Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Canberrans hear the music.

Whether you want to learn hip hop, classical ballet or the seductive art of belly dance — you won't be disappointed with the range of dance classes Canberra has on offer.

With its population not quite stretching to half a million, the capital city of Australia has a misguided reputation for being stuffy, boring and lacking in entertainment. Nothing could be further from the truth, but this may well be a secret the locals feel is worth keeping.

One of these secrets is the huge Canberra dance culture. From north Canberra to the deep south and new suburbs, you don't have to look far to find dance events, classes or performances. Whether you just want to get into dancing for fun and fitness, are keen to try new dance styles, have children or students who would benefit from dancing, or if you are more serious about a professional dancing career—you'll find dance classes Canberra wide, and an abundance of studio teachers and private tutors, to meet your needs.

Why Dance?

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.

~ Wayne Dyer

As children, we move our bodies instinctively in a dancing rhythm. The trick is to keep this happening through to our twilight years.

We are aware of the physical and mental benefits of dancing—many enrol in social dance classes for fun and fitness—but there are other benefits too.

What dancing is the best for fitness?
A dance fitness-oriented class each week, like Zumba, is great for fitness and socialisation | source: Pixabay - arembowski

Apart from improved health and fitness, making time to participate in a class just once a week can help adults, students and young children to:

  • make new friends (avoiding social isolation if you're new to Canberra can be hard)
  • improve teamwork skills
  • communicate ideas in new ways
  • develop spatial awareness, flexibility and strength
  • unwind after school or work
  • discover a sense of wellbeing
  • build confidence

Check your local community noticeboards, or get online with Superprof to find group or private lessons to help you gain the benefits of dance.

Canberra Dance Schools: Catering for Children to Adults

Many of the dance schools in and around Canberra offer lessons, events and performance opportunities for all ages and levels. With a key goal of instilling a love of dance in their students and the community, they will often teach a range of styles from fitness through to performance specific, and beginner levels through to vocational dance courses.

Where can I learn dancing in Canberra?
Everyone from beginners through to advanced dancers can have fun performing in dance school productions | Source: Unsplash - Rainier Ridao

Before you rush to contact the first school you see and enrol in the next available class, take some time to consider your personal goals. Are you just looking to improve your fitness or meet new people? Do you want to carve a career in dance or become a dance teacher yourself?

Also take your limitations into account. Do you have any injuries or physical conditions that may affect your ability to fully participate each week? Can you manage the time commitment?

Contact the school to find out more about the requirements of the specific class. If they offer trial lessons, or come-and-try sessions, sign up as these can be a great way to see if this particular class is for you. Not everyone is cut out for classical ballet, but you may discover that belly dance, hip hop or Scottish country folk dancing are right up your alley.

Asking about appropriate clothing and footwear is a good idea too. For a weekly practice session, leggings or track suit pants and a t-shirt, with comfortable and supportive shoes, will probably be perfect in most cases. Some dance styles, such as ballet, do require specific footwear—whereas in African dancing, you can get away with bare feet.

If you're enrolling your young children or secondary school students in a class, find out what the process is for parents. Can you join in or watch? Is it okay to drop them off and return in time to pick them up?

The cost of lessons is highly dependent on a number of factors, such as the size of the group, purpose and age of the students. Your best bet is to contact schools to ask about their pricing. Look out for bulk prices, sibling discounts, casual rates and membership deals. If you're after private lessons, as a guide, the average cost of private dance lessons offered by Superprof tutors is $30-$50 an hour, depending on your location.

A few of the many dance schools in Canberra are:

  • Dance Development Centre
  • Dance Central
  • Gumnut Dance (children)
  • 6th Position (traditional styles, 16 years and older)
  • Project Beats (hip hop)

Community Dance Classes in Canberra

Joining your local social dance group is a great way to meet people, have fun and learn some new skills. If you get a buzz out of performing, these community-based groups often perform at local and interstate events.

Where can I find social dance groups in Canberra?
There is a huge number of social dance groups in Canberra - take your pick of anything from bush and folk dancing to Rock & Roll music and dance | Source: Visualhunt

These groups are not solely about dancing. Many community dance groups are also involved in fundraising efforts, supporting local charities and migrant groups. They are all about socialisation as well, frequently following up a dance class with a movie night or dinner.

Why not try your hand at African dancing? Or perhaps a good old fashioned bush dance is more your style?

If you're looking at building your personal wellbeing, several community organisations, such as Dance Your Life Canberra, provide opportunities to explore your feelings through dance. Of course, if it is purely fun fitness you're seeking, check out your local evening colleges or community centres for exercise-based dance classes.

A handful of Canberra's community dance groups include:

  • Folk Dance Canberra (children from 4 years old - adult advanced)
  • Dance for Wellbeing (focus on people with disabilities)
  • Tuggeranong Arts Centre — Fresh Funk
  • Canberra Bush Dancers and Musicians
  • Drum Effect (African drumming and dance)
  • Latin Music and Dance
  • Earthly Delights (historic dance and music)

Private Dance Class Opportunities

There are a number of reasons why you might prefer or need private dance tuition. It may be that you are shy, however, it's more likely you will have a specific goal that requires short or long term intensive support — where having a private tutor can be a great asset.

Where can I find private dance lessons in Canberra?
Many dance schools or teachers offer private lessons to newly engaged couples | Source: Unsplash: Scott Broome

There are multiple benefits to private tuition, including:

  • a personalised approach that fits your learning style
  • attention to detail
  • a deeper understanding of your needs will assist your tutor to help you more efficiently
  • specialised assistance — preparation for an audition or solo performance
  • mentoring relationship — more than just the dance class

Another important benefit, particularly for students who are looking to make a career out of dancing, is the advice you can receive from your private instructor about diet, preparation, nerves, injury prevention and management and so on. If your instructor is an experienced dancer and performer, their advice will be second to none.

Many dance schools offer private lessons, for individuals or couples, as well as group lessons. Private dance tutors may also advertise online, or on community noticeboards. Perhaps your dance society has a teacher who is offering private lessons on the side? Of course, Superprof has a number of dance tutors, covering a range of styles, who can provide private lessons in your home, a studio, or even online.

Private dance lessons: a few places to get you started

  • Subsdance Dance Studio (weddings, performance, private events)
  • Salsabor (singles or couples, Latin)
  • Canberra School of Dancing (Ballroom, Latin, New Vogue and more, individuals, couples, small groups)
  • Kokoloco Dance Studio (bridal, individuals)
  • Lisa Clark Dance Centre (children and students)

Before you hire a private tutor, be clear on your goals and reasons for needing one-on-one lessons, as well as the time frame you require. Do your research. If you're paying extra for a private lesson, you want to know you are going to get value for your money — particularly if you are wanting to audition for a performance or dance academy.

The Superprof platform provides information about the tutor's experience, qualifications and area of expertise. Get in contact with them. Ask questions. Many Superprof tutors offer their first lesson for free.

Why walk when you can dance?

~ Ellen van Dam

If this is you, if dancing around your house while you're cleaning brings you joy, then follow your dream. If the worst you do is have fun, then you're winning.

Go along to a Canberra music festival or celebration. Watch the performances. Talk to the dancers. You'll be surprised at how many dance classes Canberra has — from formal schools to community groups to private lessons, there's a dance for you.

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Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.