Getting your foot through the door of a dance studio for the first time can be a completely terrifying thing. I was once a student and I remember the sweaty palms, the flushed face and the inability to speak when I started my first lesson. Every dance party that I attended, I'd drive to the studio with my hands shaking on the steering wheel. I had a pretty good case of social anxiety and ballroom dancing put me in a very vulnerable position. Sound familiar?
You're not alone when it comes to this kind of stuff. I've had several of my students tell me that they'd sit outside of our studio parking lot just working up the nerve to get out of the car and walk in. The great thing is that all of them have told me they made the best decision once they finally did. Because ballroom dancing requires the intimacy of holding a completely stranger in your arms and moving your body to a rhythm you don't necessarily understand quite yet, I can see why it takes people so long to get started.
In this article, I'm going to give you some tips that will make your experience more pleasant and make sure that you get off on the right foot.
1. Do your research on the studios in your area.
Make sure you find a good quality studio with a great reputation. High quality studios will most likely have a well trained staff (all of MBC's instructors have had years of experience!) not only in dancing but in making sure that you fit right in with their studio.
Talking on the phone to get more information or even visiting the studio to observe the dancing is a great way to see if the studio is a right fit for you.
2. Put yourself out there.
If you dare to do so, take a group class or start with an introductory package. Beginner group classes are a great way to meet several people who are also new to dancing and most classes switch partners so you don't have to find one yourself.
Introductory private lessons are a great way to start as well because they go at your pace and start from the very beginning. Your instructor will most likely introduce you to other students so that you keep seeing friendly and familiar faces the more you attend. They'll also create a plan for you that will set you on the right track.
3. Attend anything and everything you can.
Just like learning a language or playing an instrument, you have to keep attending classes and practice. You cannot expect to learn how to dance overnight or even in a few lessons. Attend as many beginner lessons as you can and attend dance parties (when there's not a pandemic). It may be overwhelming but I like to think of doing this as comparable to immersion classes. Eventually things will make sense because you'll see the repetition of patterns and elements. The more you do it, the faster you'll progress.
4. Remember that everyone was once a beginner (including your instructor!)
We all had to start somewhere and we all started out with taking that first step through the door. Keep in mind that there are a lot of students who have been dancing for years already and if you stick with it, you'll get there too. We are constantly getting new students who are trying this out for the first time and we see that the students who make the most progress are the ones who are constantly getting involved with classes and events happening at the studio. We're all in this to have fun and take a break from the hustle and bustle of our every day lives so get out on that dance floor!
Good luck and happy dancing!