Where to Dance: London
Pineapple Dance Studios is to London, what Broadway Dance Center is to New York City.
For an American dancer (me), dancing at Pineapple was a bucket list item. I’ve wanted to dance here since I was a girl, having heard rumors of a London studio where legends have sweat it out on their floors. But Pineapple isn’t just for pros. For the casual visitor a dance class at Pineapple is a fun and unconventional item to add to your London to-do. It ensures a high-energy afternoon and unique story to tell your friends.
DANCE CLASS AT PINEAPPLE:
On my visit to London I made a point of taking a class (or 3) at the infamous Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden. It’s here where West End shows are cast, and stars are made and mentored. You’ll find the windows foggy almost every hour of the day–the mark of a good studio.
What’s with the name “Pineapple”? The studios are on the site of an old Pineapple distributing warehouse in Covent Garden. Debbie Moore, Founder of Pineapple, created the studio with a specific idea in mind–
“To make dance accessible to anyone, where absolute beginners could mix with professional dancers…”
So two left feet or not, don’t be shy in approaching dance in London’s Theatre District. There’s something on roster for everyone, novice to pro.
Get off the Central Line at Euston and from there its only an 8-10 minute walk to the studios. For dancers visiting for a short time, you’ll have to pay a £2 drop-in fee at the desk (this changes to £4 after 5pm). Once you’re buzzed in, wind your way to your class and pay your teacher directly (usually between £7-£10).
To figure out what class you’d like to take visit their online schedule master. Beneath faculty Bios are youtube clips of choreography and classes.
On my visit I took a contemporary class with Sarah Dolin, a sweaty, earthy class that left me drenched. I also took a fun LA Commercial Jazz with Mark Battershall, a class that had me exercising my improv and partnering skills. Before I left London, I stopped in for one more class and perhaps my favorite, a Theatre Jazz class with Drew McOnie (update 07/2017: McOnie is now the choreographer for King Kong on Broadway) An incredible teacher, Drew educates his students in more than just technique but in the performance quality as well. He emphasizes the challenge of this triple-talent discipline—Dancing, Singing, AND Acting. After a long and high-energy jive style combo to “Hairspray” I was gasping for air. This class is a must-take for aspiring Musical Theatre performers. It’s full of excellent energy, inspiring dancers, and Drew’s thorough wisdom of the genre.
Know of some other must-dance locales in London? Tell me ’bout it!