Recently a number of new people joined our class. Watching one couple learn was particularly interesting because their experiences of the same class seemed to differ greatly. One of them was smiling throughout whereas the other appeared frustrated with footwork and getting it right. When I asked them how they had found the class their responses reflected this observation.
Learning to dance, particularly an informal swing dance is not an academic subject. It involves both motor skills and muscles. If we are stressed about anything, we’re actually inhibiting our ability to get it right. What is right anyway? When we are new to dancing we have a limited amount of information about the skill set needed. If we over think we’re actually only considering a small amount of information and so perhaps analysis should come later… we’ve all heard of “Analysis Paralysis”.
My recommendation for anyone that’s new to dancing is to just enjoy it. Things don’t always go to plan. Allow yourself to make mistakes. If you want to walk backwards but go forward instead it’s not the end of the world, your body will adjust and next time you can move in the direction you intended. You’re not training to be a brain surgeon or an engineer (well . . . not whilst dancing anyway!) so there’s no major consequence, you’re just learning to dance. Have a go, trust yourself that it’s fine, trust that no one else is watching or judging and trust that your teacher will help you.
So is learning to dance difficult? No. Our ability to interfere with our own learning is what makes it difficult. Learning to dance will change your whole approach to trying new things. It’s about relaxing and not making it harder for yourself by trying to hard. Dancing is either unfamiliar or familiar and to make any skill familiar you need experience. So, keep coming to class, relax and just enjoy it! Before you know it, you’ll be dancing.