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Dance styles

There are zillions of dance styles! With so many to try there's bound to be one that's perfect for you. Whether by yourself, or busting some moves with your best friends - why not try them all out?

  • Ballet - want to stretch your imagination as well as your body?
  • Ballroom - imagine yourself gliding across the dancefloor, just like on TV!
  • Cheerleading-  are you loud and proud?
  • Rock 'n' roll - boogie with me, baby!
  • Street dancing - want to strut your funky stuff?
  • Tap - make a beat with your feet!

Ballet

Ballet dancers seem to ignore the law of gravity as they float through the air in long slow leaps. They keep perfect balance while they spin like tops without becoming dizzy.

Ballet is a great way to tell a story or express a mood. Try drifting around like a princess, or stomping through the forest like an angry king. For a fun challenge try dancing on your tip-toes, or try leaping gracefully through the air as if you're a feather or leaf in the wind.

Don't worry about perfect positions, have fun with these beautiful ballet basics.

The five ballet positions

Every ballet movement and pose begins and ends with one of these positions. It's a good idea to hold on to the back of a chair or a banister when you're practising. Make sure you're nice and warmed-up before you start and be careful with socks and tights on slippery floors.

With just a bit of practice you'll be graceful as a gazelle!

Ballet positions

  • First position: stand with heels together and toes turned out, with arms held in front as if holding a barrel.
  • Second position: stand with feet apart and toes pointing outwards, arms stretched out to the sides.
  • Third position: stand with toes turned out but with one foot in front of the other so that one heel rests against the arch of the other foot. Raise one arm above your head with the other arm curved in front, like first position.
  • Fourth position: like third position but with the front foot stepped a little way in front of the back foot, rather than touching it.
  • Fifth position: like third position but with the front heel resting against the toe of the back foot instead of against the arch. Both arms are raised above your head.

Ballroom

Create a scene when you step out onto the dancefloor with some simple ballroom moves. You can choose from the waltz, foxtrot and tango or go for some of the lively Latin dances - the samba, rumba or the cheeky cha-cha-cha.

Imagine yourself spinning under the spotlight when you try out these moves. It doesn't matter if you accidentally step on some toes, practice makes perfect!

Give the foxtrot a go

You'll need 2 people for this dance. 

Get those twinkle toes warmed-up before you get started. Then, stand straight with your feet together, facing each other. Support each other with one hand on the other's shoulder, and the other arm outstretched with the hands clasped together. One person will need to be the lead, and the other person follows.

The follower just mirrors the lead's moves, so when the lead steps forward, the other steps back and so on.

For the lead:

  1. Step forward with your left foot (slow step)
  2. Step forward with your right foot (slow step)
  3. Sidestep to the left with your left foot (quick step)
  4. Move your right foot to your left foot (quick step)
  5. Step backward with your left foot (slow step)
  6. Step backward with your right foot (slow step)
  7. Sidestep to the left with your left foot (quick step)
  8. Move your right foot to your left foot (quick step)

Try the foxtrot to any type of music, and most importantly have fun!

Cheerleading

If you want a way to let out all the joy you feel about your favourite things, cheerleading is perfect! It's a dance style full of jumps, springs, and twists, and a chance to shout and sing too. You can do it solo, but it's much more fun to grab a gang of friends and make up your own moves. So if you've got attitude and are full of bounce - then bring it on!

Before you get into the team spirit make sure you've warmed up with some stretches, and you've got enough room to jump around. Clear lots of space around you, or go outside.

As you make the moves, try calling out the letters of your favourite thing - for example D - I - V - E - R - S - I - T - Y! 

Cheerleading moves to try

Super star jump
Put your arms in a high V-shape, jump off the ground and spread your legs. You'll look like a giant X, and feel like a star.
T jump
This jump is probably the most simple move. Stand up straight with your arms straight out to the side and jump. Looks great when everyone can do it at the same time.
Tuck jump
Jump and pull your knees up as close to your chest as possible.
Double jump
Do any jump twice in a row. Mix it up by using the double-jump backwards, forwards, or sideways.

