10 Things to Remember Before Your First Dance Lesson
What is it about a parking lot, a storefront, or a front door that seem to cement us to our seats?
Whether it's for your first dance lesson or your first date, cold feet are a natural byproduct of stepping outside of your comfort zone.
So rather than staying stuck in your seat, or reconsidering this move altogether, let's take a step by step look at things you should definitely remember before you park in that parking lot, walk by that storefront, and walk through that door.
1. Everyone Starts out New
2. Work at Your Own Pace
There will not be a comically bad, stereotypical strict dance teacher who wears an ascot, expects you in a leotard, or to reenact the dance audition from Flashdance (although, that would be pretty cool). Your instructor is a certified, full time, career minded professional who is there to show you what you can do, not demand what you can't.
3. Skip the Dance Names
By all means, if you already have a dance alias you go by, be our guest Seniorita Shakey Shakey Bom Bom. By "dance names" we are referring to the names of the specific dances. You need to know them about as much as you need to have the menu at a brand new restaurant memorize - you don't.
There may be dances you've heard of, like the Salsa, but leave it to the professionals to help you match up dances to fit where and how you'd like to use your new dance moves.
4. Fight the Flight
Okay, so walking in is going to be a rush of nerves for about a minute. The reason? Let's call it the "New Gym Member" phenomenon. For some strange reason, when you're the new person at the gym, it's easy to feel like everyone working out is staring you down, pumping iron, and looking for a flabby weakling to eat for lunch (i.e. you).
But that's just your fight or flight reflexes talking to you.
In fact, the other dancers on the floor see new students regularly. In fact, those dancers were once new students themselves and they are, in fact, happy to see new students take the bold step to start a hobby they love as well. Why wouldn't they?
Note: If they don't stop to greet you, it's probably because they are focused on their lesson.
5. Plan for an Hour
There's going to be a lot going on on your first free lesson. It's all designed to occur within 45 minutes, but plan for an hour just to be safe.
Which, if you think about it, is a worthwhile investment considering how long you've fiddled around avoiding dance situations, and that it's free.
6. Keep it a Secret
There is no shame in keeping your dance lessons a secret, plenty of people do. In some cases, they are waiting to unveil their new-fangled skills at a wedding, office party, or nightclub, or they just have some "negative Nancy's" in their life.
Whatever your reason is, feel free to keep this foray into the world of dance a secret as long as you'd like. The last thing you need is a concerned call from a non-dancer selling you on the virtues of being a wallflower.
7. "This old thing?"
Clothing-wise, you have plenty of options when it comes to your dance lesson. In fact, if you read #2, as much as we'd love to see the Flashdance audition recreated, the reality is that most people arrive for their lessons straight from work, the gym, or home.
So, from a clothing standpoint, you should be expected to wear, dare we say, "clothes"?
8. Your Teacher is Genuinely Excited
It's normal to feel like you're the least capable student in the history of dancing, teaching, or life on Earth. That's just your comfort zone sounding an emergency alarm, trying to use every psychological and physiological trick in the book to get you to turn around.
Your teacher is referred to as a New Student Specialist. This means that they love to work with first timers. Like a basketball player who loves playing defense and getting rebounds over scoring points, or your friend who insists on cooking great food for your potlucks - your teacher specializes in students just like you... and they will be happy to meet you.
9. It will cost money
You're stepping into a school. If it were a college, it'd be of the ivy league variety. Not necessarily based on tuition, but on the results. So plan on investing some money in your dancing. Your $7 dollar beers and your $5 dollar group classes at the rec center only lead to more $7 dollar beers.
So let's end the cycle.
10. Expect Benefits, Not Myths
If there's one thing to remember it's this: There are hundreds more positive byproducts from dancing than there are proven myths about your ability. Within the first 5 minutes, each and every house of cards that has ever stood in your way - two left feet, no rhythm, the whole nine yards - will be blown over.
Then you'll get a chance to fill in that negative space with wonderful side effects like increased self confidence, better posture, exercise, and an upgraded social life.
Or you can hang onto those myths. No?
Didn't think so.