By Guest Contributor Steve Platt
So, you’ve decided to take some dance lessons to prepare for an upcoming party or social function. While you’re interested in learning new dance steps, you may still have some concerns about what to expect, especially if you have no previous dancing experience. Fortunately, you can calm your nerves and prepare for your lessons by following just a few basic guidelines. Here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind.
Make Sure Your Instructor Is Properly Qualified
You might think that anybody who makes money teaching other people how to dance must know what he or she is doing. However, that’s often far from the case. In fact, many dance instruction studios don’t require their teachers to have an extensive background in any style of dance. Just as importantly, they don’t verify that their teachers actually know how to show others how to dance in an effective manner.
Before you spend your time and money on lessons for your upcoming event, do yourself a favor and make sure that you choose an instruction studio that only hires qualified personnel. The person teaching your class should have a thorough background in the style of dance you wish to learn. Crucially, he or she must know how to make the process of learning how to dance easy to understand. It also helps tremendously if your instructor knows how to make your lessons fun and exciting, instead of just taking you through a dry series of movements that may fail to hold your interest.
Pick The Learning Environment That Suits You
Most people take dance lessons with other individuals who are interested in learning a particular style or step. However, the vast majority of instruction studios also offer one-on-one lessons that allow teachers to provide a more customized learning environment. Private lessons typically cost more than group lessons, and this may significantly influence your choices, but don’t forget to pay attention to your own learning preferences.
If you thrive on interactions with others, or feel that you’ll benefit from watching the examples provided by other students, you might do best taking your dance lessons in a group class. On the other hand, if you feel inhibited or unfocused in a group setting, you might prefer to take your lessons in a private setting, even if you’ll end up spending a bit more money. You may not know which type of learning environment will produce the best results. In that case, a brief consultation with the studio staff may help. In addition, you may want to talk to any friends who have taken dance lessons in the past.
Focus On Your Own Goals
You probably have a good idea of why you’re taking dance lessons. For some people, the motivation may be the need to learn a specific step for participation in a party with an organized theme. Other students may have chosen to focus on their own preferred dance style. In addition, some members of your class may have a primary focus on other goals such as physical fitness, or a desire to make better social connections at a party or event.
When you encounter fellow students with differing motivations for enrolling in class, you might be consciously or unconsciously tempted to shift your attention away from your own personal goals. In some cases, this might not be a big deal, and you may actually benefit from a shift in your ambitions. However, you could also end up confused about your reasons for learning how to dance, or start down a path that make your original goals more difficult to achieve. Before you start your lessons, do what you can to clarify your goals in your own mind. That way, you’ll know what you want to achieve, and have a better ability to tell whether a shift in your motivations will hurt or help.
Set Your Own Pace For Learning
Your instructor will probably conduct class at a fairly rapid pace that will challenge you and keep you on your toes. However, don’t let the pace of your lessons outstrip your own speed for successful learning. If you don’t understand something that your teacher says or does, don’t hesitate to ask questions and get any needed clarifications. Don’t forget that you’re paying for your class, just like other students who happen to learn at a faster pace.
Keep Your Mind Open
It’s easy to form a bunch of preconceptions about your scheduled dance lessons, especially if you have little or no previous experience with dancing. In addition, when you start your lessons, you’ll almost certainly have to face the challenge of being in an unfamiliar environment and encountering some unfamiliar instructions and terminology. Unfortunately, taken together, these factors can significantly diminish your chances of enjoying your lessons, or achieving your desired outcomes.
You can offset any potential for problems in this area by keeping your mind open about what may or may not happen during your dance lessons. If you have taken the time to choose your preferred dance style and select a qualified instructor, then you’ve already set yourself up for success. Once classes begin, try to remain receptive to your new surroundings. An important part of this process is taking the focus off of any negative thoughts about your own capabilities, and instead focusing on your innate positivity and can-do spirit.
Prepare Yourself For Each Class
Before every dance lesson, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself, and increase your chances of success. First, make sure to avoid large meals that can make you feel sluggish or physically uncomfortable during class. If you need to eat something, try a small, energy-dense snack instead.
You’ll also want to dress properly for your lessons. Your teacher may give you specific instructions about what you need to wear. However, general guidelines include such things as wearing sneakers, or other appropriate footwear that fit your feet well, and wearing clothes that fit, but still allow you to move easily. Make sure that you arrive early enough to warm up before your lesson begins. This has the added benefit of helping you avoid disrupting class by showing up late. Finally, before class begins, make sure that you can see your instructor clearly. Taken together, all of these tips will add to your enjoyment, and set you up for a pleasant, productive learning experience.
Steve Platt is the proud owner of five Arthur Murray franchises including Arthur Murray Torrance. Do you want to get motivated? Go to your PC and print out calendars 2016. Then, write out some goals of what you want to do with your life. Write in goal dates of when you want to take your first dance lesson, perform your first routine, and compete in your first competition. Plan your weight and exercise goals.Write it down, make a plan, then inch-by-inch it will be a cinch!