If you’re thinking of learning something new, consider ballroom dancing. Taking dance lessons is uplifting. It’s fun, exciting, sensual, practical, and, for most people, challenging. Do you have what it takes to learn social dancing?
Are you willing to get past the insecurities that plague us all when we start learning something new? Or are you too embarrassed to try because you don’t know what to expect? Let me help you with that.
What’s it like to learn to dance?
Everyone is different when it comes to learning something new. Different learning styles include visual, physical, verbal, and technical. Your teacher is trained to customize the instruction to your individual needs.
The biggest thing to remember is that learning to dance involves developing muscle memory.
It takes time to get yourself to the point where you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This comes with repetition.
As an example, remember when you first learned how to drive?
Open the door, get in, buckle up, check the mirrors, turn around and look for traffic, directional on. Then, when it’s safe, take off. Remember that you had to take it one step at a time?
Or, have you ever taken up a second language?
You’re in the classroom and your lesson is going fine. You’re introduced to the basics, maybe the alphabet. And everything is great until you walk out the door just in time to watch everything you just learned go out into the universe.
And it’s gone…until the next lesson. Learning involves forgetting. Each lesson you forget less and less.
Fast forward to learning to ballroom dance.
You’re having fun although some of it is a bit of a struggle. But, basically, you got it. “Hey, this is easier than I thought it would be.” Instructors hear that all the time. (Or, at least, that’s what we’re going for.)
But, what can you do to make learning something new go more smoothly? Here are 4 suggestions:
Write out what you want to remember in your own words. The key here is for you to write it yourself because you’ll use the words that make sense to you.
Make a video.
If your studio permits it, use the camera on your phone to record the action you want to work on between lessons. I don’t advise recording the whole lesson, just a point or two. Enough to give you something to think about.
Yes, practice by yourself. Review your notes and/or video before your next lesson. The most successful students set aside a few minutes each day to reinforce what they’re learning.
Stay after school.
Another good idea is to stay after class for a few minutes and review things while they’re still fresh in your mind.
Don’t be a slave to your dance lessons, but delight in the miracle of music and partnership. Enjoy the journey!
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