This article is a little bit of tough love for anyone who truly wants to learn dance - so I hope you take it in the right spirit...
I've never told anyone this before - but as a dance studio director for the last 12 years I now know the six main reasons students fail to meet their own expectations as a dancer - and it's got absolutely nothing to do with two left feet or lack of rhythm. Wanna know why? Read on and find out.
#1 The couch calls....
You started dancing three weeks ago and have been coming every week - and LOVE IT! You've graduated from the beginner class and are dancing about 4 or 5 dances with some finesse. Then suddenly it's raining, and it's cold, and you had a busy day at work, and you got the sniffles, so you head to the couch instead of the ballroom and BAM! That goal of becoming a proficient dancer just took a huge step backwards.
# 2 Excuses, excuses...
But it's cold and raining, and you've had a busy day at work, and your've got the sniffles. So you CAN'T dance! So many people make excuses for not coming, even though they dearly want to be able to dance. Show up and you'll become a proficient dancer, I promise.
No one achieves anything worthwhile overnight and dancing is no exception. Except for the extremely rare naturally talented dancers (less than 0.1% of the population) dancing, whilst reasonably easy to learn a few moves, is difficult to master and it takes extraordinary patience, practice and time. You aren't going to dance like a pro in 4 weeks. So, enjoy the process and reward yourself for tiny improvements along the way.
#4 Injuries plaque you...
First it's an old footy knee, then a sore back, and then your shoulder is hurting when you lift your arms. Aches and pains can pursue us, especially as we get older, but don't let them prevent you from dancing. Look after yourself, and allow dance to loosen your joints and improve your flexibility, enjoying a whole new you!
#5 Unfavourable comparisons.
You are unique. You are different to everyone else, you learn at a different pace, you get some moves more easily than others, you bring a unique perspective to the way you dance each dance. Comparing yourself to others is pointless. Just keep dancing on your own path.
#6 If I'm not perfect, I'm not doing it.
Perfectionism is the death knoll for dance learning. Trials, mistakes and stepping on our partners' feet are all part of the journey of learning to become a masterful dancer. Leave perfectionism at the door, pop your dance shoes on and laugh at all your mistakes. That's how the pro's did it!
So that's it!
Show up each and every week, practice and think about it a little at home, keep learning and stop making excuses.
Monica Fincham is the owner of Dancesport Kingdom in Lilydale. Over the last 11 years she has taught thousands of adults to dance, at her Ballroom studio in Lilydale, Melbourne, Australia. "What has astounded me is that it's not the talented or gifted students that become amazing dancers, but those with grit and a mindset of 'never give up' that gets them smashing their dancing goals. A lot of people can talk the talk, but only a few actually walk the walk. I've seen even the most talented dancers give up, if they don't have that mindset. "