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What I Learned Taking Dance Class for the First Time

I am extremely uncoordinated. Dancing is my worst fear – and that’s why I forced myself to take dance class so that I wouldn’t be so awful/wouldn’t be afraid of it anymore.

The first class I took was horrible. I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what to expect and I felt like everyone knew I was so bad at it. Even though the class was beginner – it was still too extreme for me.  

If you’re going to be starting dance class soon or are interested in doing it one day – here are some things I’ve learned that helped me! For some people this may be obvious, but as a complete noob who has no literal clue – these are things I wish I knew going into it. 

Wear something comfortable and loose

(But not too loose you are exposed!) I once wore a shirt that was fine for every day at work but when I was bending down and rolling around it was too baggy and I had to hold it closed. Also, tight jeans are scary because they feel like they are going to rip if it’s a really active class! Kind of treat it like going to a gym class that’s active but not as intense as spin or pilates. 

Bring water and a change of clothes (maybe some deodorant)

Dancing really can be a workout in some classes. If it’s a small room and there are lots of people, it tends to get hot. Water is necessary to stay alive and if you’re not going straight home after, a change of clothes, deodorant, and maybe some body wipes will help you refresh.

Counting Steps 

I would get lost really easily at first. Especially when there was footwork that looked complicated. My brain and my body were not working together at the same time! Counting the steps and associating the moves to the numbers I found helped me not get completely lost.

Don’t be so stiff

Being agile and bending your knees is really important to flow better and to prevent injury.

Follow the beat of the music

This is something I didn’t really think about until an instructor mentioned in a class. You also don’t need to do everything exactly the way the instructor is doing it. Don’t just focus on the technical aspect of the move. Feel the music and make it your own.

Find someone in front of you who is really good

Sometimes if the class is really full or when the instructor is not leading and just watching (usually happens later on in the class) it helps to find someone who is really good in front of you and follow them. I have terrible memory. I totally forget all the moves almost instantly. So having someone to follow (who is good!) helps you stay on track.

Practice when there are little breaks in the class

There will be breaks here and there in a class. Sometimes the instructor is changing the music or explaining something or sometimes you are split into groups and you have a few minutes where you’re not dancing. These are perfect little slivers of time to practice the routine or run it over in your mind.

Practice at home

Some places will let you take video of the class. You can always ask the instructor for the music as well. Practicing at home (even just a few basic moves to get comfortable alone) will help you make progress much faster.

Have fun/don’t care what people think

That brings me to having fun!! That’s the whole point of dancing and learning. It can be really easy to get wrapped up in perfectionism and sucking so bad at something at first if you’re not a natural. But you will learn and get better if you keep going. It’s impossible not to be self conscious at first – but it doesn’t matter. Everyone knows it’s a beginner class and most people are just focusing on their own dancing. Even if they do notice you – who cares! You are there to have fun.

Hang in there!

It took me multiple different classes to find the few instructors that I liked that worked for me. Not all beginner classes are the same level and everyone teaches differently. I was so so so awful at first. Now I am ok. I don’t think I will ever be Britney Spears level, but I’ve definitely learned a lot more than when I started and can remember a sequence of moves and I am actually enjoying it!

Has anyone else taken dance before? Any tips for beginners? I think the next class I’m going to try is boxing! 

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