Alphabetical Guide to Different Dance Types, Classes & Styles!

So your little one wants to learn to dance or your bigger one wants to try some different types of classes and you have no idea what you are exactly forking out that money for! Seriously, what is the difference between lyrical and contemporary dance or hip hop break dancing and krumping?

The Dance Parent 101 team has you covered with simple explanations of every dance style your child might come across with some added information on how that type of dance is beneficial for your child. Best of all we are constantly updating and adding more to this list all the time. So if the dance style you are after is not here check back soon! Or send me a DM through my socials at the bottom of the page and we will see what we can do!

We have also included links to some of our more comprehensive articles on the different types of dance, so if you have a little more time click on a link for more information on that style.

Dance Styles in Alphabetical Order – Quick Click Menu!

A

Acrobatic Dance

Acrobatic dance is exactly a combination of its name. A good acrobatic dance routine seamlessly mixes traditional dance skills ranging from jazz, ballet, lyrical, or even hip hop with acrobatic skills…..read more


Afro or African Dance

African dance describes a wide range of dance styles that originated in sub-Saharan Africa. These dance styles are known for having a driving rhythm.  The steps frequently involve the entire body, and often dancers must rely on musical signals rather than strict counting…..read more

B

Ballet

Ballet is a formalized set of movements performed with skill, technique, and grace. A ballet class anywhere in the world will follow a consistent pattern involving barre and centre work all developing strength, technique…..read more


Barre Fitness

Barre fitness is an amazing workout inspired by ballet, pilates, and yoga movements. It allows participants to engage in a low-impact, highly beneficial physical activity. Barre fitness classes increase strength, improve flexibility and balance while…..read more


Belly Dance

Belly dance (or Oriental dance) is possibly the most ancient form of dancing.  It started in the Middle East, and, contrary to popular belief, was not performed as a way for women to entertain men.  Instead, belly dance is traditionally performed by…..read more


Bolero

Bolero, also known as “Baile de Palillos” and “Goyescas,” is a slow, beautiful dance with smooth, fluid movements. This Spanish, 3/4 dance has a dramatic, theatrical style that involves stomping, quick motions, poses, and sharp turns as well as an infusion of many ballet movements. An iconic Bolero move is an arched arm over a…..read more


Bournonville Method

The Bournonville method, created in the Romantic era of ballet, was created by the Danish dancer and choreographer, August Bournonville in the mid-1800’s.  This style of ballet is known for small, fast footwork (bravura), emphasized by movements of the torso, arms, and head in the direction of the feet (epaulement).  Additionally, Bournonville ballets require a lot of acting and….read more


Brain Dance

The BrainDance is not a dance style, but a “flexible framework” that was developed by Anne Green Gilbert and heavily informed by Bartenieff Fundamentals. It is a somatic exercise that can be performed in a…..read more


Break Dance

Breaking/Bboying/Bgirling is a form of street dance that was born from the Bronx, New York in the 1970s, and is the first original form of Hip Hop dance. The B in Bboying/Bgirling is said to refer to the breakdowns or breakbeats that the dancers would go off to. DJ Kool Herc would lengthen these sections by using two records of the same song, so he could loop the breakdown portion giving the dancers more…..read more


Broadway Jazz

Broadway jazz, or theater jazz originated in the 1920’s.  It was the first time dance was an important part of a play’s plot, and viewers fell in love. It is a unique blend of ballet, modern, and jazz and is distinguished by its emphasis on exaggerated movements, high energy, and story-telling. It is almost always performed by a troupe of dancers…..read more 


Burlesque Dance

Burlesque dance is a sensual, sometimes bawdy and comedic dance style reserved for adults. Historically, burlesque dance was a part of variety shows as early as the late 1800s that featured lewd comedy, suggestive dancing, pantomime, and later, the striptease. One famous example of early 20th century burlesque can be seen in the movie “Gypsy” starring Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee, a real burlesque dancer, whose gimmick was to strip down to nearly nothing but never reveal…..read more

C

Cheerleading

Cheerleading is a sports and acrobatics activity that includes chanting, dancing, stunting, and tumbling. There are a few different types of Cheerleading. School or community-based Cheerleading, Recreational Cheer, Preparation Cheerleading (Prep Cheer), and…..read more


Clogging

Clogging, or clog dance, originated in the foothills of Appalachia around the mid-1700s, and was adapted from a combination of the folk dances of the early American settlers of the area, who came from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. Each of these cultures had their own rich history of folk dancing and folk music, which all included some form of…..read more


Commercial Dance

Commercial dance pulls moves from jazz, hip hop, breakdance, popping, krumping, and street dance, but for entertainment purposes might also include ballet or…..read more


