specify certain pictures and combos to have a certain focus.
Posture has a lot to do with the style or mood of the piece.
For example, waacking will call for your chest to be more open, and your focuses will be sharp and purposeful. In a more “ghetto”-feeling piece, your posture might be directed more toward the ground, with a more relaxed torso and shoulders.
Think of posture as relating to body language. A big part of interpersonal communication is based on body language.
Similarly, your posture for a piece will set the tone for each movement in the choreography and consequently, the piece as a whole.
For Better Body Awareness, Try this:
Experiment with different postures and emitting a different “mood,” by putting on songs of varying genres, and having your body react naturally to them.
An upbeat pop song, a rap song, a slow r&b song, house music, EDM – experiment!
Memorize how your body feels, especially your core.
Angles And Pictures
Before getting into full-body poses and movement, let’s study how your body feels hitting certain angles.
These “angles” of your body parts, and the “pictures” they make with your body, are like the action shots that you see from competitions. Such. Clean. Lines!
Think of choreography as having points – Points A and B in the graphic below are the “pictures,” and the in-between movement is called the “pathway.”
We’re going to focus just on the points – the individual angles of your body parts that make those pictures.
For Better Body Awareness, Try this:
Extend your arms straight ahead of you, parallel to the floor. Now, bend at the elbows, creating a perpendicular angle.
Now, extend your arms to the left and right, straight out to each side. Reach as far as you can, through your fingertips! Bend again at the elbows, folding your arms so that your hands are by your clavicles.
Mix up these different “angles” of arms, memorizing how each feels. It’ll help you be a “cleaner” dancer in the long run, knowing exactly how these basic pictures are supposed to feel.
Add different angles to the mix, like diagonal arms, rotating your shoulders, etc.
Flex your limbs as you execute each picture, to really solidify it in your memory.
To exercise your pictures and the pathways between them,
For Better Body Awareness, Try this:
Pick 2 poses. Any 2 poses!
Now, put on some music, and hit your first pose on count 1. And switch to the second pose on count 5.
You can make that switch abrupt, or “milk” in between the 4 counts, by sloooowly getting from one picture to the next.
Part 3: Execution of Movement
The variance in execution is what turns a set of moves into a dance. When you watch dancers who seem to become the music when they dance, it’s because they have a good understanding of the music + their bodies, and how to use that control to depict the sounds they’re hearing
1. Hitting For Beginner Dancers
Usually, (but not always!) loud, heavy sounds in music are going to be matched with an equally powerful move.
These “hits,” wherever they are initiated from in your body, are going to require 3 basic things to be properly executed:
The RIGHT amount of energy
- You don’t want to be too soft and undersell the move,
- but at the same time, you don’t want to over-kill it.
- Remember, the goal is to become/embody music, not compete with it!
- Imagine your energy levels as following the pattern of an audio visualizer to calibrate the impact of your body to that of the song.
Awareness of the body part you are hitting with
- While it’s definitely not good to be late on a hit, anticipating the move and catching it too early (before you actually hear the sound) can be just as disadvantageous. This is where your musicality comes into play!
When you’re watching a video or taking a class, observe all 3 things in how the choreographer executes a move – the power, body part, and timing.
2. “Milking” A Move For Beginner Dancers
“Milking” is a term we hear often. It’s most commonly used to describe movement in in-betweens of pictures – the “pathway” between A and B.
Here are a few ways “milking” is used
- At the end of a move, instead of “putting a period” on it, that is, ending it definitely by stopping the movement, think of it as a “…”
- The “dot dot dot,” connoting that you’re dragging out that move, to extend its pathway past “B,” what would’ve been the stopping point without the milking.
- Or, you can milk from one picture into a completely new picture.
- To practice this, set 2 poses. Every 4 counts, change your position.. but here’s the challenge! Use a different pathway each time, to slowwwly get your body where it needs to be.
- Think of milking as a change in acceleration (ooh, physics terms!)
- Really, all moves are some sort of slowing down, speeding up, or stopping. Milking is just the term for gently stepping on your brakes. Where your car goes (the pathway) is up to you.
3. Speed Control For Beginner Dancers
As mentioned in the previous section, learning how to manipulate your speed is going to be a huge factor in shifting dynamics and textures.
To practice speed control, pretend that your arms are hitting a “wall.” But instead of stopping at this wall, that wall is the checkpoint at which you change your speed.
Go from fast and hard hitting, to completely “milking.” This variance in speed will help switch up the mood and “textures” of a piece.
4. Textures For Beginner Dancers
Think of textures the way you think of the physical connotation of the word. Have you ever heard dancers being described as “smooth“?
They probably move like honey.
Visualize the way that a song feels. Is it staccato, with abrupt starts and stops? Is it flowy and silk-like, with lots of vocals? Is it gruff and interrupted, like an angry rap song?
