What to Expect in Dance Class When You Have No Clue How to Dance

Aug 3, 2013 by

Performing in a dance class when you have absolutely no experience dancing can be a bit unnerving.  However, most dance classes for beginners are fairly simple and incredibly fun.  Truthfully, even if you have no clue whatsoever how to dance, you can go in confident that you’ll be able to catch on easily and enjoy yourself.  There are a few common elements to any dance class that you can readily expect and be prepared for, whether you’re simply exploring dance through your school’s PE lesson plans or if you’re actually going through a studio course.

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Image: ranchuku.com

First Things First: Warm Up
The very first thing that you’re likely to experience in any dance class is to warm up.  Basically, most beginning dance classes will start with some basic muscle stretches and movements.  If you’re not a dancer, don’t expect to nail every aspect of the warm-up perfectly, or to be as flexible as your instructor.  Just do the best you can, and relax.  The warm-ups are designed to protect you from injury as you dance. It accustoms your body to movement before actually beginning a long interval of moving with few breaks.

Learning Basic Steps and Choreography
Once you’ve warmed up, the next part of your PE lesson plans or studio experience will likely be to learn some basic steps.  The specific steps you learn will depend largely on the type of dance class you’re taking.  For instance, if you’re in a ballet class, you’ll likely begin with the five positions.  In a tap class, you might explore your basic flaps and ball changes.  Rest assured that you’ll begin with the most basic of movements and practice them profusely before moving on.

Once you’ve mastered the concept of your first basic steps, your instructor will likely begin to teach some simple choreography.  All that means is that you’ll take the basic steps you’ve just learned and combine them into different variations, which will ultimately result in an entire dance.  For instance, in a tap class your instructor may combine the shuffle, flap, ball and change steps so that you tap out the flap-ball-change-shuffle-flap-ball-change.  That’s actual choreography that you’re learning!

Cool Down
Once you’ve done a nice amount of learning steps, and then morphing those into the beginnings of a choreographed dance, it’s time to cool down.  Often, once people begin moving and get into the zone, it is quite difficult to get back out of it.  So, the cooling down part of dance class is more basic exercises and possibly even some breathing techniques to get you back down to earth.  Many people greatly enjoy this part of dance class because it’s so relaxing.

Other Elements Beginning Dancers Might Be Surprised By
Dance can be a whole other world, and you might really feel like you’ve left the planet if you’ve never experienced a dance class before.  Often, music choices are not necessarily from pop culture, although they may be.  Dance improvisation is also sometimes taught, which is more or less making up your own moves as you go.  The key to enjoying the whole experience is to have an open mind and simply allow you to let go.  Expect some surprises, but if you embrace them, you’ll be just fine with your first dance class.

Martha Smith, a former dance teacher, brought you this article. She always recommends before signing up for a dance class that you check out their PE lesson plans.

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