We run a few different classes that are open to complete beginners so we see a lot of folks coming through the door who have never taken a dance class before. If you’re considering having a go at dancing here are some handy tips to help you breeze through your first class like a pro.
Know That You Aren’t Alone If you’ve booked onto a class that is open to beginners it’s very unlikely that you’ll be the only newbie. Go in assuming that everyone else is starting from square one just like you. If you arrive a bit early chat to other students. See if they are feeling as nervous as you.
Dress for Success There’s nothing worse than turning up to a class in a leotard and tights when everyone else is in street clothes! Try to find out ahead of time what kind of shoes and clothing people usually wear to class so that you know you’ll be appropriately dressed. For most lindy hop or solo charleston/vintage jazz classes its a good idea to wear comfortable casual clothes and flat shoes that aren’t too grippy (plimsoles are a good cheap option)
Listen to the Teacher This might seem obvious but as adults we aren’t always as good at listening as we’d like to think. Some instructors might come round to give everyone individual tips, some may not so it’s really important to listen to what is being said to the class especially if you don’t think you’re “getting it”. Trust that the teacher has noticed your struggle and is about to tell you exactly what you need to do to fix it.
Have Reasonable Expectations for Yourself Everyone learns at a different rate and different aspects of the dance may be easier or harder for you than they appear to be for others. No matter what your background is try to go into a new class with the expectation that it will be a learning process that will take a little time. Expect that you might understand something intellectually but still take a bit longer to get your feet to do it. If you feel like you aren’t getting something but the teacher hasn’t swooped in to help, keep trying, you’re probably doing just fine and just need to try it a couple more times to nail it.
Dance Like No One is Watching Because they aren’t. No one is looking at you thinking that you’re the worst dancer in the class, they’re all focusing on trying to get the steps themselves. Whatever new steps you’re trying just go for it and if you are going to fail, fail BIG. No one will notice. Except the teacher and then they’ll know what you might need help with.
Practice Makes Perfect With most dance classes you get out what you put in. Practicing between sessions is a great way to solidify your learning and help you feel ready to keep adding new material. How do you practice a partner dance if you don’t have a partner? You can still practice the footwork, commit that to muscle memory and you’ll have one less thing to think about at the next lesson.