People considering starting to dance have one question on their mind – “how long will it take to learn to dance?” It’s a legitimate question. Before starting anything new, you want to know approximately when you will achieve your goals.
We have people purchasing our “New Student Special” private dance lessons package (it is 6 lessons) and immediately asking “You guarantee I will be able to dance after 6 lessons?” Normally period of silence follows that question and then we have to explain certain things to clarify the situation.
What does driving have to do with dancing?
Do you remember how you learned to drive? Was it easy or was it difficult? Did it take some time to get comfortable driving in busy morning traffic? Did anybody teach you how to drive? Think about those questions for a minute.
Driving is a skill that most people learn at some point in their lives. It takes patience, time and focus to get it. So is dancing. Dancing is a skill that takes patience, time and focus to get it.
1) Many people are just social drivers. They drive from work to home, to grocery store, maybe somewhere further once in a while. Social drivers learn enough to get by. Similarly do many social dancers. They learn enough to dance at a social dance with someone they may not know, with music, maneuvering on the dance floor. Those dancers take some group dance classes, maybe occasional private lesson and go to social dance to practice and have fun.
2) There are also professional drivers that drive for a living such as bus drivers, truck drivers etc. They invested more time to learn how to drive better, how to drive bigger cars, how to drive in more difficult situations. Similarly, there are better dancers that are more comfortable at the social dance, who can dance more complicated moves, who might have done a performance or two. Those dancers spend more time taking private dance lessons and practicing.
3) Finally, we have very few very high level drivers such as NASCAR or Formula-1 drivers. They spend most of their lives driving and perfecting their skills, which are essential at the high speed and course difficulty they are driving at. Similarly, there are a few very high level dancers, who spend most of their time practicing and taking coaching lessons so they can perform at the highest level from time to time at the competition.
So, how long will it take me to learn to dance?
Since we determined that dancing is a skill it will take some time for you to learn it. Be patient. How long it will take, depends on your time commitment, your resources and what you expect to learn. There are several factors that may affect your dance learning curve.
1. Do you have previous dance experience?
It surely helps if you have background in other dance forms or even sports and fitness. This is because you may have better body awareness, fitness level and flexibility. Athletes many times tend to have a better core and body movement control. Ballet, jazz and contemporary dancers may have it easier than others when learning steps and doing them with music. However, even they have to learn some new concepts especially when it comes to dancing with a partner.
Even if you do not have any dance or sports background, you can still learn to dance. Many beginners, like you, don’t have any background at all. But they can still learn to dance by being determined and practicing a lot.
2. Quality of your classes
We cannot overstate the importance of having good dance instructors. Luckily, at DanceSport Club, we have skillful and patient dance instructors who work well with beginners.
Whether you attend group dance classes or private dance lessons, we encourage you to pay outmost attention to the information your teachers provide. Plus, as much as possible, be consistent with your attendance. Unlike in college, you will not have a buddy from whom you can borrow lecture notes from.
3. Number of Hours Practiced
To retain most of the information from your dance classes, we recommend practicing at least a couple of hours between your dance classes. Practicing will ensure that you retain information you already have and are ready to move forward. If you do not practice, we would have to re-teach the same material over and over again which will slow down your progress.
However, practicing does not have to be a one-time 2-hour thing. It may be better to practice a little every day, such as 15-30 min. This way you will ensure more repetition and will not be too tired after every practice.
In addition, you do not need a partner to practice! Knowing your own steps and being able to perform them is very important.
4. Exposure to Dance Music
Unless you have some musical instrument training you may initially have problems with music. Simply finding the beat is sometimes (not always) difficult for beginners. Dancing to the beat makes it even more challenging, especially if the music is faster such as ChaCha or Salsa.
However, it is not that difficult to learn how to recognize the beat in the music. Like everything else in dancing, you just need some time and practice.
Thus, we highly recommend that you listen to dance music on a regular basis. Listen to it while driving to work. Try to find the beat. The more you listen and try, the easier it will be to find the beat while dancing.
Always remember how you learned to drive. Most likely it did not come overnight. Therefore, do not expect miracles when it comes to learning to dance. Have some patience. As when you learned to drive, you should be able to learn basics of a dance if you dutifully take lessons and practice.
With right dance classes and regular practice on your own, you should be able to learn the dance basics. You should listen to dance music and practice on your own outside of class to facilitate your learning.
Don’t forget to enjoy the learning and have lots of fun on the dance floor!