Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. As a professional ballroom dance instructor at Dance FX Studios, the best advice I could give my students would just be to RELAX. Usually this will happen within the first few minutes of getting out on to the floor after a long day at work. However, when the anxiety lingers, that’s when I find my students having the most difficult time, whether we are Swing dancing or Country dancing. I have noticed that with just a few coping mechanisms in place ahead of time, your Private Dance Lesson can get off to a much better start.
First… When push comes to shove, I tell my students to “walk it out”! If you’re struggling with a new Salsa dance combination, FREEZE! Stop dancing for a minute so your feet can catch up with your brain and simply walk through it. By taking some time to go through your moves in slow motion, you give your body more of a chance to create the muscle memory for each skill. Once you feel more confident in walking mode, you can slowly increase the speed to polish up your transitions in and out of each Latin dance move.
Next, breathe and be patient with yourself. Just like most things in life, learning new skills takes time, and social ballroom dancing is no exception. Fred Astaire certainly did not learn to dance in a day, and it most likely will take you a bit more time too. It’s rare for almost anyone to have a complete natural ability in any sport or physical activity immediately, so give yourself time to discover and grow. With patience and great instruction, you can certainly do almost anything. If you have ever tried learning how to play a musical instrument, you probably know that you played more “wrong” notes at first than “right” ones.
Finally, know that repetition is not a punishment! Think back to Kindergarten for a moment. When you were learning how to write the alphabet, the teacher didn’t just show you once and expect you to do it perfectly thus forward. Instead she probably started with having you trace each letter several times before trying to freehand your own. Then, you wrote line after line of abc’s until you didn’t really have to think about how to shape each letter. Dancing parallels this to a tee. First you have to learn how to hold your pencil (or partner). Then you have to learn how to move your pencil across the paper (or your partner across the dance floor). Then you learn how to shape each letter (or move) robotically. After a few months of practice, you can write without having to think too hard about what shape each letter makes. How soon you can start writing in cursive smoothly will depend on how often you practice.
Ironically, adult dance lessons can be more stressful than they are relaxing in the initial stages of learning, but the end result will be a wonderfully enjoyable and quite relaxing hobby that you can use for years to come. Give yourself and those you love the gift of Private Dance Lessons to get the best results on the dance floor in the shortest time possible. Guaranteed, you will have a skill that will impress others and provide hours of fun for many years ahead!