Perth is known for much more than just its gorgeous beaches and laid-back atmosphere - did you know it also has a thriving arts and dance scene? We have the renowned Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) to thank for that, but there are also dance studios in every suburb, as well as an excellent range of workshops.
You can also get inspired to dance by heading down to one of Perth's many theatres to soak up some ballet with the Western Australian Ballet or contemporary dance performance by Co3 studios.
But an amateur dancer to do when seeking the perfect class? Whether you're a dance newbie looking for a casual class, a fitness nut hoping to incorporate more dance into your week or an aspiring dancer hoping to pursue higher education and live out your dream on the stage, we've got you covered.
So... Why Join A Dance Class?
There are so many benefits to starting dance classes! On the fitness side of things, you can get an amazing workout, tone your muscles and improve your coordination and overall posture. Most classes begin with a warmup and finish with some gentle stretching - so you'll get a full-body workout and feel amazing afterwards!
If you're new to Perth, chances are you're looking to make new friends in one of the most isolated cities in the world. Partnered dance styles like ballroom, tango or salsa are great for this, but you'll meet lots of fresh new faces at any dance classes or events you attend regularly. Joining a community of passionate dancers can help you stay motivated and committed to your dance practice.
From Classical Ballet to Choreography Masterclasses
Perth's elite ballet academy is the West Australian Ballet. They programme around 6 ballets per year - usually classic dances such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. They also have a strong community engagement programme, running school holiday ballet workshops aimed at younger dancers, as well as Adult ballet lessons for amateur dancers and masterclasses for those who want to take their dancing to the next level.
You can even book in for their "Open Friday" sessions, which allows you to view the company's dancers go through their morning classes. Perfect for inspiring the young ballerina at home or if you want to know more about how elite dancers train.
If you're passionate about modern forms of dance, you could take a course at Co3 Dance, which has its residence at the State Theatre Centre of WA. They are a professional dance troupe, programming many inspiring performances throughout the year. They also offer school holiday programs and performances for younger dancers, and teachers can even sign their whole class up for specially-tailored school programs for high school students during term time.
STRUT Dance is another studio, putting on performances and offering a wide range of classes to both amateur and professional dancers. Their "public" classes can be taken at either the beginner or intermediate level, whilst professional dancers can benefit from their drop-in classes with a number of different teachers. There is a lot going on during the year at STRUT, with choreographic workshops for those interested in learning how to put together slick routines, and residencies with different established choreographers.
For a holistic dance education (that could include singing and acting!), you should look into WAPS (The Western Australia Performance School). Have you ever dreamed of becoming a cheerleader? WAPS offers classes for that! As well as the classics, such as ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, modern jazz and tap... WAPS caters to many different levels and style of dancers.
Take A Class or Workshop At A Private Dance School
Each suburb of Perth has something to offer from the world of dance - it's just up to you to find out which style you prefer, pick a dance style conveniently close by and make contact for your first class. Unsure of where to start? Let's take a look at how to choose a local dance studio and start learning a new style...
For the total beginner dancer, you'll need to ask yourself a few questions before looking into local dance schools:
- Your physicality - can you handle a more intense type of dance, or would you prefer something more relaxed?
- Your social circle - will you dance partnered or solo? Remember - dance classes are a great place to make new friends!
- Your personal goals - are you hoping to enter an elite dance academy one day, or is this just for your own personal pleasure?
- Your experience - even if you only did a few ballet or tap classes as a child, you might be surprised what sticks! Now is your chance to return to a form of dance you loved as a kid...
- Your taste in music - if you hate jazz, definitely don't take up tap! Let your music tastes guide you towards a form of dance that will suit you.
For total beginners, it's a good idea to start with a form of dance that doesn't require any extra kit - try hip-hop classes or tango before branching out into ballet and buying a whole set of new kit, or shiny new tap shoes!
And a few other things to consider when choosing a class...
- Your social life - could you join up to a class with friends and help motivate and inspire each other to learn?
- Your location - find a class that is near to you and you're unlikely to show up late! Or if you live remotely, try a dance class online.
- Your budget - going regularly is more important, so try setting aside part of your monthly budget for regular dance lessons
- Are you ready to commit? If not, see which dance studios near you have a drop-in class for beginners, or they may even offer the first lesson free of charge!
If Latin dance is more your thing, there are a host of classes across Perth. You can learn the ropes at one of the dedicated salsa and bachata academies, and then read up on where to strut your stuff through this website. It lists all the different pubs, clubs and bars offering salsa dancing.
Salsa is particularly good for couples wanting to find a new hobby they can share together. No partner? No worries! Salsa nights are generally very friendly places where you can ask anyone to dance. If you show up alone, it's almost certain that someone will ask you to dance! This can be a great way to learn the moves from more salsa dancers with a few years of experience.
Another popular form of partnered dance is swing dance. There are different swing organisations throughout Perth, but a good place to start might be Perth Swing Dance Academy if something like this tickles your fancy...
Dancing For Fitness and Wellbeing In Perth
Dancing is a wonderful way to work up a sweat and get those endorphins flowing. It's an excellent form of exercise for those who hate exercise - you'll be so busy following the choreography and moving to the music that you'll forget that you're exercising!
In Perth, can get your exercise fix through your local community centre or gym. The best part? Many of these classes are cheap or even free!
So why take a community dance class?
- You'll save money - community dance classes are just that - for the community! They often take place in community halls and are subsidized by the local council, so you may pay as little as $2 per (group) class.
- There's one near you - don't bother driving all over Perth to attend a dance class - simply head down to your local community centre!
- They're versatile - most classes will cater to beginners, but there will also be classes adapted to different abilities, needs and ages and stages of life, such as classes for kids, seniors or those with disabilities
- You can socialise! What better way to meet your fellow Perthians than at your local community dance class. Dance is a great ice-breaker - after all, you already share a love of tap, jazz, tango, Zumba or cha-cha together!
Hot tip: see if your local gym offers dance classes as part of your monthly membership fee.
Hiring A Private Dance Teacher: Perth
Group classes in Perth are a great way to get started fairly cheaply, but if you want to hone your dance skills, you might be in the market for private dance tuition.
And private dance teachers aren't just for experienced dancers! If you're new to dance, the idea of going to a group class might be quite the plunge - you can start gaining confidence in the privacy of your own home with a qualified dance teacher. On the other hand, couples who have never danced together before may be daunted by their wedding waltz in front of all the friends and family - a dance teacher can help you pull off something spectacular and elegant together for a truly memorable day.
Through Superprof, an hour of one-on-one dance tuition will set you back around $35, although prices will vary based on the teacher's qualifications and experience. There is an enormous diversity of styles on offer - everything from tango to kids ballet... and have you thought about taking up Bellydance or burlesque?