We all have to take dance classes, that’s how we get started with just about every dance. In fact, just recently, I had to start yet again, as a beginner, in swing dancing. Yes, having mastered one dance certainly helped to learn another, but no, it was not easy, and no, it was not fun to start out again as a beginner.
There’s a certain frustration that evolves when you want to be able to express yourself in a dance, envisioning yourself being able to do it, and then not being able to because you simply can’t complete the moves, or keep the timing, or conquer the ebb and flow of the dance steps. So, as I struggled through learning the new dance, I went back to the basics, to focus on the three tips to dance class mastery.
Apart from the basics – smile, be happy, pay attention, etc … there are three things I’m doing that are going to make all the difference. You expect me to talk about dance videos, and yes, they are important, but they’re really the means, rather than the end, much like finding a dance partner. The end is … practice and repetition! You want to improve, and be the star? Practice! Even 20 minutes, with a partner, and perhaps a dance video, and you will soar to the head of the class. I can’t stress this enough. It’s the bread of learning, and here comes the butter.
Which brings me to point #2. If you’re goal is to social dance, then you have to practice social dancing! It’s not enough to steal away with your dance partner, watch videos, and practice moves in a studio. You have to get out there and fumble around, and that is tough when you’re a beginner. Comfort yourself in the knowledge that you will someday master the dance – and be the person people line up to dance with. You’ll need that comfort in your mind, because right now, you likely suck.
So, as you practice with your dance videos, search out willing dance partners. and struggle to survive more than five minutes of social dancing, remember rule number three. Take it to heart, and go easy on yourself. Enjoy the process. Everyone goes through it. No one is born knowing all the moves. While it’s true, some have natural skills, regardless of your innate skill, you will master the dance. But is that really the end goal? Is that the end game?
I look back on my learning process, before I became “SalsaCrazy”, and before I took it all so “seriously”, and I realize the learning process, and being a beginner, and working through the basics, were some of the best times I’ve ever had out dancing (and in life). They were exciting, they were crazy, and they’re cherished. Tip #3 – stay positive, and enjoy the process – every second of it. Learn to dance, it will change your life.