Leave the Library and Dance for Free in NYC

By Ruby Samuels

One of the gifts of New York City is the ability to escape your personal worried world. Just by leaving the library you can lose yourself, often just for the cost of subway fare, into another world for the afternoon.

As a Columbia University student, you might pass by people of a dozen different nationalities, professions and political opinions on every blustery morning that you make your way to class, coffee in hand, back braced against pack. Perhaps you live off campus in Spanish Harlem or even Queens, where there are immigrants who make you feel, with their languages and food and sidewalk expressions of life, as though you are in another part of the world. But do you really experience those people and the knowledge that they have to offer? No matter where you live or who you are, I still think that you should take advantage of the free trial multi-cultural dance classes that are offered by studios all over New York City. If not for the cultural experience, then for the mental and physical therapy that every student at Columbia University needs.

Yes, dance classes may seem random, but hear me out. From Latin America to Eastern Europe, dance is a multi-sensory expression of physicality and interpretive movement shaped by the genetic and artistic evolutions of colonialism, contemporary immigration and homegrown American dance. I’m not suggesting that by leaving campus and going to a dance class somewhere in the city you’ll get an education about the deep socio-historical roots of the Tango, but you will have an adventure and meet people who live and work in one of the most diverse cities in the world. This is a chance to get away from the same people who you see every day at school, who read books and do problem sets with you every night, without breaking the bank.

This past Saturday, I decided to leave the pile of academic books I found myself buried under and take advantage of a $20, 2-hour couples introduction class to Argentinian Tango in a midtown dance studio. Just one of many studios that offer discounted intro classes, Strictly Tango gives couples a chance to awkwardly dance with each other to Latin music as instructors who could be out of Dirty Dancing tell them to “close your eyes and dance to your partner’s heartbeat.” The price ($10 per person for the first class) is on the much higher end of the spectrum–many trial dance classes in the city are free.

Here is a list of FREE dance classes, workshops and performances that you can attend in New York City this month:


  • Capoeira every Wednesday @ 6:30 at  440 Lafayette St, Studio 3G, New York,NY 10003
  • Ballet every Tuesday and Thursday @ 7:30 at 2001 Oriental Blvd, #7211, Brooklyn NY 11235
  • African Dance every Saturday morning at St. Mark’s DAy School on 1346 President St. Brooklyn, NY 11217 ( rsvp: arts@ifetayo.org. )


    • Every Monday from 8-9 at the Judson Church, the Movement Research team hosts a free dance performance of artists selected by a rotating peer panel.
    • Every Tuesday at 7pm is an experimentational performance, also by the artists at Movement Research. Next Tuesday’s performance (Feb. 7th) is at Eden’s Expressway, 537 Broadway 4th Fl New York, NY 10012
  • The 32nd Annual New York Sword Dance Festival– Schedule:
  • Saturday, February 18th, 2017 – Manhattan and Brooklyn
  • 1:00 p.m.

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, Manhattan

  • 1:00 p.m.

Park Slope Library

431 Sixth Avenue @ 9th Street, Brooklyn

  • 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Seward Park Library

192 East Broadway, Manhattan

  • 3:00 p.m.

Jefferson Market Public Library

425 6th Avenue @ 10th Street

  • 3:00 p.m.

115th Street Library

203 West 115th Street @ 7th Avenue, Manhattan


Ruby Samuels is a junior at Barnard and Editor for Barnard Bite


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