Forget about work, friends, kids… for an hour (or however long your lesson is) and just have a good time learning. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t do something right away, but don’t let everyday stress stifle your learning process. Treat your lesson as a mini-vacation from the everyday.
Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, don’t give up and assume that you are just not cut out to be a dancer. Ask questions. Think about the answers. Learning to dance works just like learning anything else – you do much better if you understand what you are doing, and sometimes it takes several tries to get it right.
Work with several instructors, if possible. Different people have different ways of explaining things, so working with more than one instructor can be very helpful to your progress, especially if you’ve gone over the same step with your regular instructor several times and still have a question about it.
Make sure you have a goal for your dancing, and talk to your instructor about it. It is perfectly OK to change your dancing goals, as long as you and your instructor are aware of it. Bored with just learning steps? Consider a showcase, or even just choreographing a routine for fun.
Practice what you’ve learned, but be sure to practice it right. If you can’t quite remember a pattern, it is better to wait and go over it again on your next lesson, rather than practicing it incorrectly, and then re-learning it.
Don’t over-do it! If you feel that you aren’t getting any better, no matter how many times you run your routine, leave it alone. Sometimes you need to step away from it, and let it settle in your brain before you can improve.
If you have a partner, or thinking of finding one, make sure to discuss your goals and availability before you start to work together. There is nothing more frustrating than putting in lots of work, just to find out that your partner is not interested in dancing in that showcase you’ve been working so hard for, or that he, or she will not have any more time to practice for the next 6 months. Have it all out before you start, so there are no unpleasant surprises later.
Have fun! Learning to dance should be fun, but you will need to put some work both into your steps and into not getting frustrated with yourself. Accept the fact that you will not always get everything right the first time you try it, and be prepared to be satisfied with doing your best each time you take a lesson.
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