Wave of Dance Classes in Byron Bay
Byron Shire is pumping with dance classes of every variety at the moment. Let’s pop on our terry towelling bikinis and soak it up.
The Tide is High
Dance classes in the Bay come in waves. They float in like gifts from the sea. Slovenian hip-hop dancer Kim Kosic recently rolled to the shore like a mermaid, crumping to shake off the salty Wategoes water. What other dance treasures will wash into our consciousness this summer?
For your viewing and research pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of the hottest dance options in Byron Bay and surrounding areas. The criteria: Must be running for at least months; be for adults; and run in or near the Shire.
Slip on a leotard, slop some water in your reusable bottle and slap on a sweat band. Current dance classes in Byron Shire are (drumroll please):
Directed by Marissa Treichel (ahem, mwa) The Cassettes run 5 weekly adult dance classes catering to groovers of all levels. You can expect a good sweaty cardio workout, laughter and connection within modern, lyrical hip hop, street and contemporary dance-a-thons. Led by five diverse teachers, plus guest teachers, Cassette Classes are located in Byron, Bangalow and Burleigh Heads.
A warm and sparkly dance teacher, Vanessa Smith leads dynamic and accessible weekly African dance classes with exciting live drumming, at Ewingsdale Hall, Byron Bay. Vanessa was Guest Teacher for The Cassettes’ African 80s Dance Workshop in Lismore and Byron Bay.
Directed by the enigmatic Kate Histon, Byron’s Dance Dynamics run excellent dance classes for children and teenagers in jazz, hip hop, funk and contemporary. Adults can check out their Dynamic Barre dance classes, and funk hip-hop classes with Lana. Dance Dynamics also have a new dancewear shop, for essential items such as neon leg warmers and shiny tan stockings. No more driving to Ballina or Tweed for fishnet stockings!
The Lounge Belly Dance
Previously known as Isis Lounge, Byron Bay’s school of contemporary bellydance is now simply, The Lounge. The Lounge run beginner bellydance classes, plus their performance group Ladies of the Lounge. Directed by Lakita, The Lounge is located in Byron Industrial Estate. Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is Lakita’s specific style.
With Sarah Dee. A regular dance visitor from Melbourne, Dee Street is the place to go for occasional hip hop and African dancehall grooves in Byron Bay. Sarah has a lovely clear, fun and easy-to-follow teaching style, giving little samples of the African dance heritage as she goes: all the better to twerk you with my dear.
Directed by powerhouse of dance Nina Jeftic, Funky Moves have been dancing up a storm in Byron Shire for many years. They offer adult ballet classes with Miss Susan in Byron Bay, and a gamut of kids and teen classes in Clunes, Byron and Lismore. Keep an eye out for Nina’s dynamic, gutsy, challenging and sexy adult contemporary dance classes.
Geash Bowler’s 5rhythms Ecstatic Dance Mediation Class, has been running strong in Mullumbimby for years. Like me, you may have walked past St Johns Hall in Mullumbimby on a Thursday night to see sometimes 80 people whooping and hooting, thrashing and dashing about and thought: “That looks like fun”. Her DJ skills and ability to lead a large class with a completely chilled out air, is inspiring stuff.
Shamala and Zerina love being sisters so much, they’ve extended the invitation to all women within Byron Shire: as long as they love Bollywood dancing. It’s hard not to smile as you wiggle your hips, hear the tinkle of bells on your skirt, and twirl around with glee and panache. Adult Bollywood Classes with the Bollywood Sisters, are in South Golden Beach.
That’s My Jam
With more hair flicking than a Pantene advert, That’s My Jam is directed by the soulful Kyla Blacksmith. That’s My Jam specialise in super sassy Beyonce choreography, plus relaxed and smooth hip-hip grooves. A past student of The Cassettes within the Flashmob Troupe, Kyla is a strong teacher in her own right. Kyla was also co-teacher for The Cassettes’ Dirty Dancing Workshop in Byron Bay.
Swing On In is run by Chrissy and Ray Keepence, a couple whose romance is as infectious as their dance moves. A lighthearted partner dance, Swing On In classes take place in Bangalow and Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast. Chrissy and Ray were also Guest Teachers for The Cassettes’ Footloose Workshop in Byron Bay, in which everybody cut loose.
