Are you ready to learn to dance!? Yay! That’s the spirit! Dancing is healthy, exciting, fun, rewarding, romantic, and a fantastic way to meet new friends. Now that you’re on board to explore Country, Latin and Swing dancing, you’ve got some choices to make. The first one is “where”? Where you choose to learn is key to sticking with your new hobby. To solve the question of where to go, I suggest looking up “local dance studio for adults” to see what’s available in your area. From there, try out a Beginner’s Dance Lesson and see if you feel comfortable at the studio you chose. If not, keep searching so once you get into the learning process, you can focus and feel relaxed.
Next, you must decide if you’re going to go the Group Dance Class route, or take Private Dance Lessons first. There are pros and cons to each, but I always suggest starting with Private Dance Lessons if you are in a position to set aside some time and finances. Like anything else worth learning that’s super-cool like dance, taking Private Lessons will help you to become competent and confident on the dance floor much faster. Without getting too sidetracked, with Private Country or Swing dance lessons, for example, you will give you the detail and technique needed to be successful while out dancing. Plus everything will be tailored to your learning style, assuming that you’re in a dance studio that customizes each lesson for their students.
Whether you have a partner or not, Private Lessons will also give you the chance to really learn to lead or follow, both very important when learning to partner dance. At any rate, you may be ready for Group Dance Classes. Here are three ways to know if that is the case…
You’ve already taken Private Dance Lessons.
Now that you’ve made the investment in yourself with Private Dance Lessons, and you know how to lead or follow, how to hold your partner properly, and understand the timing of various dances, Group Classes are going to be great supplements to your Private Lessons. In fact, if you can still stick with your one-on-one lessons, you can learn a few new moves in a Group Classes and then bring them back to your instructor for refinement. That’s an ideal situation! Regardless, Group Dance Classes will offer you a chance to learn a different set of moves that you will be readily able to decipher because you have laid a healthy foundation in your dancing.
Group Dance Classes in Salsa or Swing will also give you the opportunity to meet new dance partners, or practice your leading/following skills with a new person. Even if you have a regular dance partner, this is a useful way to test out your role on the dance floor and make sure that you and your sweetie can’t just dance with each other and no one else. While that sounds like a good plan, it’s always nice to make sure that you can dance with anyone, should a situation arise where you may want to dance with someone else.
Tight on finances.
If money is short, Group Country, Swing or Latin classes are a great way to get social, connect with others and burn off some steam after a long day at work. While I still recommend saving for Private Lessons and taking those first, Group Classes will help you to maintain your dancing long after your initial larger investment, and for much less. Generally speaking, Group Classes can run anywhere between $10-15 per class, per person. Packages or membership discounts may also be available if you plan to attend class on a regular basis, which is great for continuing to grow in your dancing while saving you money in the meantime. When the time is right, you can always go back to Private Dance Lessons for a brush up, and to push your dancing to the next level in a short amount of time.
Ready to ask someone new for a dance.
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to ask someone new to dance for the very first time, you may be filled with both excitement and fear. The possibility of looking and feeling as good as you do when you dance with your instructor is what you’re shooting for, but know that most of the people that you dance with in the “real world” are not going to make it all look so easy. My advice for easing into social dancing for the first few times? Group classes!
While Group Classes are not by any means like dancing in a crowded Country bar or Latin nightclub, you will get a better sense of what it means to navigate around more people that you would when you’re in your Private Dance Lessons. You will also get a chance to dance with other newer dancers who may be just as nervous and can relate to your experience. That would be a relief if you didn’t have to go it alone for the first few times. He/she may also be at a similar skill level, which could be great for seeing what you know, and what hold need to be filled in your leading or following skills. Remember, as long as you have your one-on-one lessons to go back to for questions, you’ll be able to iron out any mishaps that pop up throughout your night out dancing.
Social dancing is such a blast, and it’s wonderful that you’re interested in giving it a shot! As I mentioned, whether you have a partner or not, you will be gaining a rewarding new skill and hobby that most people only wish they had.
Be patient with yourself as you discover what I call the “language of dance”. Think of how much time it might take you to learn to speak French or Spanish. What are the steps you’d go through and how often would you need to practice to become proficient? It could take months, or depending on how often you study, even less. Either way, it will take time. With structured guidance by a professional instructor, though, you will develop fantastic habits that will last a lifetime. Then those Group Classes you attend will keep you plugging along, giving you a chance to dance for years to come!