Five tips for dance beginners

Dance tips for those starting out

Making your first tentative steps in dance can be pretty daunting whether your ‘stage’ is a dance floor at a social function or even the street corner. But for dancing beginners, it’s well worth bearing in mind a few bits of advice from the outset so that you get your dancing off on the right footing.

Five tips for dance beginners

With that in mind, we’ve compiled five useful tips for dance beginners, regardless of the style or styles of dance you decide to pursue, to get you dancing and hopefully dancing for life.  

Learn different types of dance

There are so many different genres of dance that you may be unsure of which to choose when deciding to learn to dance. The simple answer is to try lots of different dance styles. It’s true that excelling at one style requires many years of practice, but to be proficient in several types of dancing take less time and is surely more beneficial.

Take the time to learn a little about a variety of styles, rather than foucusing on one. You could find yourself at a variety of events when you could be dancing to anything from break dance to ballroom or even the hokey-cokey or, god forbid, the Macarena!

Listen to the music and find your rhythm

People dance because they are inspired to dance by a beat or rhythm. As Gloria Estefan once famously sang “The rhythm is gonna get ya”, and so it does. At its most basic form, a dance might start with a foot tap to a catchy rhythm, and taking the movement further, it becomes a dance.
To be a good dancer you need to be able to feel the music and express that feeling with your body. For the beginner dancer, it is important to become familiar with the rhythm, so get your hands on some music related to you chosen dance style and listen to it at every opportunity. Try out a few basic steps in the comfort and anonymity of your own home to build up your confidence.

Look up not down while you dance

A common error made by beginner dancers is staring at your own feet when learning a new dance. It is quite natural to want to do this, but should be avoided. Dancing is not about seeing but instead is about feeling.

Instead of staring at your feet, try and remember how the steps feel, with the shifting of your weight and changes in direction registering in your mind so that you remember the patterns that make up a dance. If you’re dancing with a partner, pay attention to your partner in the basic movements of the dance and try and feel the moves.

Dance with different partners

It’s quite natural when starting dancing to want to dance with your partner or friend. With this comes a degree of comfort but also a staleness. Try dancing with many different people, especially when you are just starting to learn the dance, and their differing interpretations of the music will give you a new way of approaching that dance.
While you might have concerns that you’ll end up with a dancer who is far more advanced than you are, or that the other person has ‘two left feet’, dancing with someone else is an opportunity to practice either as a sensitive leader or a conscientious follower. Make each dance an opportunity for learning for you or your partner.

Relax and have fun dancing

Remember, dancing is meant to be fun, not a chore or something to get worked up about. Dancing is meant to help lower your blood pressure, not raise it, so don’t stress!

Regardless of how many (or how few) dance moves you have in your locker, you can usually have an enjoyable dance with anyone, provided you are both attentive to one another and at least give the impression you are enjoying yourselves. Relax and have fun dancing.

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