You did it! You began the summer by fulfilling a resolution that took you years to get up the nerve to do. You went for it and signed up for dance lessons! How exciting! How glamorous! How…SCARY! Now, literally steps closer to the dance floor than you have ever found yourself since prom 20 years ago, there is still one thing holding you back… that dreaded first step on to a “real” dance floor. Suddenly, the tapes that have been “dancing” around in your brain all of these years are being put to the test. “What am I doing out in this Country bar? I can’t dance!”, you say to yourself. Even with 30 plus hours of private dance lessons under your belt in the last few months, you have the biggest hurdle in front of you yet…YOU! The fear of failure, looking stupid or drawing a blank is right in front of you and the pressure is on. Thanks to Nike, telling yourself to “Just do it!” does build some confidence, but becoming a great social dancer is more than just knowing your steps. Getting over that psychological hump of not feeling good enough is a process that everyone goes through when they are first learning how to dance. If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. The good news is that, because you’re not alone, we have developed tools and tips just for you to put those jitters to rest once and for all.
1. Remember that fear is normal and healthy. Now let’s put this fear thing into perspective. While dancing may seem as scary as jumping out of an airplane or swimming with sharks, it is actually a lot easier, (and much safer) than both. First, you can burrow yourself and your partner in the middle of the dance floor if you truly choose to go unseen. This will surely easy the fear of being watched. Also, keep in mind that at one point or another, every person in the Country bar or at your cousin’s wedding has had their first time social dancing too. In other words, you’re not alone. In fact, some of those very same people may be experiencing their first time social dancing on the same night that you are! See…you can do this! Just get out there and give it a try.
2. Set yourself up for success. If you’re learning to Country Two Step or Salsa dance just for the fun of it, then there’s no need to stress yourself out on your first night on the dance floor. For your first few times out, choose a less crowded night, usually a weeknight or a Saturday, to go dancing. Why put yourself out there with the seasoned dancers when you are just getting your feet wet? Take the pressure off of yourself and plan ahead to get the most out of your first few times social dancing.
Another way to set yourself up for success is to be patient. Have a drink, relax and wait for the right song to come on before jumping out there just to get it over with. In fact, find a few songs that you have practiced to at the place where you take private dance lessons and request those songs throughout the night. That way, you’ll be even more comfortable and relaxed when it comes time to hit the floor and take off dancing! 🙂
3. Focus on your frame. As you have hopefully learned by this point in your dance lessons, your footwork is not nearly as important as a solid connection between you and your partner. Scan the room for the good leaders or followers, the ones that look like they are well-connected and moving as one. If you are coming in with your dance partner for the first time, then make your frame a priority over reviewing steps. Just feeling the connection and supporting each other in that way will ease the tension of having to be flashy simply to fit in. You have all the time in the world to go show off after you feel good about navigating around the dance floor without freaking out.
Becoming a confident social dancer is a process. If you’ve ever learned a second language, remind yourself how you felt going to that other place and giving it a whirl. It was a bit rocky at first and then, before you knew it, you were fluent over time with practice and effort. Going out dancing can feel bumpy the first few times, but my advice is to stick with it so that you can make the most of your investment. There’s no real point to paying for dance lessons if you aren’t going to apply your skills along the way. In fact, applying those skills will enhance your lessons and bring more value to them. Remember to let your instructor know when you plan to go out and once you have gone out so that you can both prepare and review what happened. Then, you can get ready for your next outing! Before long, your social calendar will be filled with dancing and fun!
For Arizona residents, let us at Dance FX Studios show you how to be a comfortable and confident social dancer with our New Student Offer. We are located in the Phoenix East Valley, but residents from all around town come visit us to prepare for upcoming weddings, date nights and the like. Our certified instructors will show you how fun and easy it can be to learn to dance! With the holidays approaching, as your loved ones for a gift card to Dance FX Studios for Country, Latin, Swing, Ballroom or Argentine Tango dance lessons. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!