Before getting into deeper levels of dance, make sure you get these common initial blocks out of the way and these things i blanket RECOMMEND to all those who are trying dance for the first time.
Throw all self doubt out of the window. ALL OF IT. you are a human being with a soul and a body, this is all the credentials you need to dance, to be allowed in the dance studio, to belong to the dancefloor. Don’t think about what others will be thinking, they’re to busy with their own lives to care. The best tango dancers say this. You stand, you walk, you can dance. You’re already a dancer, you just don’t know it.
Dance as much as possible, frustrations with what you want to be and what you are right now will melt away with brute repetition. Repeat until you are convinced, program into your schedule all your opportunities to dance, and commit. Even unlimited dance fitness programs, (find ones with mirrors so you can self correct). Allow yourself the luxury to dance everyday. Even if it’s just in your room, like no one’s watching. Do whatever the hell you want. Have fun.
Notice: dance is not recorded. It is immediately gone when you do it. Video is a pale record of what the kinesthesia i’ve described under number 6. So if you get out of a dance class and the only thing you remember is the panic running through your head, maybe just MAYBE that’s the wrong way to do it. There is a time for self critique, but balance this with actually enjoying yourself.
*** Especially with social dancing, you will never dance with the same person the same song the same set of circumstances ever again. Don’t miss it. Critique and practice in class and practice time. At parties, have FUN. Soon enough these moments will give you pockets of bliss and eternal thanks for the sheer accident that you’ve danced the night of your life. Please find yourself praying, thanking what god at the end of the night
Go to dance classes. Any, All of them. Ask for tips and advice from everyone you admire, discuss. (If advanced try a coach, try private lessons.) Google dance forums. Binge watch youtube, always analyze other’s dances. Critique what you like what you don’t like, learn to articulate yourself, honor your own taste even if your own skill hasn’t matched up to it. Please do this with other people, your teacher, or people who you respect their eyes and taste. Sharpen your eye and ear to eloquence you seek to recreate in yourself, yes, even do this on your teachers. learn the technical knowledge and all the greats that “made” a dance the dance. Note, I understand that all this is fun, but never make this an excuse not to dance yourself. Dance as much as you watch, talk or research dancing. Apply, do, especially in a very embodied art. Try to ramp up the ratio, for every hour of watch/talk do maybe 4 hours of actually dancing. Find the proof in the pudding, integrate what’s in your head into your body.
On integrating, this is basically what i call labbing. Or dancing by yourself, with or without a mirror, self-practice with a particular dedicated skill/technique/prompt in mind. Find a way for you to be easily repeat what you want to learn. You can loop a song, and/or loop a short choreography. While repeating the prompt you want to learn, let your mental self-talk and critique run and adjust your movement until your mind is satisfied or at least sees a difference. Be very very very patient. Give yourself an hour, and pick movements that are just a little bit stretched away from your comfort zone but still doable and reasonable. This way you can still enjoy the movement and build upon what you know, but being ruthless with what you’re now trying to newly reach. Balance this.
Have as much fun labbing at home as much as going out for dance classes, parties, trainings. This you do entirely for yourself, and your art. It is you finding your own Dance.
Do everything at your own pace. You have a life outside of dance, this is actually fuel for it. Take a break if you need it, when you return to dance you’ll find that you’ve realized something new. A better understanding of what blocked you, or a new intention. Or something more important just came up! No shame, there is nothing wrong!
Understand where you are, if what dance is to you may not be as crazy weird as mine. And this is okay, dance is a spectrum of colors, all instances of it is beautiful. Professional or otherwise, drunk grandpa or synchronised swimming. You’re dance is truly wonderful and meant to be.
Thank you for dancing.
//follow up to, a primer of sorts. this advice is something i give both to myself and students and listed as a reminder. applicable to other art forms, though i’m very much still working on those 🙂 heh