Dance is, in my mind, a massive living, breathing organism. And I say this in awe, not to discourage. In its magnitude, it contains many shades of difficulty, style, range, and rhythm. Whether you trained in your youth and yearn to go back to class, or you’re a complete beginner simply curious about dance, there really is something for everyone.
Dance Studios in your Area
Do your research, as different studios will serve different purposes in your dance journey. Some may do intensive training aiming to launch their students into the professional world, some may be very focused on competition results, and some just want you to show up and have fun. Do some searches for Dance Studios near you or near your workplace that support your goals. A studio with a robust and well-reviewed Recreational or Adult program might be your niche.
Hip Hop or Flamenco?
Now it’s time to pick a style that suits your fancy. Don’t feel you have to cement yourself to one, you can mix and match and try something new at any time. Think about your goals in wanting to take up dance. Are you looking to build lean muscles and strengthen your discipline? Try something structured and traditional like Ballet or Ballroom. Are snappy rhythms and moves with attitude more your thing? Jazz and Hip Hop sound about right. Wanting to inspire your artistry and be on the cutting edge? Take on a class for Modern or Contemporary. With that figured out, you sign up and take a class only to realize the style is not for you. That is totally fine! There is a wide range of dance types available, and now you are a little closer to finding yours.
Take a Leap of Faith
There is undoubtedly going to be some nervousness and anxiety in taking that initial step. Booking your first dance class might have you feeling locked in, like it’s all suddenly very real. See this as an opportunity to face your fears and prove your ability to follow-through. Many if not most in your class will be feeling the same way.
Prepare to be Comfortable
Unpreparedness can cause unnecessary stress and self-consciousness. There’s no need to dump hundreds into new shoes and a new outfit, but make sure you have what you need to feel confident and ready. This may be as simple as a new water bottle, or a pack of strong hold hair ties (I recommend these). Wear layers! You’ll need to keep your muscles warm for stretching, but you don’t want to be sweating buckets during across the floor. At the end of the day, your comfort is paramount.
The dance world is lively and, for the most part, incredibly welcoming. Especially in the beginning, try to extend an olive branch to other dancers who may be looking for a friend in class. Perhaps there is a more experienced dancer who could mentor you and take you under their wind, or maybe you’re looking for another total beginner who can share in your excitement and nerves. Either way, having a partner in class to stretch with and dish with is almost as fun as the class itself.
Remember What You’re Here For
Whether that be fitness, flexibility, a new creative outlet, a return to your dance roots, or a combination of all of the above. Remind yourself that you are your only competition, and your best is more than good enough. Are you missing steps and having trouble remembering the choreography? That’s OK! With every class, you strengthen your mental and muscle memory. Despite what you may hear in the hall after a hard routine, there’s no such thing as a “bad class.”