Try these moves, and you'll have everyone cheering for you!

Rock 'n' roll

Shake it, spin it, and swing it all around - rock 'n' roll is all about being wild and free. It's a groovy dance that's easy to learn and full of life. Perfect for twirling around with a friend, or you can just boogie down by yourself with a few kicks and twists.

The beauty of rock 'n' roll is you don't have to worry too much about learning moves, just feel the rhythm and have some fun.

So, rock around the clock with these cool moves!

Before you start to swing make sure you've warmed up and there's plenty of room to twirl around.

Rock 'n' roll moves to try

Find a friend and start with feet together, facing each other and holding right hands.

  1. Step back with your left foot then shift your weight back onto your right foot
  2. Kick your left foot forward and step onto it
  3. Now repeat on the other side, starting by stepping back onto your right foot then shift your weight back onto your right foot
  4. Kick your right foot forward and step onto it

Once you've got the hang of it, try turning out to the side as you kick and spinning your partner round.

Remember, there are no rules with rock 'n' roll, just have a good time!

Street dancing

There are so many cool moves to try in street dancing, from body popping, break dancing, or freestyle for those who want to do their own thing. Imagine yourself in a Michael Jackson video clip, and try to do the moon-walk - watch a great video tutorial to get started. Or get a some friends together and move around like robots in time to the music.

Funky beats are a favourite on the dancefloor, so bust a move!

Street dances to try

Make sure you warm up before you start, and clear plenty of space around you.

Body popping for beginners

Choose a single body part to start with. Most dancers begin with the arms.

  1. Stretch them out in front of you, but don't lock your elbows
  2. Listening carefully to the music, count every two beats and tense all the muscles in your arms
  3. Be careful that you are not locking your joints or straightening the arms. Instead you should tighten the muscles and release them straightaway
  4. Your arms will look like they're jolting, and tiny electric shocks are making them jump to the music!
  5. Once you've got the hang of this, try it double-time, tensing on every beat.

Basic break dancing moves

  • Scissors: lie straight on your side and bend your body in to touch your toes. Unbend and straighten again, and then turn to your opposite side and repeat.
  • Belly swim: lie on your back, splay out your arms to turn onto your tummy, then sweep your arms out in front of you to return to your back. Do all this while using a continuous 'swimming' motion.
  • Homer Simpson: lying on your side, 'run' while your hips and shoulders touch the ground and you spin round.

Check out our Diversity dance tutorials for more street dance steps.

Tap

Tap dancing is brilliant, because as you heel-step and hop about you also get to make some great rhythms with those tapping toes. A good introduction to tap dancing is to watch a classic film like Singin' in the Rain, or the recent Happy Feet.

You don't need tap shoes, you can tap and shuffle your feet against a hard floor, so any shoe that makes a noise against the floor is fine.

Music with a good beat works best, but anything from jazz to pop music will work well. Don't turn up the music too loud though, you'll want to hear your feet tapping!

Tap dances to try

Here are some basic tap movements that can be put together to make a fun routine. Make sure you're warmed-up and there's plenty of room to move around:

Step-heel
A step taken with the ball of the foot coming down first, then the heel, making two sounds.
Heel-step
A step taken with the heel of the foot coming down first, then the ball, making two distinct sounds. It's a step-heel in reverse.
Stamp
Place your foot on the floor quickly, with the heel and the ball of the foot hitting the floor at the same time.
Ball-change
This is a pair of steps, taking a step backwards and then one forwards.
Hop
A jump done on one foot, landing on that same foot.
Spring
Similar to a hop, but landing on the other foot from the one you hopped on.
Drop
Similar to a spring, but onto a flattened foot, with the knee well bent.
Brush
Swing your leg forwards and/or backwards, then make a tap on the ball of the foot, striking the floor in a sweeping motion.

You can even dress up these moves with a top hat - you'll feel like Fred Astaire!

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