If you’re thinking about learning something new, consider ballroom dancing. To begin with, taking dance lessons is uplifting. In addition, it’s fun, exciting, sensual, practical, and a little challenging.
Do you have what it takes to learn social dancing? You’re gonna need grit and guts to get past any insecurities. Or, will you pass on dancing because you don’t know where to begin? Let me help you with that.
The first thing to do is to decide how to begin. For a breakdown of some options, read this Dance Safari post, “Getting Started with Your Ballroom Dance Lessons“.
What’s it like to learn to dance?
Ultimately, your experience will depend on what type of learner you are. Everyone is different when it comes to learning something new. Some learning styles include visual, physical, verbal, and technical. Granted, that sounds like a lot. But, the good news is your teacher is trained to customize the instruction to your individual needs.
Keep in mind that learning to dance involves developing muscle memory.
It takes time to get to the point where you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. It can only happen with lots of practice and repetition. To be sure, there’s no magic wand.
It’s like when you learned to drive a car.
As soon as you got in the car, there was a series of things to do. They included buckle up, check the mirrors, turn around and look for traffic, turn directional on. Then, when it’s safe, take off. You had to take it one step at a time.
Another comparison would be learning a second language.
Imagine, you’re in the classroom learning some basics like the alphabet. That’s a good place to start. Things are great until you walk out the door and everything you just learned disappears 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 ballroom dancing.
You’ve picked an instructor, started your training and it seems to be going pretty well. It’s actually fun although some of it is a little 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.)
However, there’s a lot of information being given out. Therefore, if you want to make the most of your lessons, you need to know the secret to success.
To make learning something new go more smoothly, use these 4 tips.
1. Take notes.
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. How frustrating would it be to get home, look at your notes, and scratch your head ’cause you haven’t a clue as to what they mean?
2. Make a video.
If your studio permits it, use the camera on your phone to record the action or move that you want to work on between lessons. Of course, it’s not necessary to record the whole lesson, just a point or two. Enough to give you something to think about.
Yes, practice by yourself. Indeed, the most successful students set aside a few minutes each day to reinforce what they’re learning. Review your notes and/or video before your next lesson. For help figuring out what to practice, I recommend “The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing” by Katie Flashner, aka The Girl with the Tree Tattoo.
4. 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 forget, the key to getting comfortable with this is to have the movements committed to your mental and muscle memory.
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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