This is my third year (including my Foundation Year) in Surrey and I do not really miss home as much anymore, I have friends here, I know the area and have established a pretty good routine. However, there is one thing that I just cannot seem to find a substitute for… and no, it’s not food, instead it is dance! Now this is not to say that there are no good dance classes here, there are plenty! The problem is that they are mostly for professionals dancers, and I am just not skilled enough for that.
I have been taking dance classes since I was 6, I do mostly Ballet and took up contemporary two years before university. For ballet, I did all my exams following the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and it has never occurred to me that there are other styles out there, except for Russian of course. There are two things that I found surprising. Firstly, it was how difficult it is to find a R.A.D ballet class in Guildford, almost all of them are in Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (I.S.T.D.). Because R.A.D is a British dance organisation, I thought it would be just as easy to find a class as it is back home granted that Hong Kong is smaller so everything is more concentrated. The second thing was how rare it is to have your own studio. A lot of the classes that I found were held at school gyms, church spaces…etc which is something I am not used to. In Hong Kong, most of the classes are held at the company’s own studio. at least for all the ones I’ve attended in the past. So I decided to venture out and look at places other than Guildford. I spent quite some time (more than I’d like to admit) searching for dance classes and here’s what I found.
I had three requirements in mind
- How accessible it is and how far away it is?
- Venue – was it build for dance?
- Classes available – The levels offered, the styles offered (e.g Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz)
Pineapple Dance Studios
Not only does it have a fantastic name, it is very easy to get to! From Waterloo station, you would have to get the tube to Covent Garden and it is right around the corner. They also have a big sign that says ‘Pineapple’ so you wouldn’t miss it!
How it works: they have classes on a drop-in basis and you would have to buy a day pass when you get it. Then either at the end or the beginning of the class, you would pay the teacher directly.
Timetable for their drop-in classes: https://www.pineapple.uk.com/studio/index/filter/day/1/
Classes available: https://www.pineapple.uk.com/studio/class/list/
Take a look at the studios: https://www.pineapple.uk.com/studio/hire/list/
Address: 7 Langley St, London WC2H 9JA
All of their studios have mirrors, barres, sprung floors and most of them are accompanied by a piano. Although not all classes have live music. I went there once on a Saturday and took 4 classes, the teachers were so lovely and patient with such great energy and enthusiasm, I really cannot ask for more!
They have TONS have classes to choose from, Musical theatre, Street Jazz, Burlesque, Bollywood, you name it! In terms of the levels, they take a more general approach so instead of having a specific grade for each class, they have absolute beginners, beginners, intermediate, advanced, professional and general. I would advise to start from beginners classes if you do not feel 100% confident because (from my experience) teachers would still expect some background in dance depending on which and what class you attend.
I know it seems incredibly daunting to just show up in a class, especially if you go alone. I am not sure if this helps, but they do have a Youtube channel that shows some of the classes and you get to see some of the teachers as well.
Pineapple Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/pineappledancestudio
As a bonus, for those who loves shopping, they have their own clothing line!! It is mostly for dance but they do have sports wear that would look great for everyday!! So feel free to browse their shop right next to the studio and reward yourself after a good dance class!
Pineapple shop: https://www.pineapple.uk.com/shop.html
Personally, I have not been to this studio but I have heard great things about it! Like Pineapple, it offers drop-in classes and have many to choose from! You would have to get a ‘drop-in’ membership card at the reception, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Since classes are served on a first come first served basis, I would advise to get there 15-20 minutes before class starts.
How it works: http://danceworks.net/membership/
Timetable for drop-in classes: http://danceworks.net/classes/schedule/friday/
Take a look inside: http://danceworks.net/studio-hire/
What I like about DanceWorks is how diverse it is, it has Russian ballet, Holistic ballet and Pointe Repertoire. Similar to pineapple dance studios, it offers a few different levels, beginner, elementary, intermediate, advanced and professional. You can also read about the teachers on their website to see if you would enjoy their classes which I think is really clever of them.
They also run a variety of workshops you could join!! Personally, I know I would not be able to go to London every week so I haven’t looked into those but I will leave a link to more information. 🙂
Workshops: http://danceworks.net/workshops/ (Do check it out, especially if you like La La Land :))
DanceWorks is very easy to get to as well, it is 5 minutes away from Bond Street Station.
Address: 16 Balderton St, Mayfair, London W1K 6TN
I am definitely going to DanceWorks very soon and will let everyone how it went! There’s more dance classes options that I know but it might be too much to include in one blog so I’ll leave that for next time. 🙂 For those who are looking for a dance class or have been wanting to give dance a try, I hope you found this useful!
Have a lovely weekend!
You can read about my experience during Foundation Year here: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/hongkong-blog/2017/02/21/how-i-got-here/
For more information about International Foundation Year: http://isc.surrey.ac.uk/programmes/international-foundation-year/business-economics-law-social-sciences?_ga=2.267787335.815087778.1510914466-1405171888.1510914466