3 Tips for Dance Lesson Success

So you’re considering going to your first ballroom dance lesson, eh?  Fear not, because here are some simple yet very helpful tips to find dance lesson success.

Be a pattern pro.

Beginner dance lessons are all about learning simple patterns of steps and timings.  Try to group the steps into simple patterns and understand how they repeat over and over and over.  Here’s an example:

The basic of the Cha Cha has a total of 10 steps.  Wow, that sounds like a lot!  So instead of trying to remember 10 consecutive steps, group them into smaller repeating patterns.  An option could be splitting them into 2 groups of 5 steps.  Understand part 1, then understand part 2.  After you understand these smaller chunks of steps, put them together into a repeating pattern of part 1, part 2, part 1, part 2, etc…

Be a parrot.

As a new dance student you will visually copy what your dance teacher demonstrates in class.  Be smart and brave, and copy the words that are said too.  For many dance students, it’s much easier to start copying the words said in class versus the body actions danced in class.  Let these words, and more specifically how these words are said with rhythm and timing, guide your body as you learn to dance.  Here’s an example:

The basic pattern of the Waltz, is a box step made up of six steps.  As you dance, try copying the words your teacher says while you try to dance the steps.  In our classes we use “Step, Side, Together.  Step, Side, Together”, to help guide students through the pattern.  Students who say the pattern while dancing, help themselves remember what to do next and find more dance lesson success than those who don’t.

Switch to understand.

Many students come to a dance class with a partner.  Whether it’s a common goal, friendship or shyness amongst strangers, having someone you know in the dance class can be very comforting.  Keep in mind though that just because you came with that specific person, doesn’t mean you have to dance each and every dance with him or her throughout the whole class.

Very rarely will both you and and your dance partner learn the steps perfectly the first time around.  So instead of the blind leading the blind throughout the whole class, try switching partners once in awhile when the teacher asks you to do so.  You may end up dancing with a partner that has a better understanding of what is being taught (possibly because they already took the class once before), and you can gain a faster understanding of how to dance it more correctly.  After that dance, switch back to your regular partner and pass on the newfound feel of the dance steps!

A nice bonus of switching partners is that you get to know your fellow dance lesson students.

Bonus Tip!

Stay and ask.

Usually after each class, there is a little bit of time for students to practice what they just learned.  Many students are shy and quickly get off the dance floor and leave the ballroom.  Be brave, stay and approach you teacher.  First tell them that they are the absolute best teacher you have ever had; then ask them nicely if they can watch you dance the steps that you are struggling with.  🙂

As long as they have the time available, all teachers love to give extra help to earnest students.  You will be guaranteed to get a better insight on what you need to learn and improve.  Don’t assume that they will give you a free private lesson on the spot.  However, it is safe to assume that a few words of wisdom specific to your dancing will set you up for dance lesson success.  Maybe at the next class you will be one of the superstar dance students, because now you really understood what was taught in class!