Health & Body

The Best NYC Dance Studios You Can Visit on ClassPass

New Yorkers use ClassPass to jump around between the trendiest (and often, most expensive) boutique fitness studios. But it's a little-known secret that some of the city's best dance studios are available through the monthly service, too. Plans range from $45-$135 a month, and allow you to take up to three classes a month at a given studio.


Steps on Broadway

Steps is the professional dancer's go-to studio, offering a wide range of classes and levels. Odds are there will be a dancer or two you recognize in class. (Ahem, Misty Copeland.)

Broadway Bodies

Broadway Bodies is the place to go if you're dying to learn the choreo to that music video you just fell in love with, or to your favorite song from Hamilton. Though classes are aimed at the beginner, they're high-energy enough that dancers can get a decent cardio workout. Expect lots of positive reenforcement and "yass"-ing.

Ailey Extension

The Ailey Extension (yup, home to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) probably has the widest variety of dance classes we've ever seen in one place. You can take salsa, hip hop, zumba, Pilates, yoga, theatre dance, ballet, samba, West African, contemporary, Bhangra, barre, jazz, house dance, tap, and—believe it or not—more.

STREB @ S.L.A.M.

Brooklyn-based STREB doesn't have what you'd consider traditional dance classes. But if bouncing on a trampoline, swinging from a trapeze or learning Parkour have always been on your bucket list, this is the place to go.

Ballet Academy East

Will you end up standing next to some ridiculously talented children? Probs. Will it still be an enjoyable ballet class? Absolutely! Ballet Academy East also offers tap, modern, yoga, zumba, Pilates and barre classes to ClassPassers.

Mark Morris Dance Center

MMDC is known for it's modern-for-professional-modern-dancers classes, and they live up to the hype. But don't discount their other offerings—the Brooklyn studio also has some of the best ballet classes in the city.

Aerial Arts NYC

If you dream of adding Cirque du Soleil to your resume, this might be the place to start. We know you've always wanted to show off your dancer-flexibility on some silks—or just refine a more specific skill set with classes focused on handstands or contortion.

Joffrey Ballet School

If you're exclusively interested in taking ballet, you're in luck: Joffrey Ballet School has classes of various levels all day long.

The Creative Process
Rehearsal of Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets. Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy Performa.

Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with dancers at Atlanta Ballet, offers tips for creating a more body-positive studio experience:

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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