As a professional Ballroom Dance Instructor, I see people of all ages and abilities that come to me for dance lessons. The one thing they all have in common is their first lesson. Everyone comes in for a first dance lesson and everyone has some sort of nerves associated with the first lesson. I get asked all the time, what do I need to know before I come in for my lesson? My answer is simple, nothing. I have zero expectations for your dance ability when I meet you for the first time. Because I have no expectation, there is no way that you can disappoint me, let me down or embarrass yourself. With that said let’s get into some pointers of what you can expect on your first lesson.
- Appropriate Attire ~ No one likes to be over or under dressed when they go somewhere. When you show up at your Fred Astaire Dance Studio you will see that most everyone is dressed up. The instructors will be looking like Professional Ballroom Dancers. Hair done, makeup done and in a nice outfit. Most teachers will be wearing dance shoes (for women this is generally heels). The student body is generally a little more relaxed but couples that are coming in for a date night are most likely dressed up. Any long time students will most likely be in Dance Practice Wear. No one will judge you if you show up in jeans and sneakers but for the sake of feeling comfortable in your new environment a low heel and slacks or skirt for the ladies is generally appropriate. For guys, a pair of dress shoes and a nice pant will fit in just fine. We stay away from sneakers as they will squeak and stick on the floor as you try to move your feet. Jeans can be constricting and so can ultra high heels. Don’t go totally out of your comfort zone but dress like you’re going out to a nice dinner.
- What Will You Learn ~ The first lesson is going to be more about showing you what dancing is all about. You can expect to learn a basic step to 2 or 3 different dances. You will be shown the studios schedule and if they offer Group Classes or Practice Parties that can help supplement your Private Lessons. Your instructor will show you the difference between the main styles of dance and how to start to recognize which piece of music you would dance each one to. The most important piece of information you will be taught is how fun learning to dance can be. That dancing IS something you can do and it IS something that you can enjoy.
- Wedding Couples ~ When you come in for a first wedding lesson you will want to bring your music that you have chosen. If you have pictures of your dress, shoes and venue those would also be very helpful. Depending on the cut of the dress, the height of the shoes and the layout and size of the ballroom your instructor will make different recommendations for you. What you will be learning will be slightly different than a standard introductory lesson. Your instructor will be showing you a pattern or two and then assessing your rate of learning together with your fiancé. Two people will always learn differently and at a different pace, so your instructor will be deciding how to teach each of you in the most efficient way possible. The big difference in the wedding lesson and the standard first lesson is that you have a deadline, so your instructor will need to come up with a very specific plan to get you to your vision of your first dance in the time you have given them. So, don’t wait until the last minute, if you wait until 2 weeks before the wedding, plan on coming in everyday. A very common misconception is that a simple dance will take no time to learn. However, comfortable and confident takes time. You’re not just coming in to learn where to put your feet, but how to learn to be present together during the most watched part of the most important day of your life. So give yourself the time you need to create a beautiful memory.
- Scheduling your next lesson ~ At the end of your first lesson, you will sit down to discuss with your instructor what you enjoyed the most. Unless you had the worst hour of your life (which by the way is impossible while dancing) your instructor will be looking to make a next appointment with you. Before you come in, take a look at your schedule and have a few times in mind that you would be available. It’s best to keep your lessons close together, especially at the beginning. Think of learning a new language, if too long goes by between lessons you’ll forget a lot of material and have to waste time reviewing. Most studios are open from afternoon to evening, so lunch hours can easily be accommodated and so can after work. If you work close to the studio sometimes a lunch break dance lesson can be the perfect antidote to a bad day. Most studios will also have group classes available so if you can’t get in right after work maybe a group class before your lesson will help to make the one trip more productive.
- Where Can You Use Your New Skills ~ OMG everywhere!! I hear this question all the time and once you get into the very social world of ballroom dancing you will start to see events every weekend. Your studio will most likely have a weekly party, there’s the group classes and of course your private lessons. You will also be invited to banquets and fundraisers on a regular basis. You will be dancing at your own events too! The next wedding or cruise you attend you will be dying to get out there and try out your new moves. If you are ever feeling like you need places to use your dancing, just ask one of the students or teachers in your studio and they should be able to give you a full calendar year worth of dancing (seriously).
- Prepare To Have Your Life Changed ~ The biggest surprise to most new students is how Ballroom Dancing Lessons start to make you feel as a person. You have to experience it for yourself; you can’t just take my word for it. But, Ballroom Dancing changes lives! Increased confidence, better stamina, better overall body image, better sleep, social ease, the social life, new friends, the feeling of accomplishment from learning a new skill, the amazing AHA moment when your body does what your head has been telling it to for 3 weeks. Dancing is amazing in so many ways; even Alzheimer’s and Dementia research have shown huge cognitive benefits from the exercise, and memory and hand eye coordination combined check out this video. What you can expect from your first dance lesson is a changed experience in how you see the world and how it sees you. For more information on starting dance classes click here to visit our website or contact us today.