If you are impatient like me at the beginning and always like the fasts track but afraid of shortcuts that can cause bad habits. Here are a few suggestions that may help speed up your learning process and get you onto the dance floor with confidence. However, like all skills, you still need to give it time for your body to remember, so it is still very true that it is down to lots and lots of practice.
Zero to Hero
Here are 7 ways I’ve been using to build up my Zouk confidence. I’m sure it can be applied to any other social dances.
1. Dance with Everyone!
It doesn’t matter whether they are a professional dancer, amateur or beginner. Just grab someone and get on the dance floor. You will learn more dancing with everyone. You will learn from the more experienced but also find out how good your lead is with lesser experienced partners. The more people you dance with the more you learn to adapt. Everyone benefits. Don’t be afraid to ask for a dance (or steal!) and don’t make excuses when your next dance will be. Just go! I have been there and regretted wasting valuable time, being shy, and sitting around instead of dancing! It is okay to rest your feet after hours of dancing, but no excuse if you aren’t even sweating yet.
2. Attend week/weekend long dance congresses, festivals, marathons, and dance camps.
Classes during the day, parties in the evening, they really are crash courses and very fun too! You’ll be amazed at how fast you improve by going to these! You get to learn from world-class teachers and build vast experience in a short space of time by dancing with hundred of ladies from all over the world. Hence the reason why I am attending so many and they are perfect for people like me who can’t commit time every week. As an investment it may cost more, but the benefits are worth ten folds!
3. Listen to more songs and music that you can dance to.
This will help your musicality and you can do it on your way to work, at work (wouldn’t recommend) or in the kitchen preparing dinner! Wherever just play it!
4. Ever heard of shadow boxing?
It’s a method boxers’ use to train while imagining their opponent’s movements, attacks, and defense. Just imagine yourself dancing, even if you are dancing in your head. It helps you remember techniques and moves so you can apply them in practice later. I do this a lot while listening to music on my daily run around the park. I may stop, do a dance and look stupid, but who cares!
5. Social dancing, social dance, social dance.
“For every hour of classes, you should be doing ten hours of practice.”
Or so I’ve heard! Don’t try too many new moves during social hours. I would suggest trying one new move that evening. If you really confidence, then drill out two new moves with every lady you dance with. With that new move, experiment different ways of entry/initiation and ways of exit! You’ll be surprised how fast you progress by focusing on one movement at a time even if you fail hard, because your body will remember the mistakes and learn from it.
Once you are comfortable with that move and can pull it off without thinking, that’s when you are ready for the next new move(s). Don’t ever be discouraged if you have to spend a few weeks on a single move. As you build up a portfolio of moves, you will eventually find it easier to learn new ones because your body is gradually adapting to this type of learning.
6. Choose a style that suits you.
Nothing sucks more than trying to learn a style that is completely not you (in the early stages)! Obviously, you will need to spend some time trying different ones before knowing which teacher and style feel right for you right now. With the right style focus, you’ll have more enthusiasm and keenness to learn, so your mind would be engaged. As you grow as a dancer, you’ll soon find yourself circling back to learning and developing many other styles and find new enjoyment in them.
7. Basics, Basics, Basics.
Would you build a house on sand? If your answer is “NO”, then why would anyone want to do the same with your dance? Basics are the foundations for building dance techniques and the advanced moves upon. Investing the early time & effort to create a solid foundation will make you quicker and further as a Dancer in the long run. You may become very popular and pleasurable to dance with! Think about all those Ladies/Guys queuing up just to dance with you! By having a weak foundation, you slow your learning and potential. It’s the same as trying to run before you learned to walk.
Did my 7 dance tips work for you? Let me know how it goes and which one you find works best for you. Happy learning and see you on the dance floor 🙂