"Why walk when you can dance?" Ellen van Dam (Dutch actress, singer, and instrumentalist)

You have finally decided that you want to fly like a dancer too. This has got you thinking about walking towards your first dance class. You may be set on dancing but you may need a little added motivation to actually join dance classes and get into the dance lessons groove.

"Where can I learn how to dance in South Africa?" you ask.

Once you are motivated and ready to step into your first dance class, here's what you can expect:

Learning to Dance for Beginners

"The job of feets is walking but their hobby is dancing." Amit Kalantri (Author).

First dance class
Taking your first dance lesson is nerve-wracking but you will adjust. Source: Unsplash

You must remember that your first dance lesson will be nerve-wracking, to say the least. If you come from a family who loves dancing, perhaps your nerves won't get the better of you. However, if you have never tried dancing before because you believe that you have two left feet, your first dance lesson will have you filled with fear. The anxiousness that you will feel the first time you step foot into your first ballroom dance, salsa or contemporary dance lesson will pass once you start getting the hang of things. Remember the butterflies will only float around in your tummy for the first lesson. Thereafter the butterflies will disappear completely.

So how can you prepare for your first dance lesson?

There is no one shoe fits all for how your first dance lesson will be. Firstly, the type of lesson you will have will depend on whether you choose to take private lessons or group dancing classes. It will also depend on which style of dancing you are choosing to learn.

Irrespective of whether you choose to do a break dancing lesson, traditional dancing or ballet, the onus is on you to remember that you will slowly learn to soar as a dancer. You will be ever so eager to grasp each and every dance step from the moment you enter your first dance lesson. However, you must remember that during your first dance lesson, your instructor is not at all focused on getting you to master dance steps.  In fact, teaching dance steps will be the last thing on his or her mind.

The first dance lesson will focus on the foundations of dance-warming up, footwork, body movement and your connection with the music.

Warming up
Dance lessons start with a simple warming up. Source: Unsplash

Warm-up is the initial preparation needed to ease your body into moving in unusual ways. In this way, your body will be able to perform all the movements it needs to without you having to incur any stress or strain on your muscles and bones. Another reason why each and every dance instructor starts with warming up exercises at the beginning of each dance lesson is because warming up prepares you both emotionally and physically to begin dancing. Your body will be able to move far more freely if you start with an intense warm-up from the onset.

You will also learn some dance theory or what specific dance steps are called during the first few dance lessons. The first few dance lessons will follow the same pattern, each one increasing in intensity and the number of new dance movements that you will learn.

The dance instructor will also give away hints as to what you can expect from the entire dancing course. Once you become more comfortable with your dance instructor, you can start asking any of the questions that you want to get answered about dance. The more comfortable you are in front of your instructor and team of dancers, the easier it is for you to show off your dance moves. So the first few lessons will allow you to get comfortable with your dance class and instructor.

So as Bob Marley would say, "Forget your troubles and dance."

Dancing to a carefree you
You will understand why you choose to take dance lessons from the first dance lesson. Source: Unsplash

Why is it Valuable to Learn How to Dance?

From a study conducted by South African occupational therapists, it has become clear that dance is an art form that has the ability to empower the youth or anyone who chooses to take up dancing.

The truth is that no one is born knowing how to dance naturally, dancing is a talent that you pick up along the way. Taking dancing lessons will allow you to gain yet another talent. The more talents you have, the better off you are. You can always showcase your dance skills in public once you become a confident dancer.

Dancing encourages you to become more determined and to push yourself further. To become a proficient dancer, you have to set goals and work towards achieving these goals. You may initially be eager to become more flexible during dance class. This could be the reason why you take up dance lessons in the first place. After weeks of practising, you may realise that you are more flexible so then you can set more goals like perfecting dance moves. The more dance lessons you take, the better you will be at achieving your dance goals.

Dancing does push you beyond what you are normally used to but this push is good. You will begin to understand if you fall flat on your face at first, you can always get back up and try the step again. Dancing also teaches you that getting a step right is still not good enough. You need to perfect each and every step. The precision that dancing lessons ultimately teaches you is a skill that will be valued wherever you venture.

The more devoted you are to dancing, the more closer you will be to blossoming into a professional dancer. If you are looking for added inspiration perhaps follow the dancing transformations of talented South African dancers.

there are benefits of dancing
Dance because another dancer inspires you Source: Unsplash| Rojan Maharjan

What to Bring for Your First Few Dancing Classes

"If you need someone to say you are a good dancer, you aren't" Tiny Pretty Things. 

Come to dancing classes with a fun and unbreakable spirit.  One of the essential things that you need to bring with you to dance class is your willingness to have fun. The more fun you have learning how to dance, the easier it is to actually master dance moves.

Aside from a fun-filled spirit, you also need to bring some dancing essentials. A water bottle is absolutely necessary. Dancing is an exercise form so ensure that you come prepared to stay hydrated.

Along with being properly hydrated, you also need to be most comfortable when you dance. Depending on the dance form that you choose to engage in, you must wear the right clothes to be able to dance. It is better to wear tighter fitting clothes for most dance forms rather than wearing baggy clothes that will make certain movements impossible.

You can ascertain over the first few weeks of dance class what clothes are best to wear. Looking at how your instructor dresses for dance classes can also help. For ballet, dancers usually wear leotards. If you are attending a Hip Hop dance class, you probably need to get rid of tighter clothes and wear looser fitting pants. Part of the dance class involves being told how to dress for a specific dance form.

There is not a lot of things that you need to purchase to be able to take dance lessons, however, the type of dance form determines what equipment you will need. Certain dance types require specific types of shoes. Types of sneakers are encouraged to be brought along for other dance forms.

There will be times during dance classes that you will feel some pain in your bones or get a slight bruise or scratch. Always remember to bring along ointment to keep the pain at bay. Along with ointment, bandages are also necessary. As a precautionary measure always bring bandages with you.

Lastly, make sure that you carry a towel and deodorant to every dance lesson. It can get hot and sweaty the more intense the dance lessons are.

Dancing costumes
Different dance forms require you to dress differently. Source: Unsplash

Remember that the reason why you decided to take dance classes is never because you want to be labelled the best dancer but to have fun while dancing.

"There is a price to pay for learning to fly" Tiny Pretty Things. The price to learn how to fly effortlessly as a dancer is not the amount you will spend to enrol and take dance classes, but the amount of time you will devote to becoming a better dancer and perfect your dance skills. The more committed you are to dancing classes, the better a dancer you will become. Always remember you have joined dance classes to become a better dancer for yourself and not for anyone else. You don't need praise and approval as a dancer. The best compliment you will get from dance lessons is your body telling you that it feels great after a class.

So dance and fly and have fun doing it!

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Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.