1. Do I need a partner to learn? Absolutely not! If you have a partner that's great too! You will be dancing with different people on your dance journey! You will be working with a dance instructor while taking private lessons and during the group classes and practice dances you will be changing partners with those attending. One advantage of coming on your own is that you get the full attention of the instructor, whereas couples share the instructor's time on the lesson so singles typically learn faster than couples.
2. What can we expect on the first lesson? Generally if you have not taken lessons before most lessons start off with a chat about what you are looking for and where you plan on using your dancing. Once that takes place your teacher will walk you through some basic components and start to show you how those components work...some basic lead and follow concepts and how to use those in 3 - 4 basic dance moves. Once the lesson is complete your teacher will be able to recommend a starting program of lessons based on what your goals are and how well you did on the lesson.
3. How should I dress / what shoes should I wear? This is a great question! As for shoes I usually suggest for men, either a dress shoe or a deck shoe...sneakers are ok for the first lesson but tend to be too "sticky" on the dance floor making it hard to turn. For ladies, any shoe that stays firmly on the foot or has an ankle strap is usually good. Avoid shoes like flip flops or high heel shoes that don't have a heel cup or straps. They tend to move around on the foot too much making you feel less stable. As far as clothes go, no need to go out and but tights and a leotard! Just dress comfortably and wear something you can move in. Most students come dressed in jeans and shirts, what they came to work in...even shorts (in the warmer months).
4. Do I need to compete? Absolutely not! But if you want to that's okay too! Some studios are more laid back and just focus on fun and social dancing (weddings, nightclubs, fundraisers and cruises) while other studios offer a push towards showcase and competitive dancing. It all depends on what YOU want to do.
5 Why is our teacher always asking if we practiced? Consider it this way...Practicing dance is like doing homework. If you don't practice sometimes there is an entire week that goes by before you dance again. Your teacher wants you to practice so they can teach you something new on your next lesson. Most times that you don't practice, your teacher has to review with you what you did on your last lesson. This takes up valuable time from learning something new. Usually a couple minutes throughout the week ought to be enough. We know you're busy during the week but we want you to get the most out of your dance program as well!
6. How often should I take private lessons? This is another great question! That is entirely up to you and how fast your want to reach your goals. It also depends on time and budget as well. The upside is you learn more and REMEMBER more when you keep your lessons closer together. By keeping your lessons closer together your retain more information so your teacher can move faster with you on your program. Just remember you use your lessons faster this way. On an up note...you get to use your dancing that much faster!
7. Should we go to the practice dance? YES! Going to the practice dances help you to develop the skills to use your dancing in the real world. Think of it...would you rather bump into complete strangers (who may have had a drink or two) at the bar...or would you rather bang into friends at the studio while learning to maneuver around the dance floor? Going to the practice dances also helps you to develop social skills and feel confident dancing in front of people. Plus they are fun!
8. Can I bring a friend? This refers to someone who is not your regular partner...Most studios encourage you to bring guests to the studio. It is a good way to show your friends what you've been going on and on about. Also, most studios have some kind of referral in
centive for you bringing guests to the studio. For instance, at my studio if you bring a guest who enrolls on a basic program, you would receive a private lesson as a thank you!
9. How long does it take to learn? Hmmmm....it's different for everyone, but it is longer than most people think. Learning to dance is like learning a language. Do you want to just get by or do you want to blend in with the natives? Depending on what your goals are...what your level of natural talent is and how much of your time away from your lessons you put into practicing will determine how long it takes you to learn.
10. Where do I go dancing outside of the studio? Once you feel comfortable enough to venture out on your own, there are plenty of places to dance. Look for venues that have live music or a dance floor...check out amateur clubs for information on where to go dancing. Cruises and black tie events are another place to look. Also try crashing a few weddings...just kidding...but there may be some family wedding events coming up. Pretty much any place there is music, you can dance!
If you have any other questions regarding learing to social dance...you can leave them in the comments section below.