So often new friends tell me they when see people dancing, they wish they could dance, but they know they could never dance, so they sit out on the sidelines. Let's look a little more closely at some of the things we on the sidelines tell ourselves.
1. I could never dance. I have no talent.
There is only one catch with this logic- dancing does not require talent. It requires learning new skills, just like anything else, like learning to ride a bike or drive a car. Sure there are some folks who may pick up some skills faster than others, but the good dancers you see on the floor are generally not people with inborn talent. These are people who have taken dance lessons. The ones that are really good are the ones who have taken dance lessons and then practiced what they learned.
2. I have no rhythm.
So you see some people can hear the beat and you can’t? How many of those people as learned to play an instrument or danced as children? We compare our present skills to those of people who have already had instruction and experience with music, which seems just a bit unfair. Learning to hear the rhythm and then to move our feet what we hear requires some instruction and some practice. Also, did you ever notice how little girls learn hop scotch, jump rope and other games that teach rhythm, while little boys learn to knock each other down on the football field? Which gender do you think usually has an easier time hearing the beat when they first start out learning to dance? Hmmm...I wonder.....
3. I don’t have a dancer’s body type - I am too fat, too tall, too short, too old…
This one always seems to me the most unfair of everything we tell ourselves. So, only skinny young supermodel people get to have fun on the dance floor? Really? Don’t other body types get equal rights?
4. I don’t want to look stupid...
Ahh...Now we get down to it. When you are up dancing, sometimes you are more visible than when you are on the sidelines. This is true. But, think about when you have seen a couple get up and dance, regardless of how unpolished their technical skills, do you think, "they look stupid" or do you think, “I wish I could do that?” And, have you not noticed the phenomenon that when someone gets up who is not very coordinated and dances anyway,suddenly a few more people feel permission to get up and dance, too? Dancing is about having fun and moving around to music. Everyone wants to do it, but few have the courage to just get up and get the party started. However, once you have done it once, trust me, it is so much fun, it is much easier the next time.
5. I can’t afford lessons.
So let’s look at how long it actually takes to learn to start to dance.
If you want to start learning particular dances – salsa, swing, chacha, tango, waltz, there are lots of beginning group classes at various dance studios, usually for about $15. In a group class, typically you learn a series of dance steps that is often danced to a particular style of dance. The more classes you take, the more particular dances you can learn.
If you want to learn how to dance at your pace, private lessons are a good option. Private lessons are generally about $85 for 50 minutes, depending on the instructor. In one private lesson, you can learn enough to lead and follow on the dance floor, you can learn steps at your pace and learn how to make dancing comfortable for you. With more private lessons, you can learn particular dances and moves that fit your style.
The point is dance requires little money to get started. It is true, that if you want to dance like dancers on Dancing with the Stars, you will need to take a few more lessons and practice quite a bit. However, you can dance with one lesson or class now, like You!
The Bay Area has so many great studios to learn to dance and even more clubs and restaurants that have great live music to try out your newly acquired skills.
Get up from the sidelines. Come Dance!
Suzie is 4 time U.S. Ballroom and Latin Ten Dance Champion, author of book Moving as Two: A Guide for Ballroom Dancers, performer with A Tall Order appearing on America's Got Talent, Season 8, dance teacher, and studio owner of Suzie's Studio in San Rafael, CA