The iconic Pineapple Dance Studios in London celebrates their 40th birthday this year. To commemorate the occasion, Pineapple Dance hosted an open dance day – offering 40 free classes to the public. On the morning of Sunday 28 July, just a day after International Dance Day, the daylong celebration began with an impressive ‘Mexican heat wave’ (immortalized on Instagram) and a few healthy snacks before commencing with dance classes and performances galore.
Can you spot me below? I’m in a navy blue jacket
during the second slow motion section.
London’s Pineapple Dance Studios
When I told my colleague I was going to check out Pineapple studios over the weekend, she said: “That’s where all the cool kids go,” which is a bit intimidating when you’re not particularly cool and way too old to be considered a kid. Founded in 1979 by Debbie Moore, Pineapple Dance Studios is London’s premiere big name dance studio. When you’re looking for dance schools in London, Pineapple is the recommendation many people blurt out first. They are particularly notable for hiring incredibly talented instructors and providing a variety of drop-in dance classes for dancers of different ages and abilities.
Pineapple Dance Studios Open Day
From the time I transferred from to the tube at London Victoria station, I spotted dancers on their way to Pineapple’s dance open day. Some wore black leggings and athletic clothing; some rocked swag representing their respective home studios; and others were in street clothes – their attitude more of a giveaway than their pedestrian attire. Still, excited conversations about the dance class schedule united them all.
More than half an hour before the Pineapple Dance Studios doors were to open, an impressive queue of dance enthusiasts formed outside of the building, snaking around the Pineapple dancewear boutique – their new flagship store – and the Covent Garden surroundings. The peculiar sight even prompted a few perplexed locals and tourists to ask what all the fuss was about. One lady thought we were all about to audition for a show! The Pineapple dance staff captured the excitement in a staged ‘Mexican heat wave’ (which Americans just call ‘the wave’ and figure it out from the context)…
The dancers towards the front of the line snagged a Pineapple Dance Studios 40th anniversary tote bag stuffed with a few extra goodies, but on the way into the studios the entire queue of dancers could collect free smoothies, coffee, protein bars and other snacks – which kept us fuelled throughout the day. They held out for the first few sessions, but dancers that arrived later in the day probably missed out.
All of the class tokens were allotted outside of the dance studio. There were two queues: one for the very next class, and another for the time slot after. This allowed many dancers to run out of one class and enroll in another class straight away, depending upon availability. Dancers who were more choosey with their dance classes could skip a session for a better shot of taking class with their favourite Pineapple dance instructors. Throughout the day, I managed to take four classes (well, three and a half) back to back.
Pineapple Open Day Class Overview
Christiano: Lyrical Jazz
The studio was full to the brim with dancers, tangibly excited to take Christiano’s class. He seems to have a celebrity-like status. The warm-up incorporated a good deal of conditioning paired with stretching, and the core work helped us to prepare for some typical contemporary floorwork.
Mads: Diva from MyDivalution
The diva class was led by Mads, but she brought a whole troupe of her gorgeous MyDivalution ladies to demonstrate. We heartily applauded when she showed us the “Crazy in Love” choreography, and the energy throughout class was infectious. Although simpler than Chris Koo’s choreography, the dance allowed us to showcase some sass.
See our video of the short diva dance class choreography.
Pandi’s dancehall class focused on social dance steps with a range of movement qualities. He broke down the steps and then had us step away from the mirror, moving through the studio and engaging with others as we danced. Afterwards, he taught us a short routine, emphasising the difference between movement phrases intended for grooving and those to show off technical dance skills.
Karen uniquely let assistants run her classic jazz warm-up routine, while she walked around giving individual corrections. Taking a straight-up jazz class was great fun, since I’ve usually only received diluted snippets in modern or contemporary warm-ups. The choreography looked like fun, but after 3 consecutive dance classes, my brain couldn’t hold it – so I had to sneak off a little bit early.
Pineapple Dance Studios 40th Anniversary
When dancers weren’t taking class or queuing for the next open dance day slot, they could check out dance performances from their instructors and peers in the small courtyard. But the Pineapple Dance Studios 40th anniversary celebrations weren’t restricted to the open dance day. Founder Debbie Moore was also sculpted by Frances Segelman, and the studio staff are nominating Community Dance Champions each month. Eden Rubin, aged 12, was awarded in April for collecting and distributing gently worn dance apparel to underprivileged dancers around the world.