Competitive Dance

Competitive dance is an umbrella term that encompasses many styles of dance, including but not limited to ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, hip hop, and acro dance. You will normally not see a dance class labeled as simply “Competitive Dance”; rather, the class may be called something like “Competition Team Jazz Class”, which simply indicates that the dancers participating are a part of the studio’s competition team. To best understand competitive dance…..read more


Contemporary Dance

Contemporary Dance or Contemporary Ballet requires the skills, technique, and flexibility of a ballet dancer. It uses these skills to create movement and choreography that deviates and…..read more


Country Western Dance

Country Western Dance is a casual style of dance that is performed to American country music. Stiff cowboy boots are commonly worn during this dance as many of the movements do not require feet to be flexible. Country Western dance is compromised of heel and toe-tapping, as well as stepping and sliding across the floor or…..read more


Creative Movement Dance

Creative Movement refers to a dance practice where the students are responsible for generating movement, in response to a prompt of some kind. Students explore concepts of Body, Effort, Space, Time, and Relationship while developing a personal vocabulary of locomotor and…..read more

D

Demi Character

Demi Character Dance is generally found in addition to classical ballet sections at dance eisteddfods and competitions. They allow the ballet dancer to showcase their technique whilst portraying a…..read more


Disco

Disco is a subculture and a popular style of dance music that began in USA nightclubs in the 1970s. It was the defining music of this decade and is a combination of funk and soul music. Disco’s distinct sound made it synonymous with dancing, fun, and…..read more


Drill Team

Drill teams require dancers to move in unison to specific, sharp dance movements. Two popular types of drill teams include…..read more


Dunham Technique

Katherine Dunham validated African Americans as performers and brought their cultural heritage to the concert and Broadway stage; along the way she sought to break down racial barriers off stage as well…..read more

E

F

Fosse Jazz

Fosse Jazz was created in the 1940’s and 50’s by Bob Fosse as an offshoot of Broadway jazz. Fosse pulled inspiration from his background in vaudeville, the teachings of Broadway jazz founder Jack Cole, his work with Fred Astaire, and his own insecurities (he did not like his hands or his thinning hair and didn’t have good turnout), he developed a unique…..read more


Freestyle

Freestyle dancing is complete improvisation of movement by the dancer. Dancers do not plan or choreograph their motions beforehand and there is not a rehearsal of the routine. All movements are decided intuitively and in the moment, creating an…..read more 


Funk

Funk was created in the 1970s in California. It is a culture, and a movement, with signature music and dance. The funk sound is the perfect fusion of several genres including jazz, hip hop, and disco. It’s also a type of dance that is used to describe many street dance styles from this era including tutting, the robot, popping, and locking all of which you can…..read more

G

Graham Technique

Martha Graham once said, “My dancing is not an attempt to interpret life. It is the affirmation of life through movement.” Her choreography is known for its dramatic exploration of the human psyche and interpersonal relationships, with inspiration coming from sources including her childhood in…..read more

H

Heels Dance

A heels class can be one of two things depending on the dancers it’s intended for. A heels class in the context of a children and teen’s dance studio will be a class that includes jazz, street jazz, theatre dance and/or commercial dance styles that…..read more


Hip Hop Dance

Hip Hop as a dance type is a popular form of movement that has evolved since the ’70s from its origins of break dancing. It was when musical rhythms slowed down that hip hop and…..read more


Horton Technique

If you’ve ever seen Alvin Ailey’s Masterpiece Revelations, you have witnessed the Horton Technique. It is a codified modern dance technique rooted in clear lines and shapes, with an important attention paid to…..read more

I

Irish Dance

Irish dancing was born from the rituals and folk dances of the celts and druids. Irish dancing was also influenced by the Norman culture when they invaded and settled in Ireland in the 12th century. It was around the 18th century that Irish dance became more formalized and it was common for a dance master to travel…..read more

J

Jazz Ballet

Jazz Ballet or Jazz Dance as taught and examined at a dance school or competition today is basically another deviation of classical ballet, although it hasn’t always been this way originally developing from strong African American roots with references to early Caribbean…..read more


Jazz Fusion

Jazz fusion is a unique style of jazz dance that does just what its name implies – fuses together multiple styles of dance for a hybrid class all its own! Drawing inspiration from classic jazz, street jazz, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary, a jazz fusion class could truly be anything the…..read more

K

Krumping

Krump is a style of street dance affiliated with Hip Hop that began in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, and is known for it’s intense rawness and controlled power, giving it an aggressive and…..read more

