8 Of The Best Dance Classes
Filmspiration: Save the Last Dance
A modern dance with no set style but encompassing jazz, lyrical and ballet, this is something for those who really want to express themselves! Classes are led by Krista Degaetano, a professional who started dancing aged three in her native Malta and studied in London before performing in shows including West Side Story. She runs classes for serious dancers who want to progress, as well as those who just fancy a bit of a groove to burn some calories. After completing the course, there’s a chance to show off your new skills in a showcase for your friends, rather like Julia Styles in the movie about a girl who mixes ballet with hip hop when she moves to Chicago.
INFO: From Dhs 420 for a six-week intensive course starting 23 February, Contemporary Dance Dubai, James and Alex Dance Studio, 813 & 814 Concord Tower, Media City, www.facebook.com/ContemporaryDanceDubai.CDD.
2 Zumba Fitness
Filmspiration: Dirty Dancing
J-Lo is a fan of this Latin-inspired dance craze, which is dubbed a “fitness party” and has become the world’s most popular dance workout, with more than 14 million people attending classes every week. Unsure that any kind of exercise could ever be called a party, Team Ahlan!’s Swainy and Cat went along to try it. Luckily our super-smiley Irish instructor, Treasa Sprag was very encouraging, saying, “You literally can’t put a foot wrong.” Well, while we put many of our tootsies in the incorrect place, it certainly didn’t matter. We danced simple salsa, cha-cha and meringue steps to fab music that included Michael Jackson and Latin beats. Though we were worn out, we’re hooked!
INFO: Dhs50, James and Alex Dance Studio, 813 & 814 Concord Tower. Media City, 04 447 0773, www.jamesandalex.com.
Filmspiration: Billy Elliot
Don’t let Mila Kunis put you off, it’s never too late to take a grand jete into the world of the tu-tu. Set up in 1987 and the largest of its kind in Dubai, The Ballet Centre offers weekly beginners’ classes in one of its seven studios. It’s also popular with kids, and if you get seriously attached to the barre, you can take Royal Academy of Dance Exams and become the next Billy Elliot or Darcey Bussell.
INFO: Dhs45, Street 16, Villa 64, behind Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 344 9776, www.balletcentredubai.com.
Filmspiration: Slumdog Millionaire
When it comes to dancing in movies, nobody does it better than Bollywood. Learn the hareepa and shoulder shrugs with expert Nisha Shivnani at Nisha Dance Studios. And it’s also great for shaping up. Nisha says, “It’s a fun class, and you do lose weight. It’s a mix of hip hop, belly dancing, and a bit of contemporary and Indian folk style.” You’ll also have the opportunity to show off your new moves at performances.
INFO: Dhs50, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 050 749 2067, www.dancewithnisha.com.
Filmspiration: Strictly Ballroom
From the Grease-style jive to a Paso Doble straight out of Strictly Ballroom, latin and ballroom dances also include the waltz, cha-cha and quickstep. Dance Abu Dhabi offers group lessons combining all the dances, and will soon make you worthy of a ten from Len Goodman. Plus there are also social dance sessions held every Tuesday at 7pm at Cinnabar, Hilton Abu Dhabi.
INFO: Dhs55, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, 050 4101 535, www.danceabudhabi.com.
Filmspiration: Dirty Dancing 2, Havana Nights
While the remake of Dirty Dancing has been put on hold (nobody can replace Patrick Swayze, anyway) you can reenact those dance party scenes by learning some Latin moves. Del Piero Olokun runs Ritmo De Havana, the biggest salsa school in the UAE. And while it’s important to learn the steps, the best thing about salsa is the parties, held at Mahiki every Saturday night. Courses run for three weeks.
INFO: Dhs600 per course, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 050 696 3520, www.ritmo-de-havana.com.
Filmspiration: Shall We Dance
Team Ahlan!’s Lynn tried out the dance of love, a popular shimmy seen on Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars. She reports it was energetic and raunchy but also rather challenging. She had a one-on-one, 90-minute lesson with Tango guru Cesar who runs Latin Soul Dubai with partner Elizabeth and considers himself the founding father of Dubai’s tango scene. The couple are winners of the Colombian Tango Championship. The studio also hosts social dancing, known as Milongas, every Thursday.
INFO: Dhs80, Icon Tower, Studio 106, Tecom, Dubai, 050 474 6249, www.latinsouldubai.com/tango.
8 Xtend Barre
Filmspiration: Black Swan
Dubbed ‘Hollywood’s latest weight-loss secret’, the Black Swan herself, Natalie Portman used this fitness-come-dancing workout to shape up. Described as “pilates and dance, amplified”, it’s said to sculpt the body. Natasha Clark from Bodytree Studio in Abu Dhabi, said: “It’s a 55 minute, full body sculpting class. It’s definitely a challenging workout! But our ladies get hooked.”
INFO: Dhs90, Bodytree Studio, 11th Street, between 24th and 26th Street, Abu Dhabi, 02 443 4448, www.bodytreestudio.com.