If you’re new to modern jive, or still feeling like you’re a beginner although you’re past that total newbie phase, then you’re in the right place.
What about Dance is for all levels of modern jiver and most of my tips can be related to other social dance styles. I also include my learnings from my other dance experience, because we can all learn from other styles. Plus modern jive is a fusion of so many other dances why not learn from those too.
I try and cover all areas from tips to reviews, from opinions to shared experiences.
Tips for modern jive beginners
If you enjoy your classes, that’s the best thing to keep going along.
If you aren’t enjoying the venue or don’t feel you’re getting the most from your teacher and taxi dancers, but still want to carry on dancing, look for another venue with different teachers. Many organisations run classes in different towns or areas, sometimes with different teachers. It might be that teacher’s way of teaching doesn’t work for you. Or you’re not comfortable practising with the people at the venue.
Ask around for recommendations for friendly venues, venues who play music you love.
Also look out for venues where they offer good beginners classes where they continue going after 6 weeks and you can see people progress.
Starting a new hobby quite often brings pressure with it. If you feel like you can’t do it, make use of the beginners review session and ask questions of the taxi dancers and teachers during the freestyle.
Everyone was once a beginner and dancing isn’t a race to be the best. Modern jive is about enjoying dance and giving it a go. Everyone there loves to dance and is keen to see beginners enjoying themselves and giving it a go.
Try to take it week by week and don’t just go home after the lesson.
Stay and practice.
Ask others to dance.
Watch other dancers.
Moving up to improvers
In modern jive classes, most venues say 6-8 weeks of beginners lessons before moving up to intermediates. If you don’t feel ready then don’t move up. Beginners review sessions give a good boost to your learning because of the smaller group and chance to ask questions and perfect those moves in a slower paced environment.
A workshop is also a great way to consolidate your beginners learning before giving you the confidence to move up.
If you’ve danced before and find beginners easy, then ask a taxi dancer or teacher for a dance and get feedback on whether you’re ready to move up. It’s better to make sure, than to move up before you’re ready and then get put off because you struggle in intermediates. Followers often find it easier to move up earlier because they’re more likely to have previous dance experience, but also because their main skill to learn is following rather than moves.
The step up to freestyles is often scary. Some beginners launch straight into them, while others take their time. Choose which is right for you. It’s always worth finding a friend to go with the first time, if only to make you go and stay.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to dance the first time, and just watch and absorb the atmosphere.
Some beginners don’t stay for a full class night, but trying the freestyle after classes is the best way to get the feel of a freestyle and practise in an environment with dancers you see each week. It’s where you hone your social dancing, and once you’re comfortable in at class night freestyles, then you’re certainly ready to attend a full night of freestyle.
Look out for freestyles with an ice breaker class first. Most are more relaxed than a normal class, and you’ll get the chance to meet people as well as try some new moves. Just check the level offered first as some freestyle venues have an advanced class first, rather than general level.
I’ve included some of the popular beginner focused articles below – just click the image to get to the post.
If you’re moving into the improver/intermediate level, What about Dance has plenty of tips and technique posts, as well as thoughts and observations about dance. Head over to the improver page.