If this is your first one, Congratulations.
Beginning your journey into the world of ballroom dancing is like finding a mineshaft. The more work you do, the more you can unearth skills, benefits, and happiness that you may not have ever expected. Unfortunately, with anything precious, and worth your valuable time, there is some risk involved.
These tips help to mitigate that risk. To cover you through the danger zones, and to act as your insurance policy to keep your "dance mine" active, safe, and yielding rich benefits.
The 10 Essential Dance Tips To Jump Start Your New Dance Program
Tip 1: You Aren't A Robot, You're Just A Dancer In Training
Summary: Feeling Robotic is normal. It's a stage, but it's not permanent.
Dance Program Tip: The frequency of your appointments will determine how long this stage lasts. If you have a busy schedule, try 90, or 180 minutes per visit - rather than 45.
Think of this like: Your first few yoga classes, your first few days with a driver's license, or your first time talking to someone at a bar - you need more time and repetition.
Tip 2: Buy Some Dance Shoes Before You Need Them
Summary: Ballroom dancing is a hobby and dance shoes are part of the uniform.
Details: Maybe you don't realize it, but ballroom dancing is a thing you do. Some people call it a hobby, and it's perfectly fine if you're not there yet. The shoes make a difference, will blend in with your normal life, and of the weird "ballroom dance uniform" items you could be asked to wear - dance shoes are the most normal.
Think Of This Like: You don't need to be a pro golfer to wear golf spikes, and you don't need to be a tennis pro to wear tennis shoes.
Suggested Read: Our guide to finding the right dance shoes.
Tip 3: Keep A Dance Notebook, Even If You Never Read It
Summary: It doesn't need to be the Holy Grail, or the technical schematics to every pattern you know, but some simple notes can make a big difference.
Details: This is an extra connection to the dance neighborhood in your brain. If your dance skills live there, your notebook can be the Google Map to finding it. Learning, writing, and reading it will keep that neighborhood easy to find.
Think of This Like: Living in some crazy universe where you had to constantly stop to ask people for directions to places.
Suggested Read: Great dance notebook hacks.
Tip 4: Your Program Should Expand Horizontally & Vertically
Summary: As you move up in the levels of your program, you should also move "out" in the dances you are learning.
Details: Sure, you may love the salsa, and see zero need for the Tango... for now. The fact is, the dance you hate today, could be incredibly useful tomorrow. Widen your foundation and you can rise up as high as you want vertically.
Think Of This Like: A romantic comedy. The characters that fall in love don't ever start that way at the beginning of the movie.
Tip 5: Styling Works From the Ground Up
Summary: Whatever is closest to the ground is more important. Repeat that until you get it.
Details: You don't need arm styling if it causes your feet to stop working. Understanding the pecking order of styling importance can save you a lot of frustration, and keep you from second guessing everything. Styling will be introduced systematically, and on a need to know basis.
Think Of This Like: Bake the cake, then add the frosting. Sure, you may sample some frosting along the way, but as long as you don't forget that the cake is in the oven. Hungry?
Suggested Read: 31 Things Dance Judges Want to See You Do
Tip 6: Your Binder, Your Chart, and everything inside is a map. Read it.
Summary: You may have helpful items for your dance development that you've never seen.
Details: Show up early for your next lesson and have a look at the 28 Point Teaching System. It's a technical breakdown of what is introduced from level to level. Oh, and learning a few of the names of the patterns wouldn't hurt either.
Think Of This Like: A teacher, in any discipline, can tell how often their students looked through their textbooks. If they'd get a mint rating on the resale market, chances are - they didn't do so hot in the class.
Tip 7: For Your Big Debut, Think Like a Football Player
Summary: Football players and coaches are masters of simulations. Dancers need to take the same approach.
Details: The practice parties at your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio are a scrimmage. The Arthur Murray professionals are the coaches. The practice party is the place to pressure test all of your new moves and skills like, navigating through traffic, saying yes to a dance invitation, and building an ear for the music.
Think Of This Like: The only place where people become a dance sensation the first time they are dancing in public is in the movies.
Suggested Read: Dancing is Just Like Football
Tip 8: A New Tattoo (Or important thing to remember)
Summary: If there was one thing you should have tattooed on your arm as an Arthur Murray Student, outside of the logo, it is the Curve Of Learning.
Details: This is the Arthur Murray dance equivalent of CPR training, or a Defibrillator machine. It adds perspective, helps clarify your journey, and has saved many dance lives over the years.
Think Of This Like: CPR Training... before there is an emergency.
Suggested Read (yes just like #1): Arthur Murray Curve of Learning.
Tip 9: Track Your Progress For A Rainy Day
Summary: If there's one thing to keep a diary of, it's the benefits you're getting from your dance lessons
Details: Exercise, social confidence, networking, or basic survival at a wedding - these are benefits, and they are built into your dance program. Keep track of them. Put measurements, and positive assessments in your notebook. It's easy to forget how much progress you've made, when you're making a lot of progress.
Think Of This Like: Track benefits like a Human Resources manager and you'll never lose perspective on your investment.
Suggested Read: Ballroom Dancing Causes these Unexpected Side Effects
Tip 10 - Your Teachers Will Ask A Lot From You, and here's why
Summary: Did you ever find out about a great party... after it had happened?
Details: Your dance teacher will invite you, ask you, encourage you, and bug you to do things - but it's for the best reason: Your development. As professionals, their reputation is always on the line, so don't think for a second that they'd invite you to do something outside of your abilities just for a laugh. Everything they recommend is designed deliver benefits on, and off, the dance floor.
Think Of This Like: A great personal trainer nudges, and sometimes shoves, you out of your comfort zone. Their merciless demands are all built around helping you achieve your goals.
Suggested Read: 31 Things Your Dance Instructor Wants to See You Do
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