In all the years (20 now) that I have been dancing I have learned one thing: everyone (without physical disabilities) can learn how to dance!
But why is it that some learn how to dance and others don’t? Why is it that some people can keep dancing week after week, month after month, year after year, and others end up in what we call a dance slump and trade their dancing for the lazy couch in front of the TV?
After 25 years of teaching young and old, fat and thin and talented and absolutely not talented students, I have discovered that it is mainly about discipline.
So the question is not: “can I learn to dance well” but “how much do
I want to learn how to dance well?”
With the following 5 Golden Tips I will teach you how everyone, and I mean everyone, can become a good dancer in a relatively short time.
Tip 1: Find out if you learn by V, A or K.
Did you know that not alle people learn in the same way? When it comes to learning movement, it is important to know whether you learn Visually, Auditory or Kinaesthetically.
Visual means that you mainly learn by watching and then by doing. That also means that explanation is less important to you. If you are a more visual person that you will notice that you just have to watch a few and you will be able to copy what you see. How do you recognize this? For example you might get very annoyed when people get in the way between you and the teachers. You might want to see the example given from several sides and you prefer to stand as close as possible to the teachers to see it properly.
Auditory means that you mainly learn by the explanations that are given. You understand it better when someone tells you instead of someone showing you what to do. How do you recognize this? You also might get very disturbed when people are talking during the explanation. You also like to listen to details and you feel the need to know exactly what to do before you practice it. Interesting isn’t it?
Kinesthetic means that you mainly want to feel and experience. You learn by taking action and executing a move. You can watch it over and over again but.. once you do it, that is when you really start to learn.
How do you recognize this? You recognize it mainly because you are less visual or auditory. You just need to experience it, to do it. You will quickly feel impatient if something is explained in detail. An example is nice but not too long and not too many times.
Note: if you learn visually, you learn also auditorily and kinesthetically and visa versa. In that case, visual alone is stronger than the other 2. This also applies if you learn auditory or kinesthetically.
By knowing how you learn, you can find a teacher who responds to those needs. Usually that will be a teacher who learns in the same way as you. This will speed up your learning process considerably.
Tip 2: Use a structure and visit a dance class at least once a week.
Compare it to a gym. Will you really start training at home when your gym subscription ends? Despite all the good intentions, that is often not how it works. By having a fixed day (or several days) each week on which you will visit a danceclass you create a rhythm and structure. Because of this you are more or less forced by yourself to go to a class and because of this you will not only keep track of what you have learned but you also get better. In addition, you also create the discipline to sometimes go to class even if you don’t feel like it. And remember, “repetition is the mother of mastery.” In the unlikely event that you cannot attend a lesson, catch it up on another day.
Tip 3: Go to a dance evening at least once every 3 months.
In most places in the world you can dance Salsa about 7 days a week. Most dance schools have free practice evenings or parties. Even if you only go to a party once every 3 months, you will learn twice as fast.
How come? Look, during a lesson you get an example, an explanation, and you participate in the technique together with the teacher.
You don’t have that luxury during a party. And so you are forced to put into practice what you have learned all by yourself. That ensures that you have to dance to your feeling and let go of your ‘thinking’ You do the latter during a lesson, but only after the example, after the explanation and after some practice. At a party you do it all yourself. At first it feels like swimming without water wings but believe me, there is no faster way to learn how to dance. And… dance with as many different partners as possible!
Tip 4: Do not give up!
There is a nice saying: “You only fail when you quit”. In other words, as long as you don’t give up, there is no failure. If you really intend to learn how to dance, and you are physically able to do it, then nothing should stop you. And are you having a hard time? Or do you wonder if you will ever really learn it well? Feel free to request a private lesson. Often during a private lesson you get exactly those tips that you do not get during a dance lesson. This is because a private lesson is completely tailored to your needs. For a private lesson you can approach a great dance-school in your neighborhood.
Tip 5: Go beyond your plateau.
If you’re just starting to dance, you learn the fastest. Within a few months you see yourself doing things that you didn’t think possible until recently. But there comes a point where your growth will slow down and you feel like you’re not really moving forward. 90% of all people who stop dancing it is because they have reached a plateau.
What these people don’t see is that they are about to make important dance technical breakthroughs. It is precisely in this phase where mastery lies in the making. It is this phase in which you discover that you can suddenly skip a step and then come back perfectly in time with the music. It is this phase in which you hear a musical break coming and you are suddenly able to catch it by turning your partner in this great dip. This is the phase where you will discover why you ever started.
I sincerely hope that you take the above tips to heart and learn how to apply them. They drastically changed my life years ago and I hope they can also influence your life also in a positive way.
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