While many songs do embody a specific “texture,” most have elements of several.
And because a lot of songs carry with them hints of different textures, the variation in your hits, milks, and speed, are all going to contribute to how well you embody those textures, and subsequently how you match the music.
5. Pictures For Beginner Dancers
*This isn’t necessarily on the execution of movement, but the movement involved in achieving a “picture.”
Think of pictures as literal pictures.
If someone were to take a photo of you on the count that you’re hitting a picture, the clearer that photo turns out to be the “cleaner” you are executing that picture.
So.. How do you get a clearer photo?
The timing at which you reach that pose, and the timing out of it, should match the exact sound in the music that your picture’s supposed to land on.
You can either switch directly from pose A to pose B, or “milk” in the pathway between them – but the count that the picture is supposed to be on, should be unmoving (whether it’s for .00001 miliseconds or 30 seconds!)
These were some basic concepts behind the execution of movement. All of these will play into choreography, no matter the style and level. Get familiar with these and you’ll be readily equipped to tackle any piece!
PART 4: TAKING A DANCE CLASS
How do you take a dance class though? What kind of dance class should you be taking? What do you even do during a dance class?! Huh??!?! WHat!!?!1
Fret not, yung grasshopper. Think of STEEZY as your best friend, taking you with them for your first (of many!) dance class experiences.
Get in the car – we’re going dancing.
Looking For A Dance Class In Your Area
If you don’t have a friend who’s already into the dance scene in your area to familiarize you with the local studios, that’s okay! That’s what the interwebz are for!
A quick Google or Yelp search of terms like “Dance classes in ____” or “Dance studios in _____” or “Hip hop classes in _____”
(See Related Article: The Top 8 Dance Studios in Los Angeles)
Once you have a good list of nearby dance studios, go on their websites to see what kind of class offerings they have. If they do not have a website (whaat), call the studio and ask for their schedule. This way, you can ask more questions in a conversation.
Instagram is proving to be an increasingly good tool at discovering local businesses, as well.
(See Related Article: Dancers on Instagram VS. Dancers In Real Life)
If you keep noticing flyers or class videos (either in your personal feed, or through Instagram’s “Explore” page), and click on the location link, you can see where the studio is located.
Better yet, if the studio itself has an account, you can stalk their class schedules and instructors to find out more. Finally, lurking skills from stalking your crush is coming in handy!
If you dig the instructors / classes offered, or the vibe of the studio, add that into your list of prospective places to take class at.
Which Dance Class Should You Take?
Once you’ve secured the place you’ll be taking your dance class, you need to decide which of those (probably) several offered classes to take.
You want to make sure you feel comfortable diving into your first dance class, and that it will benefit you, rather than leave you feeling defeated.
A few things to keep in mind:
- A “Beginner” level dance class is the safest bet to start with
- Much like when you add salt to your food, it’s easier to add more than to take it away. If you start slow, even if it feels “too slow” for you, you can always build up to a more advanced level dance class rather than jumping into something too complicated and having to reset.
- There will be different styles of dance classes, even within “Hip Hop” umbrella
- Jazz funk? Popping? Locking? Advanced choreography? So many different genres fall into “hip hop,” whether directly, or branching off of fundamental styles (such as waacking, popping, house, locking, etc.)
- Either watch these classes at the studio to get a feel for it, or look for YouTube videos of combos in that style
- Map out a variety of different styles in your class-taking schedule to start. You don’t know what you like until you try it! Who knows, you might discover the inner house dancer or fierce voguer in you.
- But again, look for those with a “Beginner” prefix 😉
How To Prepare For A Dance Class
Once you’ve decided on your dance class (where / when / which one), it’s time to get ready.
Choose an outfit that is loose and comfortable, but one that you still feel confident in. By no means do you have to follow the latest trends in “dancer fashion.” It’s about YOU and what makes YOU feel cool.
(See Related Article: The Inconvenient Truths Of Looking “Hip Hop”)
P.S. Wear comfortable shoes! This one’s a must.
Once you get to the studio, you’re going to register at the front desk, pay for your “Drop-In” class, and wait for the room to be ready. There’s usually back to back classes at studios so another class will be filtering out as you’re waiting to enter.
When it is, you’ll go inside and put your stuff down, and wait for the choreographer. Until then, you can just hang out, start stretching, or talk to other dancers in the class.
It’s all about your mindset!
Now’s a good time to take a deep breath and remind yourself that a class is called a class for a reason: you’re there to learn! So instead of being intimidated by the idea of trying something new, get excited to start learning.
What To Do During Dance Class
Now, you’ll learn all of this as you go, but it’s good to have a heads up anyway.
(See Related Article: How To Get The Most Out Of Dance Class (Video))
The choreographer will start (most likely) by introducing themselves, and leading a quick stretch.
