Learning to dance is very much like learning an instrument. My sister tells me that she and my niece are going to take guitar lessons. She wondered how long it would take. These things take time.
What’s it like to learn a new skill?
In the beginning, the challenge is how clunky you feel.
My sister and her daughter will have to use their hands and fingers in new ways. Learning to dance requires you to move in a pattern that, like learning an instrument, repetition will make smooth.
“Learning to dance is easier than I thought it would be.”
If you’re lucky enough to have found the right instructor, this is how you’ll feel after your first lesson. It’s important that he or she has the skill to get the information to you in the way that you learn.
Confidence will come when you develop a physical habit.
Learning to dance is like learning another language. Your goal is to dance, play an instrument, or speak a new language naturally, without thinking, as if you’ve been doing it your whole life.
“I can’t remember what I’ve learned!”
Please know that developing a skill that requires you to move and think in a new way will take time. And, actually, you learn by forgetting. Each lesson will find you remember more and more.
How much time will it take, you ask?
The answer is, it depends on what you put into it.
- As a beginning ballroom dancer, we recommend that you don’t try to practice without supervision. That means for the first few lessons you can just think about how much fun it is to go to the studio. You get to laugh and learn with your instructor and newfound friends.
- By the time you get to the third or fourth lesson, you’re probably eager for something to work on at home. If you want to make decent progress in learning to dance, you practice. Once you start practicing, you can’t stop.
- Putting in 20-30 minutes 4-5 times per week should do the trick. In the case of ballroom dancing, we certainly consider group classes and practice parties to be a part of that.
- As a matter of fact, it’s easy to get practice in, even with your busy schedule. (Gotcha…I said it before you did!)
- Group classes and dance parties can be considered “supervised practice” which is great because if you’re struggling there’s sure to be someone who can help you out.
- Coming in a bit early for your lesson to warm up is an excellent idea. Or, you might prefer staying after your lesson to practice while the information is fresh in your mind.
So, what can you expect to accomplish when you do this?
Of course, some will learn faster and some will learn slower, but here’s a general outline of what to expect.
You will be able to get by on the social dance floor. That means you’ll have knowledge of 3-4 steps in 3-4 dances and you should be able to get through a complete song by repeating combinations of those steps.
By including some basic technique, an additional 2-3 steps in 2-3 dances is possible by this point. You’ll have more variety and will be more comfortable and confident in what you’re doing.
7 Months to 1 Year
Introduction to more technique such as footwork, leg action, and style will create a more polished appearance on the dance floor. You will be moving less mechanically.
Most people can accomplish the Full Bronze level in this time period. A Bronze dancer is an outstanding social dancer, able to dance with excellent dancers. He or she is also very good with those not as experienced. At the Bronze level, dancing is fun!
Stylish and easy to dance with, Bronze level dancers are sought-after partners with a large variety of dances and steps at their disposal. Give yourself the gift of dance. It’s a blessing in so many ways.
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