Can You Learn to Dance Online? [Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and more]

I always wanted to learn dance but never had the courage to start! This article helped me realise I can start learning online! #dance #onlinedanceclass #ballet #dancelesson

Dance is a skill many believe can only be taught by a professional. With technology as advanced as it has become, there are no set rules as to where or how you can learn how to dance. It is all up to the individual and what work they are willing to put into it.

Can you learn to dance online? The basics of dance can be learned online if you have the discipline for it. If you really want to hone your skills and go far in the dance industry, then it is best to take classes with a professional and experienced teacher. This is so they can critique and advise you in person which can’t be done by watching an online video tutorial.

It might be your life long dream to learn to dance or you might just wake up one day and decide you want to learn how to dance, but you don’t have the time to sign up for classes, or they’re all full, too expensive or just too far from your home! This shouldn’t discourage you in the slightest. You can learn to dance online if you have the discipline for it.

Learning Dance from Online Videos

If you take the time to look around, you will find that there are plenty of free online videos and tutorials that you can watch that will teach you the basics of dance. The main platform for these videos is the one and only YouTube. This is where you can find lessons for hip-hop, tap, ballet. You name it, and YouTube will have a video for it. The problem you may run into is figuring out which video is right for you.

The following are a few tips to help you consider which video to choose:

  • Length
    • One of the first things to look at when trying to find the perfect video that suits your needs is the length of the video. If you can’t commit to practicing for more than 30 minutes a day, then don’t get sucked into lessons from a choreographer that tend to run on the long side.
  • Choreographer
    • You want to make sure that you are watching videos from a legit choreographer. The last thing you want is to devote time and energy following the lessons of someone that has absolutely no idea what they themselves are doing. Not everyone can teach dance. You can check out their about page on YouTube and google their name to find out more information about their experience.
  • Method
    • Everyone has different ways that they process information. Some need lessons that are slow and steady without too many steps in between. While others pick up things quicker than most and can follow along effortlessly without getting lost.
  • Style
    • The hardest part is picking the dance style that you want to learn and feel that you can stick with no matter what. Don’t just choose hip-hop because it’s the most popular. You must find a dance that speaks to you and makes you want to devote the time and energy to it every day.
  • Quality
    • It is already challenging trying to learn a new skill just through watching a video; you don’t want to be hindered by a video that has bad quality. You want to be able to see every move the choreographer makes clearly. Bad audio or filming can really hinder your ability to stick with it.

Practice Practice Practice

I always wanted to learn dance but never had the courage to start! This article helped me realise I can start learning online! #dance #onlinedanceclass #ballet #dancelesson

The one thing that is true, no matter what type of dance you choose to learn, is the need to practice consistently. You can’t expect to learn to be a great dancer in one day! You need to begin with the mindset that you have to consistently practice every week as many times as possible to gain muscle memory, flexibility, and great technique.

  • Schedule
    • A good way to keep up with your practice is to specifically schedule a time each day that you will devote to training. Do not make any other plans during these times and develop the mindset that your dance training is important – set your calendar to busy. Treat your dance training like it’s a job – you wouldn’t skip a day working unless you were sick.
  • Partner
    • Something that may help you stay focused when it comes to keeping up with your dance lessons is finding someone who wants to learn with you. Just like a workout buddy, taking online dance lessons with another person will help keep you stay motivated, and will hold you accountable to someone else.
  • Routine
    • A fun way to ensure you keep up with your dance lessons is to choreograph your own dance routine. Repetition can become tedious and cause you to want to quit the lessons altogether, but once you feel like you are getting the basics down, then coming up with a dance routine all of your own can liven the lessons back up again.
  • Perform
    • Don’t be afraid to show what you are learning or your routine to other people. By performing in front of an audience, however big or small, you can receive some constructive criticism back. This will allow you to fix any mistakes you are making, which usually a dance teacher would do.
  • Space
    • Create a space in your room or home that you can easily without much hassle set up to for training so you don’t spend time procrastinating or getting distracted. This might include easy access to a powerpoint and a good spot where you can easily see your tablet or laptop, easy access to any equipment you might be using and a full-length mirror to check your own movements.
  • Change Your Environment
    • Alternatively if you get claustrophobic or feel like you haven’t seen the light of day in forever since you started taking an online dance class, then change the scenery. Technology nowadays makes it possible to take your dance lessons with you wherever you want to go, so don’t stay cooped up.

