Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Resolutions Anyone?

Happy New Year!  Have you made any new year's resolutions?  I normally don't, mainly because I tend to forget them pretty much as soon as the champagne has worn off, but this year I have made a resolution and it is to do with this blog.  You see after a few years of blogging about happiness some ideas have crystallised for me and so I'm going to start a semi-regular series of posts on what I think being happy means and how to achieve it.

However I'm not starting my resolution today, because I'm hoping that some of you have made the resolution that you want to learn to dance this year.  If you have, I suspect you may be feeling a little nervous, possibly you may believe some of the myths I used to believe.  Every year our dance class gets an influx early in the new year and more often than not people are there because they made a resolution to finally get around learning to dance.  After talking to many of these people over the years I know there were a bunch of reasons it took them so long, so here is the list I have found and hopefully it will give you insight into why you must follow through on that dance resolution.

Myth 1 : You have to go with a partner - I definitely thought this was the case, although I have no idea where I formed this impression.  I can categorically say it is not true and the vast majority of people do not come to dance classes with a partner.  If anything, coming with a partner can hamper you because if you only dance with them, you don't learn from all the other people, so if you do come with someone, make sure you still dance with as many different people as you can.

Myth 2 : Dance classes are really expensive - the average classes I've seen cost somewhere between $15 - $20.  Ok, this isn't cheap, but it also isn't a huge cost, most of us can find $15 or $20 a week for an activity.  Sometimes I do private classes which can cost around $80 for an hour, now that is getting expensive but I learn at a much faster pace and want to learn very technical things because I've been dancing for so long.  For me I find that valuable, but I had my first private class 7 years after I started dancing, so if you are starting out group classes are all you need.  Also keep an eye out on the discount websites, lots of dance schools have special introductory offers at this time of year.

Myth 3 : You have to be really coordinated and graceful - ha!  If that was true there is no way I would be dancing.  I was someone who can fall over her own feet.  It took time to get my balance etc but these days I do cut a reasonably graceful figure on the dance floor.  And I still fall over my own feet.

which kind of ties in with Myth 4 : You have to know how to dance -  Hmmm, yes, I somehow thought you already had to know how to dance at least a bit before you went to class.  Clearly I had not come to terms with the idea of learning.  Most people in the average beginner class have done no dancing before and definitely haven't done that style.  So don't worry, everyone is as clueless as you are.
Myth 5 : You need special shoes - unless you are learning tap dancing or ballet you are unlikely to need special shoes at your first class.  What you will need are shoes with a smooth, non-grippy sole and that strap firmly to your feet.  Crocs, sneakers and thongs are not good choices and yes I've seen people attempt to do a class in each of these.  For about the first 3 months I was learning I just wore a pair of leather sandals with a little heel.  It was only when I had decided I was addicted that I got proper dance shoes.  Same goes for clothes.  I still wear jeans or 3/4 pants and a t-shirt to most of my dance classes, special outfits are just for performances.

Myth 6 : Dance isn't real exercise - I always love it when they have athletes on "Dancing with the Stars" and they say how fit they have got.  A few years ago the ceroc teachers did an exercise where they wore pedometers in class and they managed to do the entire day's recommended steps in a single dance class.  It is hard work, I've never been as fit as I am now, and the only difference in my life is dance. 

Myth 7 : I'm too old to learn to dance - no, no, no, no, no.  There is no such thing as too old.  I've had classes with an age spread of 15 - 70.  The only thing I would recommend is that if you have any health issues you consider these when picking a dance style.  There are loads, from super fast paced - think Brazillian Samba, to much slower, try a belly dance or ballroom class.  If you want recommendations for a dance style, ask the comments below.

Myth 8 : Only cool people know how to dance - yup, I was convinced you had to be in the in crowd to know how to dance.  Learning to dance is cool, but we all have to learn.  I've seen people from 18-80 in classes.  Those who dress fashionably, those who really don't.  And then comes the day when you decide it is more comfortable to wear socks under your dance shoes because what you are wearing, how your hair is done etc doesn't matter - you are just there to dance.  That said personal hygiene is really, really important!

So have you made a resolution? And have I convinced you that dance isn't that scary and you should give it a go?


  1. (I did write a comment and then my internet connection went off unaccountably and so I may be sending you two!)

    I like thinking about what I would like the new year to bring, and setting goals from there, but tend not to label them resolutions. They are probably more general than resolutions tend to be, and I feel like resolutions are often ridiculed these days because they so often drop by the wayside before February! Although dancing isn't on my list for 2013, I love this post as I believe many of the myths, sometimes at least, in relation to non-dancing activities I might like to try. Thanks for reminding me to just jump in.

    Happy New Year Lisa :)

    1. Jumping in and giving things a go is one of the best things I've ever learned. It can be scary but it nearly always results in great experiences. I hope 2013 is fantastic for you Kari.

  2. oooh dance class!!! I miss it. I haven't really thought about resolutions. I suppose I really try to live each day with such intentions. I think I'm quite good at making sure I'm living how I want, doing what I want. I'm lucky! Although have to say losing a loved one probable kick started that skill. Cheers to a happy & fulfilling, rewarding, challenging, adventurous 2013, lovely!
    Heidi xo

    1. Thanks so much Heidi! I hope you have a spectacular 2013 as well.

  3. I think you may have convinced me! Next one of those daily deal offers I'm there!

  4. I wish one of the types of classes you talk about existed in Hobart! I once went to a beginner class, and almost all those myths were true! It was horrendous! (leaping across the floor ONE AT A TIME in front of everyone??!!!)

    1. Argh, how horrible but I do have a suggestion for you - try Le Bop (http://lebopdance.com/dance-classes-tasmania). This is the same style I teach and I know a few of the instructors there so I'm sure it will be much more friendly and fun!