Aside from the actual learning process (which we’ll talk about in the next section), there are a few “class etiquette” notes to keep in mind:
- Ask Questions
- If you’re struggling with a move, it’s perfectly fine (encouraged!) for you to ask questions.
- *But don’t do this in excess! Try and figure out the answer yourself first (by looking closer at the move, trying it out in different ways for yourself), and if you really need clarification, ask.
- Switching Lines
- When the choreographer says to “switch lines” – if you’re in the front of the room, move to the back, and vice versa.
- This is to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance at having a good view of the choreographer throughout the class. It’d be a little selfish to stay in the front the whole time, right?
- Switching Inside / Out
- In addition, the choreographer might also ask the class to switch “inside out” / “outside in.” And yep – it’s exactly as it sounds. If you’re toward the middle of the room, move closer to the walls, and vice versa.
- In general, it’s good to move around the room while you take class, regardless if the choreographer is directing the class to or not. It helps you to not grow dependent on your positioning to learn or execute.
- Sitting Down
- There are a few cases when you’ll have to take a seat during the class.
- 1. When the choreographer is demonstrating the moves they taught and you’re in the front of the room.
- We do this so that, when the choreographer first matches the moves to the music, everyone can see what the choreography is supposed to look like
- 2. If the studio is too crowded, and the choreographer needs to demonstrate the choreography for the “back half” to see.
- It’s easy to follow the choreographer if you can actually see what they’re doing, but oftentimes the people in the back of the room have blocked or limited vision. (Especially when it comes to intricate details or footwork). We have the front half of the room sit down while the choreographer can teach the back half of the room, then have the whole class join in once everyone “gets” it.
- When The Choreographer Says To “Watch”
- *This will be when it’s polite for the people in the front of the class to take a knee/seat.
- It’s important to first, even if you know the moves, really WATCH the choreographer demonstrate the piece.
- Take note of where the piece counts in, the true tempo of how fast the song goes, and how the choreographer is hitting each move.
- The closer you pay attention, the closer you’ll know what to emulate.
- When The Choreographer Says To “Mark”
- Marking means that you are doing the piece more in your head than on your body – but you should still be doing it with your body.
- Think of it, as doing the piece, but with less energy. Be more conscious of the music, timing, and where your body placements are rather than releasing your bankai.
- The choreographer might use percentages to indicate how much energy you should be putting into your mark.
- Example: “Let’s go just 50% for this first run-through!” or “Mark it around 80%”
- When The Choreographer Says To “Go Full Out”
- All right, THIS is when you go 100% with your energy. Think of it as the most you can do for everything: cleanliness, timing (that you should’ve perfected in your mark), but now with POWER.
Learning During Dance Class
- The Actual Moves
- Take note of pictures, angles, footwork, focus, etc.
- The Choreographer’s Execution
- WATCH them demonstrate for the class!
- Take note of texture, dynamics, milking, everything from their demeanor and posture to their facials and energy levels.
- Listening To The Music
- A huge huge huge huge huge part of being able to get a piece, is knowing the music.
- Know what sounds you’re hitting, when those sounds come in the music, the tempo, mood, and style of the song.
- Practice Performance
- If you’re satisfied with starting out learning just the choreography, that’s fine!
- But if you feel comfortable with the piece, try and add a little pizzazz to it! Your freestyle, your facials, your personal swag.
(See Related Article: 10 Types Of “Facials” Dancers Make When Performing (Sponsored by Fusion XV))
A class experience is not limited to just learning choreography. Oftentimes, at the tail end of the class, after all the moves are taught, there will be a few things the choreographer has you do.
- This is when the room is divided into sections, and that group will perform the piece as the other students watch.
- This can get intimidating! But it’s also an integral part to your growth. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and just go for it!
- Select Group
- The choreographer may or may not call out a “select group,” a group of students that they noticed and want the rest of the class to watch. The selected dancers may have been really clean, not so clean but performed the crap out of it, had a lot of personal style, or were just fun to watch. There are so many reasons you can get chosen or not for a select group, so don’t overthink it!
- If the choreographer calls out a “any 10 people” or “any 5 people” to be in a group, and you feel comfortable with the piece, you should push yourself to go up!
- Recording Class Footage
- Don’t be surprised if someone (either the studio staff, another student, or a parent) is recording you dance.
- The studio sometimes does this to promote their classes, and students/parents often do this for personal keeping or to post on social media.. (let’s be real)
- And if YOU want to record yourself, ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ask the choreographer first if that’s okay. If they say no, don’t. Lol. And if they say yes, clear it with the studio staff too. Then ask someone to record you so you can critique (or appreciate) how you did. Or post it on Instagram. But not all 4 parts. Please. (:
- The Choreographer’s Solo
- At the very end of the class, the choreographer will most likely perform the piece.
- Honestly, the best thing to do here is just watch. Put your phone down, don’t think about comparing it to how you did it, just watch and be amazed / inspired.
