Ready to give a “dancing for beginners” class a shot? Here, teacher Liz T. shares what to expect, and how to set yourself up for success…
So you’ve signed up for your first dance class – excellent! Whether you are pursuing ballet, jazz, tap, modern, ballroom, salsa, or Zumba, here are some things to expect at your first lesson and tips to help you succeed in your dance training!
Decide Between Private Lessons or Group Lessons
Some dance classes, such as ballet, jazz, and tap, could have anywhere from 10-20 students in the dance room, all learning from one teacher. When you’re in one of these larger dance classes, as opposed to a one-on-one dance lesson, you must be able to learn in a group setting. If you are short, try to get a space in the front so you can see the instructor clearly; you don’t want to be doing the steps wrong because you were standing in the back and couldn’t see the teacher!
If you’d rather learn in a more one-on-one setting, or perhaps with just a partner and your teacher, many teachers offer private dance lessons. Do your research before you book your class, and decide what fits you best!
Expect Fast-Paced Lessons
Most dance classes range from 45 minutes to two hours, and there is so much to learn in so little time! The dance class will likely be fast-paced, usually starting with a warm-up, bar work, floor routines, and then working on a choreographed dance. At first, this may be overwhelming, but do your best at staying focused in the class, and try to pick up all the choreography as best you can. If you can’t get it the first time, don’t worry about it; this will happen over time, and that’s why you are taking dance classes! But just be prepared that the class may move very fast.
Be Open to Learning New Things
A lot of new dance moves and terminology (mostly in French for ballet training) will be thrown at you all at once. This may be intimidating and uncomfortable at first, but if you go in with an open mind, willing to try it, then you will succeed! If you are negative and say “I will never be able to dance like that” or “I can’t do this step” then you never will be able to. Instead, stay positive and be open to learning the new steps. You don’t have to be perfect or a Master of Dance; the point is to learn, have fun, and just give it your best! You never know until you try!
Set Your Own Personal Goals
In any given “dancing for beginners” class, there will be other dancers with all types of backgrounds. Don’t compare yourself to others in the class, although I’ll admit it is hard not to do. Set some goals for yourself personally, and don’t compare your progress to another student’s. We all have different learning techniques and paces. Set targets and realistic goals for yourself, whether that’s to be able to perform the combination at an upcoming recital, or to work on a split, or be on pointe at the end of the semester! Set goals that you can look forward to, and put in your best effort during each class!
Liz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
Photo by Guy Orr