Let’s Dance: What Types of Dance Classes Are There?

Dancing isn’t just a form of exercise. It’s a way for your child to express creativity, personality, and most of all, have fun. Dance can also help your child’s emotional growth.

But with so many dance styles out there, how do you know which one to choose?

If you’d like to enroll your child in dance classes but aren’t sure which class or dance style to choose, then this guide is for you. 

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of dance classes and which ones might be a good choice for your child.


Originating in the United States, Jazz dance finds its origin in African-American movement and rhythms, developing at the same time as jazz music in New Orleans. Jazz dance is focused on fluid movement and continues to evolve, frequently incorporating elements of other dance styles.

Jazz’s upbeat music and movement make it one of the most popular types of dance classes for adults and kids alike. The dance itself also offers a good variety between freestyle and choreography. 

Due to its energetic style and variety, jazz is a great match for an energetic child who would like a dance style that isn’t as structured as ballet.

Jazz dancers also learn technique, strength, and flexibility, so a jazz class is great for teaching your child core dance skills that can be applied to other dance styles as well. 


Contemporary dance is one of the most fluid types of dance styles. If your child enjoys ballet but isn’t quite a fan of the precise movements it requires, why not give contemporary dance a try? 

Contemporary dance came about in the 1950s when dancers wanted to create a more fluid form of dance. Contemporary dancers are taught to dance with ease and to dance with a flexible core, creating fluid, graceful movements.

Dancers are also taught to use their breath as a part of their dance.

Contemporary also differs from other styles of dance because of its emphasis on movement (rather than telling a story), contrasting rhythms and postures, and its use of floor work as part of the dance.

Hip Hop

Hip hop is a type of street dance that is either performed to hip hop or pop music. When dancing hip hop, dancers often wear cool, high-top sneakers, which are a great way to reflect the dancer’s personal style.

Although the original, street dance hip hop didn’t follow set choreography, you’ll still learn some common techniques in hip hop dance classes. These include:

  • Popping: A quick contraction of the muscle done to the rhythm of the music
  • Locking: A movement that “locks” the body in a particular position
  • Isolations: Isolating parts of the body for control and movement

Hip hop is a great choice for the creative child who loves to express herself or himself through movement and music.


Ballet: One of the Most Popular Types of Dance Classes

Ballet is undoubtedly one of the most popular of all types of dance classes due to its grace and beauty.

Although ballet may look easy because the dancers are so graceful, this dance form requires immense strength, coordination, and excellent posture.

You will not actually need pointe shoes right away, as there are specific criteria that must be met before your child can wear pointe shoes, such as age, ballet experience, and frequency of ballet classes.

Ballet dancers learn the 5 basic ballet positions, precise movement, and how to center their upper bodies. Once they learn the foundational movements, ballet dancers can then move on to more complicated movements such as patterns, turns, and leaps.

Lyrical Dance Classes

You may have never heard of lyrical dance before, but it actually has nothing to do with singing. Instead, the word “lyrical” means that there is a focus on the song that is being danced to rather than on the dancer.

The music for lyrical dance can include hip hop, rock, and pop. The lyrics of the song inspire the dancer’s movement and allow the dancer’s movements to reflect the emotion and mood of the song.

Lyrical is one of the best types of dance classes for kids who love music and are always dancing to their favorite songs. Since lyrical dance also includes elements of ballet, jazz, and modern dance, it’s also a good pick for a child that enjoys aspects of all (or parts) of these dances.

You can recognize lyrical dance by how much space the dancers take, sweeping across the floor as they express the lyrics of the music. The movements are graceful, continuous, and are focused on holding a finishing pose for as long as possible.

Pre-Professional Dance Classes

If your child has an aptitude for dancing or looks like she or he will become a professional, why not enroll your child in a pre-professional dance class?

These classes are for more advanced, serious dancers who are building towards a professional dance career. This curriculum involves dancing 5 or 6 times a week and is focused on perfecting technique.

Pre-professional dance classes can involve classes in pointe, jazz, and contemporary. They also help students learn how to prepare for auditions, performances, and teach them nutrition and injury prevention.

Ready To Enroll Your Child in Dance Class?

Dance is an amazing way to help your child exercise creativity, strength, and movement while also having fun.

With so many types of dance classes to choose from, it’s guaranteed that there’s one your child will love.

No matter the style of dance you choose for your child, the classes themselves should be in a fun and nurturing atmosphere like we have here at San Elijo Dance.

Have a good idea of what dance class would be good for your child? If you’re in the San Diego or San Marcos areas, contact us today to register for a free introductory class in the dance style of your choice.