- Thanking The Choreographer After Class
- Once you pick your jaw up from the dance floor, make sure to line up to thank the choreographer. They just shared their craft with you, and hopefully in a way that helped you become a better dancer in some way, so it’s nice / important to show your appreciation.
- You can introduce yourself, say thank you, take a picture if you want. You can ask for critiques or tips, but if there is a long line of people behind you, the more polite thing to do is to keep it short and sweet.
- If you really enjoyed the piece and want to keep practicing it (which we highly recommend you do), ask the choreographer for the song title and artist so you can find it later.
Phew! So there you have it. A guide taking you to, through, and out of your first dance class. Hope this was helpful, and that you enjoy your first steps!
PART 5: SETTING AND ACHIEVING GOALS
So you’ve made your first leaps into the world of dance. Congrats! Welcome!! Yayyyyyy!!!
Now, where do you go from here?
Different dancers dance for different reasons, so let’s talk about 4 different goals you can set for yourself and tips to help you reach them.
Dance Goal For Beginner Dancers, #1:
Train In Different Styles Of Dance
How did your first class go? Was it challenging? Scary? Too easy? Just hard enough?
Your first dance class is quite a hallmark in your dance journey, but it’s only one of many to come.
If versatility is your goal, keep exploring different classes at different studios.
Don’t just take the same beginner class from the same choreographer week after week.
Make a list of specific styles or choreographers you want to train under. Schedule out when and where you can take those classes, and strategize a way to get the most variety as possible.
After a while, you’ll be able to identify what you need extra help in. And you’ll have a better sense of your own “style,” based on the types of pieces you tend to enjoy most.
If you’re looking for a structured training regiment that incorporates a lot of different styles, try our 12-week dance intensive! From grooves to popping to swaggy, we got ’em all: 12-Week Dance Training Intensive On STEEZY Studio
See related articles:
5 Ways A Contemporary Dance Class Can Make You Better
5 Dance Tips To Begin Your Freestyle Foundation
Dance Goal For Beginner Dancers, #2
Level Up! Learn Advanced Choreography
If your goal is to be able to keep up with advanced choreography, set a hard date for the class you want to be able to take in a few months.
Til then, seek out classes that are more and more challenging as time goes on. From beginning classes, intermediate, to more advanced.
And after you take it, don’t stop there! Keep challenging yourself with advanced classes – while you continue to train as a beginner. It’ll push your choreo pickup and execution, while strengthening your foundation.
See related articles:
How To Get The Most Out Of Dance Class (Video)
5 Dance Tips For Picking Up Choreography Faster
Dance Goal For Beginner Dancers, #3
Get Involved In The Dance Community
It’s nice to have a tribe of support for something that started as a personal journey.
So if you want to get to know your fellow dancers – take initiative!
Introduce yourself to the familiar faces you see in class. Definitely introduce yourself to the studio staff. Be vocal in classes, and ask other dancers where they’re from / where they’re going.
Not only that, attend dance shows, competitions, battles, and even team fundraisers. These events spur a lot of conversations, and give you a better vibe (aye) for what the culture is all about.
STEEZY Studio members connect with each other through our Facebook group – where we share videos, ask for tips, give critiques, and even arrange meet-ups!
See related articles:
How To Thrive In A New Dance Community
How To Build A Network In The Dance Community
How To Positively Contribute To The Dance Community
Dance Goal For Beginner Dancers, #4
Experience An Audition For A Team
Lots of us start dancing after watching a team perform. Whether it was on YouTube, or in person, these sets stirred something in us that pushed us to try it out.
Consequently, a lot of dancers’ goals are to perform with a team, on a stage, at a show or competition.
If making it on to a team is your goal – and even if it isn’t! – auditioning is a great experience that can teach you a lot of things.
It’s going to call on you to pick up choreo quickly, in a crowded room, surrounded by other hungry dancers. You’ll have to perform for a panel of judges, and maybe even freestyle.
The pressure might get nerve-wracking, but that’s exactly why that experience is so valuable. It’ll really test where you are as a dancer, and push you to be confident in your abilities.
Look into the dance teams in your area. Ask about auditions or private / mid year auditions if you missed the start of the season.
Even if you don’t end up joining right away, it’s great for the psyche to have a clear goal to aspire to.
See related articles:
If Your Dance Team Was A Woman…This Is How She Would Make You Feel
Want To Know Why A Dance Project Is So Unique? (From The Major Chor. Winners Of Maxt Out XV)
Another great way to train (especially for those who want to develop their confidence to perform over time) is to take class with STEEZY Studio! You can take class from choreographers with tons of great insight and advice.. anywhere/anytime! Get a free account now!
We hope this helped you newer dancers be more motivated to stick around! Again, welcome, and we can’t wait to share this journey with you!