So many people go through life saying they wish they could dance, but don’t do anything about it. I believe if more people knew about social dancing there’d be a lot more people out there on the dancefloor. They may love watching others dance, at the theatre or on tv through Strictly Come Dancing and the various other dance shows out there. Or maybe they’re even encouraging their children to learn to dance. So if you’re interested in learning to dance but have never got round to trying, maybe it’s time to start social dancing.
The reasons people don’t dance can vary, but probably has similarities:
- Don’t have time
- Don’t want to look like a girl (the men)
- Don’t have a partner
- Can’t dance
- Don’t know where to go
- Don’t know what dance would suit
- Don’t have a dancers build
- Hated ballet classes/country dancing when I was a child
There are so many benefits to dancing and partner dancing is so accessible nowadays, available in most cities and many towns, even some villages. There really aren’t that many reasons why you shouldn’t dance. So, if you’ve always fancied a turn on the dance floor, here’s some ways to get started.
How to start social dancing
1. Find a friend to go with
The great thing about social dancing is that it’s social. You dance with everyone, so you can go alone. But if you think you’ll back out, plan to go with a friend the first time. You’ll have someone to compare notes with, and if you’re similarly good or bad, you’ll be able to laugh or encourage each other to keep going.
2. Find a local dance class
If you type social dancing into google, you’re unlikely to find dance classes near you. Instead look for a specific dance style. We’re all about modern jive here – it’s a truly social dance, open to anyone, and after one night you’ll be able to dance through a full song. And you get to dance to a real mix of music, from contemporary chart hits to older classics.
Alternatively, if you can’t find modern jive (or ceroc) in your area, try salsa or swing dance which are a bit more energetic and technical.
3. Keep an open mind
If you go to class thinking you’ll never cope and that everyone will be brilliant, you’ll struggle more than if you go thinking you CAN learn and you WILL improve. Assume you’ll enjoy it as well, because you will.
4. Wear something comfortable and cool
Cool as in, not hot, rather than turning up in a flamboyant dance outfit. Obviously you can, but most people turn up to a class in trousers or something that’s easy to move in. Dancing can be hot, so don’t come in a woolly jumper unless you’re one of those lucky people who never gets hot doing exercise. Flat shoes which stay on, and smooth soles rather than trainers which grip too well.
5. Make time
Social dancing may turn out to be a hobby that you get hooked on and it will take up time if you start travelling to other venues and go on weekenders. But it’s an evening or a few hours. Choose a day that you won’t have to work late or be exhausted because you’ve been out late 3 nights on the trot. Make the time in the diary
6. Be sociable
The clue is in the title, social dancing, in particular modern jive is about enjoying dance and enjoying a shared passion with other dancers. If you’re still sitting on the fence and waivering over coming back another week, make sure you talk to people. If you’ve felt part of a friendly approachable community, you’ll be more likely to want to return the next week.
Chat to the people on the front desk.
Make use of the taxi dancers (they’re there for beginners after all)
And introduce yourself to people you dance with.
It’s the job of the crew at the venue to make beginners feel welcome but other dancers (I include myself in this) get lazy and often don’t make the effort to talk to new people they’re dancing with. So make them talk to you, and you could end up making friends for life.
Hopefully this gives some tips on starting to social dance.
Let me know if you’ve started dancing recently, or are about to start, and have any tips for making that first step.