Which type of dance is best for teenage beginners?
For our series Ask A Dance Teacher, we asked dance teacher Johanna Hadley some common questions about ballet training.
Our question was, “Which type of dance is best for a teenage beginner?”
I think the first thing a teenage beginner needs to think about is their reason for wanting to start dancing. Dance can be a great, fun form of exercise for people of all ages, so you want to find a style and school that matches your needs. If you’re thinking about dancing as a career, then choose your dance school carefully. Try to find one that can help you to catch up with teenagers of the same age and that has experience of students being accepted into dance colleges/universities. Time is limited when you’re a teenage beginner and you don’t want to spend precious time at a recreational dance school if you’re aiming to dance professionally.
If someone is wanting to start dancing as a teenager with a view to a career in dance, they have to be prepared to work hard to catch up with their peers. Don’t immediately expect to join in with a class of similarly-aged dancers, who may have been dancing since they were three years old. It is important to respect a dance teacher’s decision on this matter and to follow their suggestions to help you catch up, even if it means temporarily joining in with younger students. If you’re wanting to train seriously, you need to learn the basics carefully to create a solid foundation. The good news, however, is that beginner teenagers often progress quickly and don’t need to spend as long going over the basics as a young child. Some dance schools offer classes specifically for teenage beginners or offer fast-track programmes to help newcomers catch up with those of the same age.
Which dance style is best for a teenage beginner?
Some dance styles can be more difficult to learn and could potentially put someone off if they’re finding the progression too slow.
If you’re wanting to dance for fun, then think about dance styles like street, contemporary, commercial or lyrical. They’re quick to pick up and rewarding. The most important thing is to ask yourself what you’d like to learn. Don’t join a class just because your friend wants you to come with them or even because it’s been suggested in a blog! If you have a desire to learn a certain style of dance, then this is the best class for you to join. You’ll go to the class with a drive to learn and look forward to going each week.
If you’re wanting to dance with the hope of going to a dance college or university, look at what you’ll be required to show in your audition for your ideal dance college. If it’s a ballet class and jazz class, then this is the best place to start.
As a teenage beginner, it’s certainly not impossible to catch up with your peers: there are stories of dancers such as American Ballet Theatre Principal Misty Copeland, who only began ballet classes at age 14.
Johanna Hadley is a fully qualified dance teacher at the Janet Lomas School of Dancing in Bury, Lancashire.
She regularly teaches children from beginner to advanced levels, with students gaining places at some of the UK’s top full-time ballet schools.
Her Silver Swans® ballet class have been widely featured on TV, radio and in national newspapers.