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?