Beginners Guide to Dance in NYC

Beginners Guide to Dance in NYC

Classes, shows, and resources!

Exploring the Vibrant Dance Scene in NYC 


The NYC dance world is a vibrant, rich, and varied landscape with all kinds of dance styles, shows, and classes. I’ve lived here for 6 + years, working at a freelance dancer, and been around the dance block a few times.* 


So, let’s talk beginning classes, shows, and online resources! 


*Disclaimer: I’m primarily a ballet and contemporary dancer and my lists focus on those styles. Other styles not represented are omitted due to my lack of personal experience only. I welcome any tips! 


The city is full of professional dancers, but there are many options for beginners. Remember, getting to the studio is the hardest part. I often bring a pal with me if I’m trying a new style - a friend makes it much more fun! All studios offer online versions of class. 


  1. Steps on Broadway - A bastion of the Upper West Side, you’ll see plenty of dancers from New York City Ballet, ABT, Broadway, but there are tons of beginner level classes - both via the open class schedule and the Ultimate Intro Series. 


  1. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - Through the Ailey Extension, students can learn many styles in a welcoming environment. A perk of this option are the gorgeous windows and beautiful studios.


  1. Mark Morris - Based in Brooklyn, MMDC offers lots of adult classes, including a series called Movement for Older Bodies. Sometimes, we just want to be with people around the same age! 


  1. Broadway Dance Center - Choose between ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, theater, tap, jazz…there is literally something for everyone, and a beginning option for all! 


  1. 92nd St Y - There’s so much more than dance available, but dance classes abound. You can take ballet, Israeli Folk dance, or Lindy Hop. Celebrating 150 years cultivating the arts in NYC this year, a trip to the 92nd St Y is a must-visit place. 


Once you’ve seen behind the curtain in a class, go in front of the curtain and check out a show. There are many performances all the time, but checking out the theaters below is a great place to start. 


  1. The Joyce Theater - located in Chelsea, this is one of the few theaters built specifically for dance. It opened in 1982 and has been hosting high-quality dance from small and mid-sized companies since then. 


  1. New York City Center - A gorgeous theater in mid-town, NYCC opened in 1943 and has welcomed myriad dance and musical theater programs over the years. Notably, they produce the “Encore” series which re-stages musical theater productions on a smaller scale, and Fall For Dance, a weeks-long festival with tickets at very low prices to entice a wider audience. 


  1. 92nd St Y - Aside from so many class offerings, the 92nd St Y also has performances. Often affordably priced, it’s a space many independent artists use to perform. 


  1. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center - Originally named the New York State Theater, it is one of the theaters in Lincoln Center, and built as part of New York’s participation in the World’s Fair of 1964-65. Home to the New York City Ballet, it also hosts other companies and shows when City Ballet is off. 


  1. Arts On Site - located on the famous street, St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, this woman-run organization hosts performances in a small black-box theater. Head this way if you want to see small companies pushing artistic expectations, just like art in the East Village always has. 


If you want to dig deeper, this sites usually have some great information; (dance section) 


Feel free to email me at or via IG at @emilysarkissiandance if you want more information! 

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