Equipment

When you start out learning dance online you really don’t need any equipment. Dancing in loose clothing and a pair of socks or sneakers or a pair of boots for tap dancing in a space that is large enough to move around is all you really need.

But….

Depending on what type of dance you want to learn, it will help you be more successful if at some point you use specialized equipment for the genre of dance you are learning. You can’t expect to be able to pull off certain techniques or choreography if you don’t have the proper attire or shoes.

The following are a couple of examples of the equipment you should get to be successful in some popular dancing styles:

  • Tap Dancing
    • Tap shoes are the most important item or piece of equipment you can own if you want to perfect the art of tap dancing. Tap shoes have sturdy soles with a heel (both men and women’s tap shoes have some sort of raised heel). Metal plates are attached with screws to the ball and heel of the shoes, which allow the dancer to make the tapping sounds. Without these special additions then it would not be considered tap dancing.
    • Another piece of equipment is a portable floor. You do not want to tap on just any hard surface you come across. Not only could it ruin the metal on the bottom of your shoes (a concrete pavement will definitely damage the metal plates), but if you try tapping on tile or a home wooden floor for example with your tap shoes on, you could break the tile or scratch the polished wooden floor and you’ll get no sound on carpet. A portable and easily storable circle or square of dance flooring such as one of these works perfectly for practicing and performing tap dance anywhere.
  • Ballet
    • Ballet shoes are a good investment when learning ballet. Ballet shoes are a soft slipper made of canvas or leather. They have flexible soles that provide just enough grip on the floor whilst also letting a dancer move fluidly. Advanced dancers wear pointe shoes that have wood or plastic inner soles that support the foot to stand en pointe or on the tip or your toes. Pointe shoes are not for beginners, as you can twist or break an ankle without enough experience and training.
    • Portable dance flooring is also helpful when learning ballet online. Top ballet studios have specially sprung floors covered in a layer of Marley or Tarkett which is similar to laminate flooring but specially made for dancing on. Small squares or circles of Marley are available online. Also making sure you are on a sturdy flat surface to ensure you are able to maintain proper balance is key in ballet. An uneven surface would make this hard to accomplish, especially when you are moving from one position to another.
    • A ballet barre is another piece of equipment that can enhance your learning and there are plenty of light portable ones you can get online.
  • Jazz
    • Again, it comes down to the shoes. Jazz’s dance style allows you to choose between several types of shoes the main ones being, jazz shoes or jazz sneakers. Jazz sneakers are generally worn for classes that are a fusion of both jazz and hip hop dance. Whereas jazz shoes are the main style worn as they are lighter and not as chunky as jazz sneakers allowing for more technical movements to be completed. Both shoes allow a dancer to have flexibility in their foot and traction along the ground when moving about.
    • Jazz dance is all about performing, hence the jazz hands. Generally as long as the surface you are dancing on is flat and not hard and unforgiving like concrete you will be able to dance although most dance classes are conducted in dance studios with the same Marley or Tarkett flooring as for ballet lessons. Portable dance flooring can also help in jazz dance to master turns, balances, isolations and other techniques that don’t require the dancer to travel a lot.
  • Hip Hop
    • To study hip hop all you need is your laptop, phone or tablet and enough space to learn the moves and choreography. Activewear or loose clothing such as a tracksuit are good options of clothing as they don’t inhibit your movement. And although some styles of big baggy clothing are a popular style choice for this genre a dancer can actually get caught or trip over their clothing causing them to injure themselves.

Dance is something that you can learn through online classes if you just want to try something new or if you have dreamt of learning to dance but have never had the courage or opportunity to do so. There are plenty of classes online that you can find that will teach you the basics of any dance style you want to learn. If dance is something that you want to do professionally, then you can start off learning online, but you’re going to want to eventually turn to a dance teacher to help you get there..

About the Author

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha is a wife and mother of four kids aged 1-9. She danced and acted from the age of 5 and performed in film clips, on television, and in musical theatre professionally. She also taught dance, but after leaving the profession to backpack through Europe, Canada and the USA with her husband for three years, she then completed an Education Degree and taught within primary schools in Australia. Today she is a business owner with her husband and the creator and writer for Dance Parent 101 where she hopes her previous experience as a dancer, current experience as a dance parent and the research and writing skills she gained completing her education degree will help enlighten parents on their journey with their child through the world of dance.