Words of Encouragement for New Ballroom Dancers

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Instructor Pam Wood of Ballroom Made Simple teaches a group dance lesson.

Instructor Pam Wood of Ballroom Made Simple teaches a group dance lesson. Practice, focus, relax & dance!

Recently I was chatting with a member of our local USA Dance Chapter and telling her how new dancers often feel overwhelmed when they attend their first social dance. The “newbies” see dancers gracefully floating across the floor and then become very nervous about dancing in front of people. Little do they know that these seasoned dancers have been dancing for 5 -10 years, or longer. She said the same thing happened to her so I asked her to send me a few bullet points that new dancers might find beneficial. Thank you Regina for sharing your experiences!

“My husband Jeff and I have been taking lessons for eight years. At first it was a real struggle for Jeff. He didn’t understand rhythm at all so slow and quick didn’t really mean anything. Thus, he couldn’t tell the difference between a Cha-Cha and a Foxtrot. But we took four lessons from a local instructor (who has since retired) and felt like we were ready to go. We confidently went to our first dance and were overwhelmed. I think it would have been our last dance if a member from the USA Dance Chapter had not come over to talk with us. She told us where we could go to take more lessons. We took lessons for about two more years and finally felt like we were getting the hang of it. Since then we have taken lessons off and on and Jeff seems to actually enjoy it.”

Here are a few words of encouragement for new dancers:
• Focus on one dance at a time. Don’t try to learn every type of dance; pick your favorites. Most of us only know and dance about half of the dances. As for us? We never Waltz but we love the Hustle.
• Take a few lessons and then take a break and practice. Sometimes we have taken a year off and then gone back for more lessons.
• Practice at home during the week until you can do the move without thinking about it. It really does require more practice than just going to the lesson once a week.
• Videotape the lesson. We use our phone cameras and video each new step. If we don’t we have usually forgotten the step before we even get home!
• Relax and dance. We all remember being beginners and we are all beginners for at least one of the dances.
• Hang in there. They say that dancing is a beneficial activity for all ages, but particularly for seniors. It’s physical, social, and brain exercise all rolled into one.”

What words of encouragement do you have for new dancers? Let me know at ballroommadesimple@gmail.com.

(guest contributor: Regina Royer, USA Dance, Chapter 6098, Maryland’s Eastern Shore)

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