What You Need To Know Before Your First Dance Class

What You Need To Know Before Your First Dance Class

So you’ve signed up for your first dance class ever! That’s awesome, and I am so proud of you for going for it. This will be my ninth year to have the privilege of teaching beginning ballet and modern dance at the collegiate level. I am always left with an indescribable sense of pride for beginner dancers when they come to the end of their semester. One thing I always tell my beginning students is it takes bravery to step into this space for the first time. You walk into a room and it is a screenless clean slate where you have the opportunity to experience joy and community. You’ve made a great decision!

Now, you’ve probably come over in search of some guidance on what you need to know before you walk into class. While it’s great to be prepared, also remember it’s great to be a beginner. You don’t have to know it all, you are going into this space to learn.Today we see a lot of magnificent and beautiful examples of everything on social media at the height of their performance— whether it be dancing, fitness, home decor, you name it. That oftentime does something to our brains and makes us think, ugh we don’t know how to do it. So we give up before we even allow ourselves to be a beginner. 

My biggest piece of advice when walking into a beginning ballet class for the first time is to simply allow yourself to be a beginner. That means asking the question, what does it mean to be a beginner?

    1. Embrace vulnerability. As I said earlier, walking into a dance studio is brave. There is no desk or screen to hide behind and you are stepping out in a fresh community into an empty room with your mind, body, and spirit. We don’t like being vulnerable because it feels so risky, but life’s greatest gifts can be discovered after risk taking. The dance classroom is an excellent place to practice risk taking. 
    2. Ask questions. A lot of the time these days I am more alone than with people. I mean, not actually alone, but I’m  with small children and I am supposed to have all the answers. So conveniently, I’m able to google my questions. Google isn’t actually available in a dance studio in the middle of a combination. Teachers can see when questions flit across the face of students. My challenge to you is to ask the question, don’t be shy. You can even ask the question after class if the teacher is available. As we’ve heard before, odds are someone has the same question.  
    3. Recover curiosity. This might be one of my favorite take aways from being a beginner. I was told from my Grandpa to learn something new everyday. I think that’s probably why he’s still going strong at 92. In a beginning dance class, there is time to feel how things are going in your body in connection with your mind and spirit. Get curious at those feelings and connections. How does changing places in the room change your perspective? How do you as an individual learn best in a dance class? The questions you can ask yourself are endless in this type of learning environment.
    4. Build confidence through consistency. Beginning dance class, and really any dance class, is a great opportunity to build confidence. I think in general we are experiencing a cultural decline in confidence, me included. This could be from a lot of things. Always only seeing amazing content, and not the in between process of what it takes to become excellent. Confidence is made by building the trust you have for yourself to do what you say you are going to do. Show up every week for the class you signed up for. Even when you don’t feel like it. 

I am excited to hear how your journey goes in your beginning dance class. If you have any specific questions or thoughts on being a beginner send me a message on instagram or comment below. 

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