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Structure of a Professional Dance Class

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When social dancers want to level up and do more complicated stuff on the dancefloor, they will at some point find themselves seeking for more in depth training. Here I wanted to share what in my experience a professional 1-hour dance class that trains multiple aspects of being a dancer, looks like so you would know what to look for and recognize high quality classes.

1. Warmup

Professional dance classes always start with a warmup. This may be a general body warmup where you wake up your whole body, or sometimes the emphasis might be on a specific part of the body that will get most use during the rest of the class, therefore needs extra preparation. Warmup also includes light stretching to open up the body.

2. Conditioning or Technique

Next comes strength training or dance technique training. 

Strength training prepares students bodies for more complicated moves in the future. This might include working through bigger muscle groups of the body or again, something specific that will be needed in the choreography later.

Sometimes instead of that or in addition to that there may be dance technique training. This is where you take certain steps and repeat them many times in order to practice them. It may be turns, floorwork or some other more difficult moves that need extra attention.

3. Choreography

These 2 parts may take up the first 20-30 minutes of the class, which was initially surprising to me. Only then will instructors move on to actually teaching choreography, which is the most obvious part and what you expect to do in the dance class. 

4. Stretching – Cooldown

At the end of the class there is a short stretching or cooldown section. Often instructors run out of time at the end of the class and skip this, but ideally it would be included, since body needs cues that the active part is now over. Stretching is also said to prevent certain injuries and increases mobility, which is very important for dancers.

In a nutshell, professional dance classes set students up for success by combining strength training, stretching and technique with choreography, therefore training students with long term goals in mind. This type of training will truly help you to become a well rounded dancer since it includes working on multiple necessary aspects. 

Next level from this would be to break those up into specific classes each week – so during the week you’d have strength training, mobility, dance technique and then choreography classes, 1-2h each or more. This approach could also work well if your dance classes only have the choreography part.

Hope this helps you recognize classes that include more in depth training and gives you ideas on how to take your training to the next level. Until next time!

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