10 Tips for Newcomer Students
If you have only seen dancing on TV, and are about to start learning how to dance, here are a few valuable tips to consider:
1. Book your lesson - Call the studio and schedule your lesson in advance, so that you get the day and time that works best for you. The most popular time slots in the afternoon, evenings and weekends get booked fast.
2. Private lessons - When on a private lesson, your instructor concentrates all the attention on developing your skills and ability. Oftentimes, there might be other private lessons going on in the same room at the same time - that's a common practice in the dance world. Hard to concentrate when other students/teachers are practicing around? Ask your teacher if there are any slots available during the day when it's less busy and book your lesson then!
3. Shoes - Have you ever skied without skis? No matter what type of dance you're to learn, you'll need comfortable soft shoes with leather or suede soles. Give it a couple of weeks first to see how you're doing with dancing and what particular style of dance you're going to be working on, and then invest in a quality pair of proper dance shoes. They are going to change the way you feel when dancing!
4. Attitude - Stay open to different approaches teachers use in order for you to learn fast! Positivity - and a sense of humor! - will speed up your process of learning the most.
5. Patience - Oh, you haven't danced before at all? Well, expect to get frustrated and lost during your first few lessons. That's natural! And ... it's called learning a new skill! (Which always takes time.)
6. Practice - It does make it perfect! To develop muscle memory of any movement, you have to repeat it MANY times. Then it becomes automatic and you can concentrate on other things, like musicality, expression, floorcraft.
7. Standing appointments - If your daily schedule is steady, it's best to select the days/times that work for you and your teacher, and keep them on a weekly basis. This way you always dance when it's convenient for you, and your spot is never taken by somebody else!
8. Group Classes - THE RULE: Never correct your partner! What? You're saying you have just started learning how to dance and you are already able to tell your partner what they are doing wrong?! Explain what's not working (for your dance!) to your teacher, and the teacher will correct the person you're dancing with, or maybe even you! Also, this way you'll have more friends in the group class...
9. Warm up - Don't underestimate the importance of our muscles, as well as of our brain, to be tuned into what's going to be next. Show up 10-15 minutes before your lesson, and go over the steps and the technique that you had previously worked on. You'll spend your lesson on active learning rather than reviewing this way!
10. Have fun! Isn't that why we are all dancing?! Keep it upbeat, keep smiling, and keep on dancing!