New dance parents often don't realize just how many types of dance there are. Not to mention the many methods to teach each dance style. Here's a list of the top ten dance styles that we see people buy for at Inspirations…


1. Ballet Dancing

Tutuspointe shoes and men in tights are what instantly what come to mind when someone speaks of ballet. It is so much more than that. Said to be the most difficult genre to master, ballet is also the core of all dance. Usually set to orchestrated music (but is not limited too), ballet is a poised style of dance and is the basis of many other forms. Ballet is often the first dance style a child will experience as they begin their dance training. Ballet shoes are worn until the dancers feet have developed enough strength to progress into pointe shoes. This is often around the age of 12 and only after the students have been given permission by their teacher. Ballet is an excellent teaching tool for all dancers as it is a complex mixture of technique, coordination and musicality.

young tap dancer

2. Tap Dancing

Tap is best described as "musical feet". Tap is a form of dance where dancers use their feet as percussive instruments. They wear shoes specially designed with metal plates on the toe and heel. These are called taps, labeling the shoes as Tap Shoes. There are many different styles of tapping however the two most noted are Rhythm Tap and Broadway Tap. Rhythm Tap is more musically driven, where as Broadway Tap is more dance and movement oriented. Tap is great for fostering rhythm in dancers.

Jazz dancer

3. Jazz

Jazz is the most popular style of dance amongst dancers. Jazz embodies many aspects of dance. It has been influenced by ballet, modern, tap, hip-hop, African dance and many more styles. Jazz pulls from all dance styles mixing them together to create a high energy style that knows no boundaries. Jazz is most often set to up beat popular songs of the time. Jazz shoes are worn for this style and are typically a leather split sole allowing the dancers foot more freedom to bend and move. Due to the upbeat music, power packed moves and limitless style, it isn’t hard to see why this is the most popular dance style!

modern dancer

4. Modern Dance

Modern was said to be developed as a rebellion against classical ballet. Since then it has come into its own. Built on concepts of rawness, modern dance focuses on the dancers strong relationship with the floor, concepts of contraction & release and the connectivity of breath and , movement. Modern can be performed in bare feet, or with a half-sole type of shoe that will allow a great amount of freedom in the foot while providing protection from the floor. Dance PawsFootUndeez, and half sole Twylas are some of the most popular styles worn in modern. Though developed out of the distaste for classical ballet, modern and ballet are closely linked in the complexity of technique, coordination and musicality.

lyrical dancer

5. Lyrical

The basis of lyrical is ballet but also encompasses both jazz and modern. It is expressive, simultaneously subtle and dynamic.  It focuses on conveying musicality and emotion through movement. It is usually set to popular songs and is based around feelings and emotions. Lyrical is often danced wearing Twyla’sDance PawsFootUndeez or bare feet. Though proper dance techniques are important, the true heart of lyrical is found in its expressive nature.

hip hop dancer handstand

6. Hip Hop

Hip Hop is an urban dance style also known as Street Dance. Hip Hop is edgy, raw and intense. Hip Hop is mostly danced to hip hop, urban, and rap music. What sets Hip Hop apart from most dance genres is that it is often freestyle in nature and does not follow a vocabulary. Hip Hop is a stylf of dance that is open to personal expression. Hip Hop is the founder of popping, locking and crumping. High top sneakers, funky bright sneakers, and traditinal Hip Hop shoes are worn.

contemporary dance

7. Contemporary

Contemporary dance embodies ballet, modern, jazz and lyrical. It uses technique such as ballet as its fundamentals and creates many more greater movements that do not adhere to the strict rules of ballet and modern. There are different categories of contemporary dance such as Contemporary Ballet and Contemporary Jazz. Contemporary dance is often danced to all types of music and in bare feet with non-traditional costumes.

highland dancer

8. Highland Dancing

Highland dance was developed in the Gaelic Highlands of Scotland and should not be confused with Scottish Country Dancing. Highland dancing requires a lot of stamina , as well as arm and leg strength. Many people may compare Scottish highland dance to Irish dance but, Irish dance is progressive and Highland dancing is traditional. Ballet shoes may be worn on younger dancers, however the traditional Ghillies are often requested. The eyelets found on Highland shoes are flat with metal rings.

young line dancer

9. Line Dancing

Line Dancing is a social dance that is made up of a sequence of steps that is repeated. Line dancing is associated with country-western music and dance.  Line dancing is a solo dance that is danced in a straight line, a circle or in a “follow the leader” pattern. Footwear is decided by the dancer and is if often cowboy boots for the men and heels for the women. Many women choose to wear a Cuban heel shoe as it offers great support and is the perfect heel height for any age!

irish dance shoes

10. Irish Dancing

Irish dancing originated from Ireland and can be divided into performance and social dances. Made famous by Riverdance it is best recognized by its rapid leg and foot movements while the body and arms are kept largely stationary. Irish soft shoes and hard shoes are worn. They type of shoe is dependant on the style of Irish dance. Irish dancers are also known for their bold-colour, and intricately detailed dance costumes.