Bangalow Theatre Company
Not a dance school, however Bangalow Theatre Company still bust out a mean team of jazz hands. Dancers are accepted by audition for Bangalow Theatre Company’s musical theatre productions such as Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors and The Drowsy Chaperone. Past and present Cassette Flashmob Troupe dancers Jim Hobbs, Kylie Faud and Kelly Dodd featured in Chicago’s fabulous dance scenes, choreographed originally by Bob Fosse, adapted and recreated by Anouska Gammon for thrilled Byron audiences.
Inspire Dance Studio
QUT Dance Graduate Danielle Stewart runs Inspire Dance Classes, held in Billinudgel. Danielle creates a warm community atmosphere, within her funky industrial studio near Ocean Shores. With upbeat teenage and playful kids dance classes, Danielle offers adult dance classes in jazz and contemporary: for the latter, BYO knee pads! Danielle’s choreography is ambitious, dynamic, emotive and original.
With Kimberley McIntyre, in Mullumbimby. Kimberley runs enquiring, intelligent yet relaxing dance classes for adults of all ages, including a dance class for mature movers. Her classes allow dancers to unfold as they feel to, using interesting and fun task-based improvisations. There’s usually a live musician in the second half of the class: very special to dance to.
Byron Ballet School
Directed by Yvonne Hall, Byron Ballet School have been chasse-ing about Byron Shire for many moons. They continue to bring all your favourite Ballet smash hits to Byron Theatre, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, La Sylphides, The Rite of Spring, Peter and The Wolf. Yvonne is a passionate supporter of the arts and especially of practicing choreographers.
Spirit Belly Dance
Tatiana leads super accessible belly dance classes for movers of all ages and abilities, as short courses through ACE: Adult Community Education, in their Mullumbimby studio. Tatiana has a gentle and friendly teaching radiance and loves imparting the ancient, sensual and empowering art of traditional Middle Eastern Belly Dance.
A beginner level hip-hop dance class at Byron Bay’s Encounter Studio in the Industrial Estate. Groove Therapy is a street dance organisation, who also run Groove Therapy classes in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast. Which means Byron must be considered a Dance City: very cool! Groove Therapy was founded by Vanessa Marion, who also teaches their Byron class.
With Liat Sokal, in Ocean Shores. A lightly facilitated class comparable to 5rhythms, Heart Dance is a movement mediation practice. Perfect for those who seek an open floor style class, where you’re free to explore in your own way for a couple of hours, amid other movers.
Dance Integrated Australia
Philip Channells is dedicated to social justice within the arts, and frequently brings this into practice through innovative and inclusive dance workshops and projects in Byron Bay, Federal, Lismore and further afield. These are often co-led by incredible teachers such as dance luminary Gavin Webber. As the name implies, Dance Integrated Australia provide rich opportunities for people with and without disabilities to collaborate artistically. Philip’s masterclass, Beyond Technique – Searching for Authenticity is one to watch out for.
Directed by Natalia and based in Bangalow, Dancelab run adult classes in ballet and Zumba, as well as loads of exciting dance classes for children and teens.
And so ends the immense wave of dance classes in Byron Bay!
As you know I’ve included dance classes that have been dazzling Byron Bay and surrounds for at least six months, focusing on the adult dance class options. Coz adults gotta have fun too. Many, such as Dance Dynamics and Funky Moves have been here for well over a decade! The Cassettes have been doing the running man, among other things, for 4 years.
Other dance schools and dance offerings are newer to the area. Part of the charm and sometimes frustration of Byron, is that nothing stays the same: as Ponyboy quoted Robert Frost in The Outsiders, “Nothing gold can stay”. We have to enjoy it while it lasts. Or to misquote the old adage: Make yay while the sun shines.
With so many fun and diverse dance classes for adults on offer in our beautiful area, now is a great time to start, or to keep dancing. I find dance brings out the best in people: you often rediscover your healthy, creative, social, physical, disciplined and playful side, all in the space of an hour or so! How efficient.
Try a new class as an experiment, with an open mind – you’ll either discover something new that you adore, or have a point of comparison for a class you’re already attending.
Don’t You Forget About Me
If you’re a dance teacher and run an amazing adult dance class in Byron Bay, Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head, Ocean Shores etc, OR if you’re an adult or teen dancer and have a good dance class to recommend, I’m super happy to add it to this handy Byron Shire Dance List.
Ring my bell