Friday, April 07, 2006

Tip Number Three for Beginners

Sign up first for a beginner group class. I recommend this for several reasons. Group classes are usually quite reasonably priced so there is no huge initial outlay of cash. Everyone in the group is just like you, a beginner, so there's less chance of feeling silly if you miss a step or two. (And you will, but so will everyone else. You'll quickly learn to just laugh it off and keep going.)

Whether or not you have a partner will not matter in a group class. Most instructors will rotate the partners in a class, partially to take care of uneven numbers of men and women, but also to improve the man's ability to lead a variety of partners and the woman's ability to recognize and follow different leading styles.

If you're just painfully shy and don't want to dance with anyone other than your partner, don't worry. If you mention it to your instructor, most will be sensitive to that and will allow you to stay as a couple without joining in on the rotation. You'll be limiting your skills somewhat, but if you're not comfortable dancing with others, especially at the beginning, it's absolutely acceptable.

There's a lot of joking and laughing during group classes as everyone learns new skills and makes mistakes doing so. The instructors of beginner classes are usually well versed in putting new students as ease, as a result, beginner ballroom classes are always a lot of fun, and you'll be surprised how quickly you begin looking forward to the next class.

Classes generally meet once a week, usually for an hour, for a period of 4, 6 or 8 weeks, so you're not even investing a huge time commitment to start with. At the end of the session, you can choose to continue with that class, learning the same dance in more detail, or choose another style of dance to begin learning.

Once you have a group class or two under your belt, or if you find you're having problems with some of the steps in the group class, you should consider taking some private lessons. While they're typically a bit pricier, the benefits of individualized attention can far outweigh the cost. One-on-one instruction can help you master a step or pattern you've had trouble with in a relatively short amount of time.

The increased confidence you'll feel the next time you step out onto the dance floor will confirm that private lessons are the best way to truly learn ballroom dancing, and the benefits of investing in your dancing education are outstanding!