For anyone who never has experienced it, the path to start dancing feels new and scary. The closest is your gym class, but it is not being taught in many schools.
Starting something new is not easy. Your friends would tell you just to jump in. But if it is that easy, nobody will be asking for their advice.
Even for those who started already are frustrated comparing yourself with other dancers. The situation is often that your progress does not come as straightforward and quick as you have imagined.
What we need is mental preparation, so we feel ready. There are always anxieties that come around. I think the biggest fear is are you a good fit?
For those of you who have never done dancing or started recently, I have set up 3 preparations required to get started. It will ease out your worry.
The methods will apply to former dancers who used to dance but needed to stop because of different life circumstances. Age does not matter either. At any age, you should be able to get more serious with dancing.
What it means to dance?
I want to cover what it means to be dancing before we go any further. You can technically call any type of movement with music dancing. Putting a drunk person on the street and sets up the music, he would start dancing.
In our context, however, we are talking about the ability to move your body according to your imagination. So you can technically swing your arms randomly, and call it dancing as long as you think they are moving as your imagination. If you become shy or disappointed after watching yourself on the videos, you need to practice dancing.
Preparation 1: Right Motivation
Everyone has a different expectation from dancing. You might want to be dancing for a long life hobby. Or you just want to learn one trick to impress your friends.
The latter is easy. You only need to pick up YouTube videos for Tutting or Waves, and repeat it over and over. If you have one day worth of practice, it should be enough to wow your friends.
For the latter, you want to figure out a proper strategy. Impressing your friend and strangers are completely different. Without friendship factor, your skill must be 3 times better. To reach this level, the practice becomes longer inevitably. Your motivation also needs to be bigger.
Clarify what you want to achieve from getting better at dancing.
Watching at other people dance can be stressful. As a beginner, everyone else will inevitably be better than you. It will put stress on you.
You will not help but compare yourself with those experienced ones, and be disappointed.
Although talents and athletic ability do give an initial advantage, it will not take anyone that far. What speaks to the long-term success is your practice.
Foundation practice feels monotonous and iterative. Worse, you do not feel your progress at the end of the practice. Moving and sweating hard do.
At that time, you want to stop doing foundation practice. In fact, most people quit practicing basics after 1 month.
That is okay if you want to simply enjoy the feeling of dancing at that moment. But after a while, you will stagnate in your progress no matter how much you have practiced. Foundation is what sets people apart in the long term.
Preparation 2: Practice Time
Life is eventful. It is full of surprises you have never anticipated. You will be busy as never before all of the sudden.
In those time, mere motivation may not be enough to get you back on the track and push forward.
Set up the path to habit building as soon as possible. Planning should happen before you get started with dancing.
Compact Practice Interval
Most dance practice happens once a week. If you want to learn faster, you should accompany this with short one every day. You can do it at home with your own guidance.
Even 10 minutes a day is meaningful. You can review the choreography you learned, or work on your isolation.
This helps your muscle memory learn faster. You can achieve more stamina and relaxed movement through offloading tasks to your muscle memory.
You need a place to practice, preferably the one with a mirror. The most common place is a dance studio. On top of that, unless you can rent it for your own self-practice, you want to secure one more place.
Home is the easiest place. Unlike sports like football or swimming, dancing does not ask that much from an environment. You need a bigger space for break dance power move, but normally a space with the size of 1 table should be sufficient.
Other options are local schools or an open space in front of the building. You can find some kind of reflections in both places.
Preparation 3: Instructor
Importance of Feedback
Having someone to turn into when you hit the wall is necessary both for your progress and motivation.
Also, there are common habits dancers build that are fatal to your performance look. This includes the line of your eyes going down, pulling your overall gravity center down, which will make you look inconfident and amateur.
Checking your position against the mirror is the first step for fixing. Even so, there are some weak points an only third person can realize.
Instructors and Friends
During the class, instructors need to look after dozens of students so they cannot answer your questions in detail. You should ask your instructors at the end of the classes. They would be willing to give you advice.
However, the time is limited to 1-2 minutes before the next class fills in. They will not be able to go over the steps with you if your conflict is not straightforward.
Friends are always there for you. You can explain the situation carefully and ask for the options. Narrow down the problem in very detail especially if your friends are non-dancers.
Dance videos will not complain. It will show you the same step million times.
You should always seek into dance videos for indirect advice. There are numerous videos from the very experts. They will give you crews on how to do your move correctly and increase your repertoires.
There are many bad tutorial videos that only show easy tricks. Be careful and try to find the commentary videos full of basics.
Dancing is not an easy task. You need to stay persistent. What helps people to get going is the right motivation, time schedule, and proper mentorship.
Once you reach that point, it will feel tremendously satisfactory. You can do something none of your friends can do. Anything will be possible afterward.