L

Leaps & Turn Technique Class

Leaps & Turns is typically offered as an additional training opportunity for dancers enrolled in jazz and ballet dance classes. Because leaps & turns focus on improving technical skills for leaps, jumps and turns it is called a technical class, and enrollment in this class is highly encouraged for…..read more


Line Dance

Line Dance is a social and fun type of choreographed movement, danced in lines and sometimes positioned patterns. The basic choreography of line dancing includes formations of 1 or more lines of people that perform the same steps in sequence to…..read more


Lyrical Dance

Lyrical Ballet or Lyrical Jazz? Are they different types of dance or the same? Ironically they are the same but different! Lyrical dance can be more ballet or more jazz. It can be more contemporary or even more hip hop. So if a style of dance can be both Ballet and…..read more


Locking

Locking emerged from the West Coast in the 1970s, and was created by Don Campbell. This style of dance is usually performed to funk music, and the movement is characterized by locks, wrist rolls, Uncle Sam points, high fives, the hambone, The Scooby Doo, Scooby Walk, Scoobot,…..read more

M

Majorette Dancing

Majorette dancing in the United States takes on two forms that are related, but vary based on region. In some places, namely the Midwest and the South, traditional majorette dancing takes place in front of or alongside a marching band, and involves mainly baton twirling and clean, crisp jazz technique. You often see majorettes alongside cheerleaders at high school and…..read more


Modern Dance

Modern dance emerged as a form of artistic expression and freedom from dancers who were bound by the strict and conforming rules of ballet or dancers that did not have the financial means to attend formal dance training…..read more


Musical Theater

Dancers that perform musical theater are usually referred to as “triple threats” for their ability to sing, dance, and act because the style of dance blends the performance of choreography and vocals in the form of…..read more

N

O

P

Pilates

Pilates is an excellent form of cross-training for dancers. What we currently refer to as “Pilates” refers to the system of Contrology developed by Joseph Pilates in the…..read more


Pom Dance

Pom Dance is dancing while using Pom Poms and is a style mainly performed by high school  and college students at halftime during basketball season and other school athletic events, but pom dancers may travel to compete as well. Pom dance is sometimes also known as…..read more


Polynesian Dance

Polynesian dance is a group of dance styles including Tongan, Hawaiian style dances such as the Hula, Tahitian, Samoan, New Zealand (Maori) and Fijian. Many of these dances expressed feelings or told stories and were often paired with traditional instruments and…..read more


Popping

Popping is considered to be one of the original Hip Hop dance styles and has come to describe a variety of movement types. Underneath the giant umbrella term that is Popping, there are many different sub-styles and off-shoots, and what is considered definitively to be popping is…..read more

Q

R

S

Street Jazz

Street jazz is a lively, eclectic and unique form of jazz dance that focuses on movement that evolved outside of a studio setting; “in the streets”, if you will. Drawing from an individual form of expression, street jazz includes elements of house, vogueing, wacking, locking, popping, and…..read more


Swing

Swing culture originated in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s after the rise in popularity of swing music. The swing movement includes a signature sound – a style of jazz music – as well as fashion…..read more

T

Tap Dance

Tap dance is essentially making rhythmical percussion sounds using your feet. To enhance the noise being produced metal plates are screwed onto a tap dancer’s shoes. A shoe with a wide heel is generally best for this. Sound is then made by tapping the balls or heels onto a hard wooden or similar surface to create a…..read more


Tutting

Tutting is one of the funk styles/street dance styles affiliated with Hip Hop, and is considered by most to be an off-shoot of…..read more


Theatre Jazz

Theatre jazz, or theatre dance, is a style of dance which includes traditional jazz dance technique with the addition of storytelling through acting. Jazz dance by itself sometimes includes elements of storytelling…..read more

U

V

Vaganova Method

The Vaganova Method is one of the most popular and well recognized ballet methods in the world. Created by Agrippina Vaganova, it is a commonly taught form of ballet and many dance studios use it as the foundation and teaching syllabus for…..read more


Voguing 

Voguing is a style of dance, fashion, and subculture that originated in Harlem, New York, developing between 1960-1980, evolving from drag competitions and pageantry balls within the…..read more

W

Waacking

Waacking is a style associated with street and hip hop dance that is characterized by intricate fast arm movements and vogues or freezes. Much of the movement originates in the shoulders and some moves look similar to a person dancing with invisible…..read more

X

Y

Z

Zumba

Zumba Ⓡ Fitness is a Latin Dance-inspired dance cardio workout. Zumba was founded in 2001 by Beto Perez. Perez was teaching Aerobics and forgot his class music. But! He had his personal collection of Cumbia and Salsa music in the car, so he put it on and…..read more