Who feels put off by the thought of learning a new physical skill as an adult – such as learning dance – because you don’t want to look uncoordinated and awkward in front of others? The dance studio environment can be daunting – full of professionals and teachers who love looking in studio mirrors at themselves and find dance easy. Plus they seem to have long forgotten how it feels to be an awkward beginner, and you feel like everyone is looking at you.
Dance Lessons for Beginners
Well – if you feel this way way but still harbour a desire to dance then read these 7 tips for getting past the awkward beginner stage – FAST
- Find the right dance class. To do this you need to understand yourself and then ask the studio a lot of questions. Are you outgoing and single and looking for a dance partner? Then try a social dance class. Are you part of a couple and would only like to dance together? Then steer clear of classes where changing partners is required. Shy and work best one on one? Then book a private lesson to begin, or a class where the studio is quiet. The reason you must find the right class is so important – as it plays a big part of your enjoyment (and therefore your perseverance) in the activity.
- Set realistic goals. That professional dancer who looks amazing has probably spent 10,000 hours honing their dance skills. The lady who moves so gracefully might have been dancing for 20 years. As adults we sometimes forget that all things worthwhile take time (especially in todays ‘now’ culture). Be patient, enjoy the learning, and appreciate you are always moving towards your goal. Then, strangely, before you know it, you are dancing. (By the way – no one is looking at you as you learn – we are too busy looking at ourselves in the mirror!)
- Practice. We were told to do it as children – but as adults we tend to think we are smart enough to master something physical once we understand it mentally. This just isn’t true, Any physical skill needs practice – conscious, deliberate practice. With dance – we hope that’s as much fun as the lessons!
- Relax! Any stiffness in our muscles – or our minds – can really hold us back from achieving in dance. Try to use only as many muscles as needed to perform the step. Additional strain in our shoulders, back, neck or mind will slow us down.
- Think positive – ever heard the saying “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right”. This is so true in dance. In my experience with over 1000 adult beginner dancers it is ONLY the negative mindset that prevents them from speedy learning.
- Double the time – ask your studio about a second class – learning twice a week will halve the time it takes to get over the awkward beginner stage.
- Don’t stop – persevere and stop making excuses. Had a bad week at work and feeling tired? Go to dance class. Kids annoying you? Go to dance class. Feeling stressed and feel like staying on the couch? Go to dance class. Sore back? Go to dance class. Can’t get it the first time. Try again. Try not to miss a week or a lesson, and don’t stop.
I find it fascinating that what we tell ourselves ends up being our reality – even if it’s not our destiny. By following these guidelines, you learn to dance at a surprisingly fast rate – and with a little perseverance and a healthy dose of self belief – find immense enjoyment and become a confident and sought after dance partner.
Monica Fincham is the Principal of Dancesport Kingdom in Lilydale, Victoria, Australia A former champion ballroom dancer – over the last 10 years she has now helped more than 1000 adult beginners learn to dance- adding music, passion and confidence into each of their lives. “It’s important to find an environment that puts you first. ” Find out more about how you can fast track your dance learning