Our first dance class! We remember like it was yesterday! It's difficult to know what to expect the first (or few) times. It's like telling a child the stove is hot when they have never felt or understood heat and danger. But don't worry, you won't have to touch the stove to know it's hot. We will give you a general idea about taking dance classes no matter if it's locally in person or classes online.
We would love to say don't be nervous, it's easy and so forth but quite frankly it is normal and expected you will be nervous. And that is okay! In fact, Alvin's first time with some friends he peered into the window and ended up asking them to go get something to eat instead of the class! Helena said no many times to her girlfriend when asked to go. Eventually, we both took lessons and gradually became more comfortable and fell in love with learning. We still take classes to this day!
Our first suggestion is to make sure to arrive early. If you're late it will be easier to back out. If possible, ask the instructors or studio for details in advance such as location of the studio, confirm the time and what to wear. (We will have another article about that soon)
The majority of dance classes are usually 45 to 60 minutes long. Make sure to eat (lightly) and hydrate a little beforehand. Bring a water bottle just in case.
Since Bachata & Salsa dancing are both partner dances you may wonder if you need someone to go with you. Most classes have the students rotate so usually there is no partner needed. That is certainly the case in our classes locally. In fact, it is very beneficial to switch partners. You get the chance to meet new people. Each dancer will "feel" different which helps you get used to truly learning to lead and follow. Sometimes you don't get this benefit when you are used to dancing with someone you know. Of course, if you prefer to stay with who you came with, by all means make that known in advanced to the instructors. Keep in mind many dancers take classes solo. It's a great way to meet new people and expand your social circle!
If you are new to the music of Bachata and Salsa make sure to listen to some music to start getting an "ear" for it and its tempo.
Upon arrival hopefully the staff and/or instructors welcome you and make you feel comfortable. They should initiate but if for some reason they don't (sometimes they are busy checking people in) make it a goal to interact with at least one other person. They are no doubt nervous like you or used to be in your shoes! This will help to ease your nervousness, alleviate theirs and put you both on the path of dance friends.
The instructor may start with a brief introduction, possibly asking each student to do an introduction of themselves so don't be alarmed.
They may give a little history and/or background before starting the steps. Every instructor is different so be open to their teaching style and pay close attention to directions. It is normal to ask questions but also you don't want to talk to others while an explanation is given as it could be exactly what you need to hear!
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! Learning the basic steps of Salsa & Bachata, turns, technique and so forth takes time, practice and consistency. Don't feel like you have finished the first level class so it's time for the next level. There is so much to learn and almost everyone takes the class level over again... many times. We certainly did!
After the class the instructor may allow you to record them doing what they taught. It is poor etiquette to record during the class. You want to be totally invested in the instruction. When you do record make sure not to share the video on social media unless the instructor approves. This is their livelihood and you invested time and money so keep it to review, practice and grow.
Before the time is up you may feel mentally fatigued or have information overload. This is very normal! Anytime you try something new, time and repetition is needed for your mind and body to adjust.
You made it! You completed your very first Latin dance class! Now, do it again! It will get easier and with practice you will get better. And the better you get the more fun you will have. We hope you become addicted to Latin dancing just like us and many others!
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