Thursday, 1 January 2015

Finding a dance teacher online...

New Year Fireworks
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At a New Year's party last night one of the guests told me that she and her 11 year daughter would like to learn a new style of dance together. She had made enquiries and found plenty of schools where her daughter could learn to dance and a few where she could learn but none where the two of them could learn together.

"Ought to be possible to find somewhere" I replied. "There are so many on-line dance directories and class finders nowadays." Indeed I had actually reviewed one of them in September.

When I started to search for myself I saw her difficulty. There may be a lot of on-line directories and class and teacher finders but they re far from comprehensive. And they tend to report what's there or rather may have been, or even intended to be, there rather than put students in touch with teachers.

I think it must be easier to find a class in London than it is elsewhere because Sadler's Wells and the Arts Council of England operate the London Dance website at This is a massive resource of everything to do with dance in the capital. There is a searchable database of dance classes in every style from Asian to Zumba. I searched for "Ballet" and found 11 pages of listings starting with Academy Performing Arts in Woolwich to the Ysabelle Taylor Ballet School. I have not been able to find anything quite like that London Dance anywhere else in the country though regional dance organizations like North West Dance do provide some of those services.

I reviewed Dancelinks on 6 Sept 2014 and revisited it again this afternoon.  I searched for "Ballet", "Over 18" and "Leeds" and came up with Elev8dance, Headingley Dance Centre, Janina School of Dance, Lara Academy of Dance, Mullen Theatre Studios and Priestley Theatre Dancing School as well as the 5 that the database reported in September so it is obviously getting bigger. As the site does not seem to charge searchers or carry advertising I guess it must charge the studios for registering but I couldn't find out how much.

A site that published its rates is DanceNearYou. It claims to be "the number one class finder" and it charges instructors £15.60 per month and up to 5 studios or teachers £60 per month for a listing. I searched "Any/All" styles and "Leeds" and it came up with "Lindy Fridays" which offers "Social Dancing, Swing Dance Classes". 

I also found DanceWeb UK and Class Finder which have searchable databases. Class Finder seems to be particularly helpful. It reported 11 ballet classes within a 20 mile radius of Leeds and I know that at least one of them is good. Other good places to look are the Royal Academy of Dance, International Dance Teachers Association and the ISTD websites which list their members rather than studios.

If anybody has any other suggestions I shall be pleased to hear from them.

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