Surviving Your First Private Lesson

June 11, 2015

Great, you’ve chosen your dance studio! (If you haven’t, click here) Now the fear grips you as you realize what you’ve done. Learn to dance at a studio, surrounded by total strangers? Whatever where you thinking??

Fear not, the following bits of well-worn advice will help you keep your shoes on and a smile on your face, long after your first lesson has faded into memory. Let’s start with the most pressing and terrifying question we can EVER leave unanswered:

What the Heck Should I Wear?

In case you wondered, this is not the time to dry-clean your tuxedo (though it might still need it), or squeeze into your sexiest club-wear. Follow the three C’s: Cool, Comfortable, and (if you’re trying to impress someone) Classy. Your clothes should breathe well, and be comfortable with the sometimes energetic movements of many dance styles. Certain styles, like ballet, tend to be a bit more specific in their clothing options, so consider asking what other students might wear to be sure.

Set Your Dance Goals

Every dance journey has a destination, and your instructor is like a dance guide, waiting for your direction. Sure, he or she can teach you what they know, but what’s important to you? Do you want to dance socially, or competitively? Do you like slow dances, or fast ones? What words would you use to describe a perfect dance? The better you know your destination, the more directly your dance teacher can guide you there.

Think About Your Learning Style

Visual, kinesthetic, or auditory - we all have different ways of absorbing information, and your instructor wants to know about them! Also, if you’re willing to get a bit personal, think about what blocks you, and gets in the way of your learning. Maybe you are shy, or get frustrated easily with new things. Believe me, your dance teacher can save you a LOT of time if you are honest with them at the beginning.

Ask Questions!

Finally, never be afraid to ask for more detail with any part of the lesson. We instructors sometimes get carried away, and lapse into terminology that comes out sounding like German to a student who hasn’t learned it yet. Ask the important questions now, and you won’t be picking up bad habits from half-understood lessons.

All these tips are here to help you get more from your private dancing experience. Next time, we’ll look at how to have fun and learn more from your group classes!

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for almost 20 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches ballroom at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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