I’ve been dancing since I was little, and didn’t want to give that up when I moved to Paris.
The past year or so I haven’t been able to as often as I’d like – N has been living away (we met through dancing), and my dance partner (also an N) has a busy job which means he sometimes has to work weekends. But I have been practising fairly regularly and we’ve competed a few times in the last 12 months.
My usual style, Dancesport (Ballroom and Latin American), doesn’t seem to have a huge following in Paris, and I didn’t want to have to commit to a regular partner. I found the Centre de Danse du Marais, which has a brilliant reputation, especially for Ballet, and has a packed schedule with about 40 different dance styles. They do offer a Ballroom class, but it’s only at beginner level. I wanted a challenge, so a new style seemed like a fun way to get back into it.
They have a ‘Beyoncé style’ class on a Monday, which is somewhere between commercial, jazz and hip-hop. I showed up about 15 mins early and paid my 18€ entry which sounds like a lot, but compared to classes I’ve taken in the UK, and considering Paris is generally more expensive, it’s okay. We danced for 2 hours, in a relatively small class size, so it’s actually really reasonable. You can buy a pack of 4 lessons for 64€ so it works out cheaper, and I’ll definitely be doing that next time I go.
I waited in the changing room, filled with girls around my age, and none of them seemed to know each other, which was comforting – I didn’t feel like a complete outsider.
We had some time to stretch but the class ended up beginning about 20 minutes late. The teacher was so incredibly talented – he taught in French but translated a few things for me. A lot of the dance vocab is the same between French and English, so I didn’t struggle too much to understand, and he broke down each step in a really clear way.
The choreography was challenging, but that’s what I want from a class. I’m normally very competitive about dancing, and felt a little insecure at the beginning, but everyone was so friendly and I began just to focus on myself and the music after a while.
I’m not sure that I looked like Bey by the end of the class, but I definitely felt like I did.