Drop-in classes are sometimes canceled at short notice. Don't go
home, use this time to try out another class for fun… Or why not watch a
more advanced class in the dance discipline that you want to try?
It'll give you great motivation, and you will be able to imagine where
your own dancing may take you.
Carry a spare pair of socks in your kit bag. If your shoes aren't
suitable for the class you're doing or you don't have specific dance
shoes, some classes (like Ballet) won't let you dance in bare feet. But
if you have a spare pair of socks with you, they can always be used
instead of dance shoes temporarily.
If you want to wear leg warmers to a dance class, be sure that you wear them pulled up and crease free. Don't wear them like they used to in the 80's - all bunched up around the ankles. The clue is in the name - they are supposed to warm your legs. But the main point here is that if you have big thick rolls of wool wrapped around your ankles, it actually prevents you from standing in position correctly. Also bear in mind that if you are recovering from a leg injury, it is perfectly acceptable to wear just one leg warmer on the injured leg - there's no law that says you have to wear them both.
Turn up ON TIME! This is probably the most important of all the dance
tips. Each class, no matter what dance it is for, will usually start
with a warm up. If you miss the warm up, you risk serious injury. You'll
usually find that a good dance teacher won't let you join the rest of
the class for that reason. Don't be disappointed - it's your welfare
the teacher is thinking of. Better to miss one dance lesson through
being late, than a whole term of classes through being injured. And,
don't forget, it's going to take you longer to warm up when the weather
is colder. Warming up applies just as much to doing videos and dvds at
home - DON'T SKIP THE WARM-UP.
Always, always drink plenty of water.
And if you're hungry, the best snack to have before or after a dance class is a banana.
Choose a gentle class such as Belly dancing or Modern dance if you
are returning to exercise after injury, illness or child-birth. A few
gentle classes will help with your overall tone and fitness and will
ease you back into your dancing regime.
Stop looking at your feet! POSTURE, POSTURE, POSTURE.
Probably the simplest dance to learn for the complete beginner is very basic Salsa.
The core steps of Salsa are based on taking one step forward, one step
sideways and one step to the back. That's it. So it's the best dance
to tackle if you long to dance but are convinced you've got two left
It is far better to be able to do a dance accurately and slowly than
attempt a routine or step at speed and risk injury or embarrassment. So
slow your moves right down and really dance them.
Ballet terminology has become dance terminology. Try to do at least one good absolute beginners Ballet class or video - it'll give you all the information you need on feet and arm positions, basic movements and pointing the foot.
This information will prove invaluable for any other dance class that you choose to do. You'll need good posture and balance no matter what dance you want to do, and you will repeatedly hear things like "Stand with your feet in second position". It's a real boost to the confidence if you know what this is. And Ballet can teach you that.
In Ballet, the barre represents
holding you partner's hand. So when you have to turn around, politely
turn towards the barre, as though you are turning towards your partner.
Turning away from the barre would be like turning your back on your
At the end of some dance classes, there is a reverence section. It
can be a curtsey or bow, and it is the dance equivalent of saying thank
you to your teacher. In other classes, there's often a round of
applause for your teacher - another way of saying thank you.
If there's a mirror in your dance studio, don't forget that it
represents your audience. It should be your focal point. Also please
resist the temptation to touch the mirror by putting your sweaty hands
on it. Grimy mirrors are just nasty.
Don't gossip or chat to your fellow pupils when in a dance class - leave that for after the lesson. Always focus on the teacher and the class, even if you're waiting your turn to dance if the lesson has been split up into separate groups. A dance lesson is an hour to completely focus on dance and dancing, your body, your moves and the teacher's instruction.
Next, some specifics on adult dance classes...