Hi, I’m Nandi! I am a sophomore from NYC, and I’ve been dancing since I was four years old. I am trained in Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, African Dance, Ballroom dance, many different modern techniques, and more. I love dance because of the beauty you feel when doing it, in addition to the effect dance has on the viewer. I also love dance because it's a fun way to get a workout, sometimes without even realizing it.
The best thing about dance, is that it's for everyone! It is enjoyable to watch, and especially
enjoyable to do. If you enjoy dancing, you should do it, whether you train professionally or not. Even just putting on a song and dancing around your room can be incredibly freeing, and it serves as cardio as well as a mood lifter!
To start, find out what you like. Ballet is thought to be the basis of all techniques, so if you are looking into training, it is encouraged to take a few ballet classes. Ballet is a technique that is universal, meaning anywhere you go in the world, the class will be basically the same. For all dance classes, you should wear flexible clothes, form fitting if you feel comfortable, so you and your teachers can clearly see your line and positioning. https://www.capezio.com/ is one of my favorite stores, you can order online, and they have everything you may need. You might also try a local dance store, or a studio that sells dance clothes, for a more affordable option.
Tips for Beginners
Click through these slides for basic things to know before taking ballet classes .
Levels of dance training are very specific and go way beyond beginner, intermediate and advanced. Training is a constant progression and you go through many steps and levels. Generally, though, to reach an intermediate level, you have to have sufficient knowledge of dance vocabulary and have solid technique. At this level it is most important to explore different techniques, as knowing an abundance of dance styles will allow you to improve and reach whatever goal you have. Here are some styles of dance that can start your exploration of understanding what you want to focus on.
This is the Ballet technique used most commonly in America. George Balanchine was a choreographer in the 20th century who moved to America from Russia. He was incredibly influential in modern ballet technique and choreography, and his ideas were popularized throughout america.
Check out this short documentary on his life or some of his famous choreography The Nutcracker , Apollo, and Serenade.
There are so many more styles of dance to explore. Here are some online classes to start:
At this level you should be refining your technique and adding performance quality and artistry. You should have a certain level of confidence in your technique, enough to be able to rely on it to a certain extent, and start to incorporate artistic qualities to your movements. A great way to do this is through improv. Put on your favorite song, or a song that inspires you, and draw from your life experiences and your dance knowledge to let your body move. The biggest thing in improv is learning to let go. You can start by doing this in private, where there's no pressure and no one watching you, feel the music, and allow your body to move in whatever way it wants to.
Be yourself. Be human.
“We are never more truly and profoundly human than when we dance.” - Jose Limon
Tips and Sources for Advanced Dancers
Full length classes online to maintain technique:
These videos are just to start. From here, explore videos on your own, and find out what you like, and what kind of instruction suits you the most.
Look for walk-in classes in your area if you're not in a formal training program. Walk-in classes are great because you can explore many different styles with little commitment; you can take the class once, or as many times as it’s offered! This is also a more affordable option because you pay by the class, and you can expand your repertoire by learning many different styles without having to take them for a year. Make sure to be Covid safe, as these classes tend to be very crowded, depending on where you live.
Inspiration for artistry:
Your inspiration for dance and artistry can come from your passion for dance, you want to reach certain goals, the way particular music and movements make you feel, and what's going on in your life. Sometimes, a way to react to things you're going through is to dance it out! It’s often a nice way to get a new perspective. Dancing it out is a start, and State of Mind has many resources for next steps!