10 Tips for Beginners

Advice  One comment

Jitterbug_dancers_NYWTS

Article by: Sierra Kane

When I started dancing Lindy Hop the most difficult thing for me was to see so many great dancers doing things I wanted to be able do. I wanted to be awesome immediately! Dancing though, like any other sport or skill, takes time and effort. Here are some tips that can help you improve your dancing.

 

Know the basics well
Know the basics and know them well before moving on. It’s easy to want to get ahead of yourself and start working on those awesome moves and styling, but if you have a good understanding of the basics the fun moves and styling will come more naturally.

 

Learn from a variety of teachers
Each teacher has a different style of teaching. You will learn different things from each one. Therefore, the more teachers you take the more you will take away and learn.

 

Dance a lot!
The amount of time you spend doing anything has a direct relationship to how good you are at that thing. Dance a few times a week, dance with a variety of people, dance at different venues that offer different music, dance in your kitchen—dance dance dance! The time that I improved the most is when I went swing, balboa, or blues dancing every night for a month straight!

 

Set goals
Use goals to help push you become a better dancer. Small attainable goals can be very motivating. For example, you could set goals to go dancing at least once a week, try lessons with a new teacher each month, or ask ten people to dance tonight.

 

Push yourself to try new things
It always puzzled me when I would take a group lesson and a lead would perform a move well in class but then wouldn’t try it on the social floor. You need to practice what you learn socially. You will gain the muscle memory in order to retain that technique or move. Also, trying new things helps you determine what you can achieve and what you need to work on.

 

Watch and Learn
Making observations. Watch the way experienced swing dancers move—is their movement smooth or bouncy, look at their posture—are their knees bent, what about their footwork—is it large or small? How does this compare to what your doing?

 

Make friends
The swing dance scene is notorious for being one of the friendliest scenes around and many people already know each other. In order to make friends go and introduce yourself to people. Find the dance geeks and become their friend. When you talk with experienced dancers you can learn a lot!

in n out dance 10 Tips for Beginners

Going out with eat with dancers after the dance is a great way to connect and make friends.

Focus on one element at a time
When you go dancing it can easily become overwhelming to think about all the things you need to work on. Pick one specific thing you want to work on each night you go dancing, e.g., creating better connection, making my footwork small and precise, improving my frame, or feeling the pulse. Half way through the night stop thinking about it completely and just have fun!

 

Be resourceful
Swing dancing can be an expensive habit but there are many ways to get more for less. Many venues offer free lessons before the dance, new student specials, or student discounts, take advantage of these while you can. Some places offer loyalty programs, bundle packages, or series where you can learn a lot for less. Atomic Ballroom is good about this: http://atomicballroom.com/series-classes.php Volunteering is a great way to get into a dance or event for free and typically you meet cool people while working. Private lessons are expensive and should be used sparingly. I’d recommend only a few per year.

 

Remember we all suck in the beginning
Nobody was able to swing out like a boss the first day they tried it, and if anyone tells you otherwise they need an ego check! We all make mistakes in the beginning; it’s a natural part of the process. Don’t get too upset with yourself. Stay as long as you are having fun, but no longer.

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One comment to 10 Tips for Beginners

  • Roger Middleton  says:

    My wife and I have been wanting to feel young again since our last child has just headed off to college and I think swing dancing will be perfect. I really liked your mention of setting goals and trying to go dancing at least once a week or to try lessons. I think that I’ll have to give lessons a try and hopefully my wife and I will feel young again.

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