It is a very amazing experience attending your first dance class. This might be what you’ve been waiting for all life, or this might as well be what you’ve decided on a whim. No matter what your reason is, it will always be a thrilling experience to be at your first dance class.


What Do I Need?

There are a few things that you will need for your first class. The biggest necessities are dance shoes specific to your dance class(es). If you are taking a ballet class for the first time, you will not begin with pointe shoes – instead you will start with ballet flats. This may be a little disappointing for some, but believe me, it is in your best interest. Ballet flats will help you master the moves and learn how to use your feet properly so that you do not damage them later as you advance to new levels. A dance supply store will offer ballet flats in your size. I recommend flats with an elastic strap across the middle to keep the shoes securely on your feet.


Most other shoes are self-explanatory: tap shoes for tap class, jazz shoes for jazz class, etc. If you are taking a lyrical class, it is likely that you will need bear claw shoes. These are made of pieces of suede that wrap around your foot. If you are taking a hip-hop class, there is a shoe that is made that is similar to a tennis shoe but is much more flexible in the arch. It can also be used for a jazz class. Finally, if you are taking a couple’s dance class (such as salsa, ballroom, swing, etc.), you will want to purchase a type of black leather shoe that looks like a Mary Jane. It is much safer than dancing in your heels.


You will also want to make sure that you purchase comfortable dance class clothes. While there are specific clothes that you can purchase at a dance store that will make it easier for you to move around without chafing, you can also find similar clothes at a sporting goods store. Any clothes labeled “activewear” or something similar will be perfect for you at your dance class. If, however, you are attending a ballet class for the first time, you will most likely be required to wear pink tights and a black leotard. (You do not need to wear a ballet skirt, and in some studios this is discouraged altogether.) You will also be required to wear your hair up into a bun, and most other dance classes will encourage you to wear your hair pinned back (if short) or pulled back into a ponytail (if long enough).


Other Ways To Prepare

You may want to prepare yourself mentally for the new experiences that you’re going to be having. Your class will most likely consist of one instructor at the front of the classroom – near a mirror – and anywhere between five and twenty other students (depending on the size of the classroom). Classes are always arranged so that students of similar levels are in classes with each other, so you have nothing to be worried about. Everyone else is in the same boat as you.


Finally, consider stretching and deep breathing before your first class. You will certainly have a warm-up and stretch phase at the beginning of your class, but preparing yourself beforehand will put you at the head of the class.


This guide should help you to check off all of the things that you need for your first dance class and prepare you in many ways for the excitement that you’re about to experience. Have fun and enjoy yourself!


Kristina Perikly is a passionate ballet instructor and folk dance teacher. She encourages you to try a dance class if you’ve never tried one before. Without attending a dance class herself, she would never have been able to teach others. Kristina currently lives in San Francisco, CA.

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