3 years ago, if someone told me I would walk into a nightclub alone I would have called them a liar. But it was where my first dance class was, so I needed to do it…
As anxious as I felt about it, I needn’t have been. Male or female, taking a dance class is a very enjoyable solo activity. There are many dance classes in London and the surrounding area, with schools offering lots of different dance styles to choose from. As well as keeping you fit, they are a great way to meet people with similar interests and the majority of people who go along are without partners. If you want to laugh a lot, meet new friends and feel as if you have become part of a family, read on…
The dance classes in London mentioned here include:
- Brazilian Zouk
Drop In Classes
It is pretty much standard procedure for dance classes in London to be on a ‘drop in’ basis, paying cash on arrival. This makes it a great activity for people on their own to see if they like it, without having to commit to paying for a whole course upfront. It also benefits those just visiting the area who are keen to try something different and plan on coming along, one time only. Lessons tend to cost around £10 give or take a couple of pounds. This includes the social dance that follows the class. All of the places I have mentioned below have access to a bar if you wish to purchase drinks.
Crash Course/Private Lesson
Some schools offer crash courses, workshops or private lessons which is another good way to get a feel for the dance. These may take place during the daytime rather than evening drop in classes. If this is your preference, check their websites for details.
Initially, newcomers are welcomed, followed by a group warm up. Follow as best you can with no prior knowledge! Dancers are then arranged into groups of beginners, improvers, intermediate or advanced in preparation for the lesson.
Lessons tend to last for about an hour and social dancing takes place afterwards. Some venues offer 2 or 3 styles of dance and have lessons that run consecutively followed by social dance. You could therefore experience dancing a few styles on the same night!
The lessons are great fun. All the classes I recommend below have teachers who are very experienced, have the patience of a Saint and make you laugh! The classes are filled with happy people in a nice environment. Many people attend classes regularly.
The beginners class starts with learning a couple of basic steps. Men are taught to lead the ladies. Ladies learn to follow. You will get the opportunity to practice over and over, rotating partners until you grasp it. This helps you to become familiar with others in your group and gets you used to dancing with different people. During your class, you will have danced, laughed, made small talk and no doubt made mistakes. By the end of the first lesson, you wonder what you were worried about!
At the end of the lessons, the lights are turned down and the music volume turned up. Sometimes there will be DJs and others, live bands. There is an understanding in the dance community that you don’t turn people down when asked for a dance unless you have a good reason to. In which case you find that person later to dance. It is common practice for women to ask men to dance as well as men asking women. Intermediate and advanced dancers are encouraged to dance with beginners as well as people of a similar ability. Dancing gives you the opportunity to meet so many great people who have a common interest. It is not an ageist activity either. People attend in their 20s through to their 70s and everyone is dances together.
Furthermore, if you learn a little of a dance style, there are lessons and festivals taking place all over the country and overseas too. There are no language barriers once you learn some of the moves.
Preparation for the class
- Wear comfortable clothing that you can move around in easily. Some people dress up and others wear jeans and a t-shirt. Either is acceptable.
- Wear comfortable footwear – don’t invest in dance shoes until you know you like it.
- Plan your journey. Check the bus and train times and keep an eye on the time. It is very easy to lose track of time.
Recommended Dance Schools
Mondays – Salsa & Kizomba
Latin Mondays at The Rosendale
The Rosendale Pub, 65 Rosendale Road, London SE21 8EZ
A small venue with 2 fantastic, very experienced teachers:
Adriana Neves and David Lynch
Lessons are always good fun here with excellent teachers who motivate you.
Social Dance 9:30pm-11pm
£7 for one class or £10 for both classes including social dance
Tuesdays – Salsa & Bachata
The Great Hall, Bromley Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, Kent BR1 3UH
A larger venue with 4 energetic teachers:
Virginia Timon, Rasa Pauzaite, Femeto Love and Manu Ramos
Social Dance 10pm-11pm
£12 for both lessons and social dance
Wednesdays – Kizomba & Salsa
Salsa Kizomba Flowz – (SKF) South Norwood
12 South Norwood Hill, London SE25 6AB
DJs: Sousa (PT) & Don Dada (NYC)
Teachers: Adriana Neves, David Lynch, Dominic Blaquiere, Flozel Webley, Lloyd Bennett, Natalie Stevens, Paulette White & Sharon Alphonse
Social Dance 9:30pm-11:30pm (party nights every last Wednesday of the month til 12am)
£10 for both classes including social dance, £9 for one class including social dance and £8 for initial taster classes and social dance
Wednesdays – Kizomba
The Classic, 28 Upper Tooting Rod, London SW17 7PG
Energetic teachers who are lots of fun that I have had the pleasure of dancing with are:
Richard Voogt, Manon Batrel and Edu Costa
7:30pm Kizomba beginner and intermediate
8:40pm Kizomba improvers and advanced
9:45pm social dance
£10 for both classes including parties. Discounts for multiple classes – check website for details
Salsa and Bachata classes also run on Tuesdays
Saturdays – Brazilian Forro
Teachers: Andy & Julia Somel, Jonathan Gemet, Sarah Mulville
26 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE
7pm-8pm Forro class – 3 levels
£10 including social dance
What I have Learnt
Sundays – Brazilian Zouk (Short Courses Available)- email for details
Rio Zouk Fusion
Tiger Tiger, 29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP
Teachers: Sarah Gibbons and Davi Lima
7pm-8:30pm Brazilian Zouk
8:30pm-11:30pm Social Dance
£10 for class and social dance
Check website for further regular classes on other days
Dance classes in London are an informal way of meeting new people and you don’t have to have any experience at all. In fact what I have realised over the last couple of years is that each dance group feels like you are part of a family. Also, once you have covered the basics of a dance it opens up a lot of new possibilities socially.
Suggested Further Reading:
Restaurants in London that I recommend where I have dined solo
Hotels in London – recommended hotels I have stayed at solo
Things to do in London – that I have enjoyed doing alone