Melbourne’s Best Studios to Learn How to Dance

Originally published on Broadsheet.

Yes, wobbly coordination can be improved – get ready to waltz, rumba and breakdance your way into summer.

We’ve sussed out the best dance schools across the city – whether you’ve never danced in your life, are years out of shape, want to try a new form of exercise, or have danced since you could walk. Get ready to waltz, rumba and breakdance your way into summer.

Marshere Dance Studios, various locations
Marshere’s website says “no matter what your ability, the hardest step is always the one to walk through the door”. That might sound corny, but it’s also comforting – and it needs to be, given that the school teaches the daunting ballroom and Latin dance styles. But it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Grasshoppers often become masters here and move on to competing.

Lessons take place at 15 studios and ballrooms around Melbourne, where attendees waltz, rumba, jive, tango, quickstep, cha-cha and samba across the dance floor – sometimes covering six styles in one session. Beginners and advanced dancers are separated during the first part of the lesson, then united to dance socially at the end. Marshere is also one of the few studios with a dance program specifically for people with disabilities. Private lessons are available too, if you’d like a little more attention.

Classes are $28 per session. Memberships packages are available too.

The Space Dance and Arts Centre, Prahran
The Space has some of the top teachers around. It offers everything from hip-hop to contemporary to ballet, and less common classes such as booty work, ’80s fit, Brazilian samba and dancehall. Class levels range from beginner to advanced.

If your schedule is tight, The Space is one to look at – it hosts up to 16 classes every day of the week. Plus, it’s located on Chapel Street in Prahran, so there’s an abundance eateries to refuel at after class.

Casual classes are $19.50. Multi-class passes are also available.

Dance Factory, Richmond
This veteran studio specialises in both traditional and contemporary dance styles. It opened in the early ’80s when founder Dulcie Lee saw the need to establish a Melbourne studio that catered to modern musical theatre and commercial dance styles.

While Dance Factory is focused on VCE and professional courses, there are also about 30 weekly casual classes. The studios are sleek and lined with mirrors, because let’s face it, it’s extremely difficult to improve and understand what your body is doing when you can’t see yourself.

Casual classes start at $12.

Dance World Studios, South Melbourne
Dance World Studios runs part-time and full-time accredited courses for adults, as well as short courses (held on a term schedule) that accommodate casual drop-ins. Students can learn either contemporary, jazz, tap, hip-hop or ballet.

You’ll learn to pique, jeté, break, lock or boogaloo in one of seven bright, spacious studios, some of which are beneath grand timber ceilings. There are full dressing rooms with showers too, just in case you have plans to scoot straight to lunch or dinner.

Adult casual classes start at $25; a full term is $180.

Elevator Studios, South Yarra
Dance-loving sisters and co-founders Sophie McSweeney and Annabelle Wilson pride themselves on having created a “friendly, disciplined and dynamic dance studio for both adults and children”.

While casual classes are limited (16 per week), they’re taught by some of Melbourne’s best instructors, such as Rob Sturrock and Kim Adam.

Classes are traditional, and run across all levels, from beginner to pro. Ballet, contemporary and body conditioning sessions are offered, but jazz is the studio’s forte. Elevator covers almost every flavour of jazz out there – Broadway, lyrical, theatre and jazz technique.

Casual classes are $18. Multi-class passes are also available.

Image courtesy of The Space Dance and Arts Centre.

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