Where to Start Dancing
The New Year is almost upon us (still hard to believe!), and I have been approached by many people who are making dance lessons a part of their New Years’ Resolution. Some say they have wanted to learn for YEARS, while others say their significant other has been asking them to do it for years. No matter the reason, it is common for people to seek my opinion on where to start. I think this will be a great first blog for the studio!
Quick background on where I started dancing-
My freshman year of college I was asked by a fellow freshman to participate in a Latin Dance Showcase at school that raised money for charity. In the annual show there were several dance numbers, each number consisting of multiple couples formed from volunteer college students. They learned a group routine for a particular dance, like Salsa or any other type of Latin Dance. I said NO several times, in different ways 🙂
I did make it a point to go see the show that year, and I felt something tug inside of me while I was in the audience. I had always loved music, and I would dance in my room when no one was around (to all my fellow dancers who keep it private, you are not alone!). But seeing the show in person, seeing people dance cumbia, merengue, bachata and tango, it made me sure that I wanted to be able to do that too. I wanted to be the type of person that could get out there and do that.
Soooo for the next 3 years I said YES, and I made it a part of my life to ask other people to volunteer to be in the show as well. No experience was necessary, you just needed to have the courage to put yourself out there and a willingness to learn.
I still believe that is true, for dancing in general. It doesn’t matter if you will not look like the best dancer on the planet when you get out and dance. The important things are to enjoy dancing, to enjoy moving your body and dancing with another person. The interplay of leading and following and the joy of moving to music are things that I love, and I want everyone else to be able to share in that love. So, again, where to start?
Private Lessons – One on one instruction is the best way to start, in my opinion. Our studio has introductory offers for students (which a lot of businesses do) that let you try out private instruction as a way to get started on your pathway into learning to dance with a partner. Do it. Nothing beats private instruction for actually learning, and there is no obligation to continue on with private instruction afterwards. If you do, then that is great and you will be able to better direct your learning because the lessons are tailored for YOU. If not, then at least you got a start, and you can look at other methods of instruction, such as Group Lessons. Group Lessons are also a fantastic way to get introduced to dancing.
Group Lessons – Some people prefer to not be the focus of attention when they are starting out in a new venture or hobby, and that is perfectly OK! Group lessons for social dancing are also great places to start, and group instruction is usually more inexpensive than private instruction. You don’t get a lot of individual attention, if any, but that is not the point for these classes. You are getting introduced to basic patterns and concepts, and sharing the experience with others. All the group classes I have been involved in have been full of nice people, who are all in the same boat-
They want to learn to dance, and they are non-judgmental because they know themselves what it’s like to be self-conscious while learning.
Group Lessons are definitely a good place to begin learning how to dance. Now, if you are fine with the idea of learning with a group of people, and you think it would be really fun to learn with your friends, then another place to start is a Shared Private Lesson.
Shared Private Lessons– The most common example of a shared private that I can think of is a group of couples that were already friends that decide to take social dance lessons together. They all coordinate their schedules and their sitters and go out for a night of good food and dancing (switching the order when necessary 🙂).
This is another good place to start learning- In these situations you get the group class atmosphere, but with more individual attention during the instruction (dependent on the size of the group).
One big plus of a shared private lesson is that they are progressive. The normal scheduled group class is not usually progressive, due to the fact that the classes accept walk-ins. So each group class is contained to that day. You will probably learn something new during each group class, whether it be a pattern or something technical, but the group class instructor cannot assume any prior knowledge of a pattern because there are newcomers in the group class. With a shared private lesson you can keep polishing the patterns you are being introduced to, and you have control over the dances that you are being taught. They are a fun way to start learning if you have some friends that want to join in the new adventure.
Those are three different ways you can begin to learn how to dance, each of them viable. I hope that if you are thinking about starting that this has helped you decide to take the plunge. Now that these options are laid out, which one is the best for you? Hmmmm… well no matter no matter how you jump in, once you’re in you’re IN! Happy Dancing and Happy New Year!! 🙂
(OMG what happened we went crazy way too fast)