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THE KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL DANCING
Some people are "Born" dancers. They have excellent balance and are light on their feet; They move easily and gracefully through the patterns; they have an instinctive sense of rhythm and timing. They are a joy to watch, and they make dancing look so simple!
The rest of us struggle with our balance, can't hear or can't feel the rhythm, have trouble turning, feel self-conscious and awkward, have a fear of looking foolish or failing to earn the moves, and sometimes get so discouraged that we think we will never get it right!
I was just such a dancer when I first started. And I was intimidated by the good dancers, moving so easily, who made me look dim-witted and clutzy by comparison. As a result, I put extra pressure on myself -"I should be learning the moves quicker, why am I so slow?!?"
If you have ever felt this way, don't give up hope!
Not everyone is a "born" dancer; but it is a skill everyone can learn. What is needed are interest, time, money, determination and patience. Interest is the first requirement. If you aren't interested in learning to dance, even if you possess the other 4 ingredients, there is no point in pursuing the issue.
Time is probably the most limiting factor, because everyone these days has so many demands starting with work, adding the running of your household, plus any leisure and social obligations. If you really want to improve your dancing, you need to set aside a certain block of time on a regular basis. It doesn't need to be a big chunk of time, but high frequency is crucial for best results. Twice a week for half an hour is more beneficial than once a week for 1 hour. Don't forget to budget some practice time, too. Spending all your time in class without going out to dance will limit your enjoyment and slow your rate of progress.
Money is necessary because, in order to progress with any degree of consistency, dance lessons are the most effective path. However, you can usually find lessons within your price range if you search far enough, and if you compare it to other leisure activities we think you will agree that dancing is quite inexpensive, plus the benefits last a lifetime.
Some people buy books or video tapes that supposedly teach you to dance, but I shy away from this practice. The best video tapes in the world cannot teach you what a move supposed to feel like, or to how execute a lead properly, or how to "time" the moves. They can come close, but there truly is no substitute for classroom instruction and practice, or for dancing with a variety of partners.
Also, video tapes do not allow for interaction with a instructor -- you can also ask questions, and the instructor can not watch you to asses your progress. Lastly, what do you know about the video instructor? Can you trust that you are getting valid information? With a "live" instructor you can watch their other students to evaluate their teaching ability and there usefulness or "do-able-ness" of there moves; you cannot do this with a video or a book
Determination: here is where we separate the true dancers from the "wannabees". You may be interested in learning to dance , and you have the time and the money for the lessons; but just how interested are you? Will you quit after the first difficult move, or will you keep at it until you master it fully? This includes being open-minded about doing things different ways, and being willing to accept instructions. Patience is the final factor. We'd all like to see instantaneous results. Sometimes it is hard to remember that nothing worthwhile ever came quickly or easily; if it did, would it be that valuable to us? Realise that it will take time to reach a certain level of proficiency. Have a sense of humour: don't take it to seriously if it seems like you are stuck on a move; listen to the instructor, maybe go on to a different move and come back to this one later; and be patient. As that well-known Chinese dance instructor, Confucius, once said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step ... left foot for the men, right foot for the ladies." So take it one step at the time, don't hurry, and enjoy the view along your journey!
Lessons can point the way, helping you to acquire those skills you may not have developed fully. They give information for the analytical sides of our brains. Then comes the most important element: PRACTICE. Practice the moves the way your instructor taught you; go aver them in you mind if you can't get to a dance floor. Count (to yourself) the beats or the steps if you need to. Practice with different partners to be sure you have grasped the critical part of the move. Eventually the day will come when you do not need to count, you do not need your teacher -- you will simply "feel" the moves and they will be there! Dancing will have moved from the analytical side of your brain to the intuitive side. I cannot tell when this will occur, because it happens at different rates of speed for different people. The one thing I can assure you is that the people who practice frequently, going over and over the moves they know, that intuitive level sooner, and dancing quickly becomes a constant source of pleasure for them.