The best dance classes in London
London’s prolific City Academy runs hundreds of classes, seven days a week, in over 40 locations across town. All types of dance are covered up to a professional standard and tend to be aimed at those with a performing arts itch to scratch. All will have you prancing in no time, but it’s the signature tap lessons that are a must for any budding tappers. Pick your level (Beginner, Improver or Tap Company), find a venue near you, sign up for a six- to eight-week course, and that scene from ‘La La Land’ will be yours in a shuffle. Saying that, there's even a dedicated 'La La Land workshop' to teach you the exact routine from the film.
For anyone who used to make up dance routines with their mates, Frame’s Music Video class is a guaranteed winner. Held at all of London's Frame studios, the classes take inspiration from the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna. With moves ‘straight from MTV’ (think hair whips), classes work towards a full commercial routine complete with backing dancers and freestyle sections. It may not be the most serious of classes, but it’s serious fun and suitable for all levels. Frame also hosts ballet, dance cardio and the popular Frame Rave class, which has all the benefits of a big night out, minus the hangover the next day.
If you’re new to ballet or fancy giving it a twist, these one-hour classes are right on-pointe. Set at The Factory’s small but perfectly formed gym, here you’ll learn the basics at the barre, master the correct posture and formation techniques, before moving to unsupported ballet sequences in the middle of the studio. Classes are set to music and the expert teachers will put your new moves to the test with energetic, fun and challenging routines. Expect to get your sweat on – in a graceful way, of course.
At Your Beat’s motto is ‘everyone can dance, you just need to find your beat’. The empowering classes at this Instagrammer fave span dancehall, pop bangers and hip hop. FitBeat classes will have everyone sweating. There's no complex choreography, just dance sequences to killer beats. For routines you already know and love try VideoBeat, to learn how to dance like the pros.
Don’t be put off by the mention of ‘gym’; this class has more choreography than chest pumps. Held in all Gymbox venues across London, this is a hot and sweaty dance workout where hi-tops are definitely back on the block. The party vibes will guarantee you’re smiling by the end of the class, even if you haven’t quite mastered the running man. And, with tunes from the latest music hits and videos, you’ll be wooed by the soundtrack alone.
Pineapple Dance Studios has been keeping the city swaying since 1979. It still hosts over 250 classes a week, from contemporary to modern, with a couple of wildcards too – sensual samba, anyone? But if hip hop is more your thing, John G’s weekly class is the most accessible, fun and stylised of the lot. The same routine is built on each lesson (usually for four weeks), with the idea that you’ll add your own flicks as you improve. Arrive early as the drop-in classes are very popular. And bonus points to anyone who turns up in a velour tracksuit.
Lindy hop until your heart’s content with the lovely, lively Swing Patrol gang. Found at venues across town, this friendly community will welcome you with open arms – and then spin you around, swing you out and get you jiving all over the studio. Teachers specialise in lindy hop, but there’s also balboa, blues, collegiate shag and 1920s charleston at four different levels. The group rotates during each lesson, so don’t worry about bringing a partner, they’re a friendly bunch – they also host social dances and the annual London Swing Festival.
Dance around the world without leaving Zone 1. Just off Oxford Street, Danceworks bills itself as an accessible place for those of all abilities, so even those with two left feet should be okay. There’s a packed class schedule, but their world dance range is the most impressive. With classes ranging from Bollywood, Latin, salsa, sevillanas, flamenco and Jamaican Dancehall, it’s the place to go if you want unique additions to your moves. Most are also drop-in classes, so a spontaneous Saturday samba is always on the cards.
You’ll find London’s most badass dance class at Kelechnekoff Studio in Peckham. The pole dance sessions here don’t just teach beginners how to spin and climb, they’re a huge body confidence boost. You’ll be sliding down the pole like a firefighter in no time.
Caramelo, based at Paddington Academy, offers more Latin classes than you can shake a pair of maracas at. Salsa, bachata, cha cha cha, kizomba and Brazlian zouk are covered from beginner up to advanced level. All classes are taught in four-week stints, but Caramelo also hosts great one-day beginner courses, which let you give Latin a go without putting your hips out. There’s also separate sessions dedicated to specific technique building, such as spinning, shines and women and men’s styling. Fancy.