If you are like me when starting a new hobby, you spend all of your time looking and learning about it. You can spend hours when entering the black hole that is the internet to get caught up on the community, the lingo, and all the do’s and don’ts that come along. If you are starting out your dancing journey, it can seem a little daunting to wrap your head around all things dance related, but here is where I come in 💅. I am here to spill all the secrets about the dance world that you might not get. We’re talking about all things dance community, what to expect from a studio, and so much more! So sit back, relax, grab some popcorn because we are about to spill all the tea 👍🏽.
1. No one knows what they’re doing half the time
In all honesty, no one really knows what they are doing half the time when they are in a dance class (even the pro’s get lost in a routine)! I was once in a ballet class and the teacher told us the exercise we were about to do, everyone looked lost, but we all somehow managed to watch each other, follow along, and survive that exercise. Half of us were doing one thing and the other half something else. Needless to say some classes are a little weirder than others and the best thing you can do for yourself is to watch the person in front of you so you don’t look like a deer in headlights. I say this to say, sometimes it might feel like you are the only one that feels like you are behind, but trust me when I say you are not alone. Pushing through is the best thing you can do and it gives you resilience!
Also don’t make aggressively weird faces when doing the exercises, one time the teacher came up to me and asked if I was struggling; I was, but I said no.. and I think she smelled fear 😳.
2. Finding the right community can be hard, but so worth it
Dance studios are like relationships, sometimes one just doesn’t match with you and that is a-okay! Shopping around for the right studio is totally normal and I actually encourage you to do so. My friend moved to a new city and was looking for a studio. She signed up for the first studio she found and ended up having to pay for a full semester fee. Immediately after the 1st class she knew it wasn’t for her and didn’t know what to do. Don’t be like her, it can be discouraging for you to get back out there and find another studio. So I encourage you to look around before committing. When shopping around, look through all of their social media pages, and their website to get a feel of their environment. Look for studios that have reviews, and testimonials so you don’t feel like you are being catfished! I know this seems tedious, but it’s so worth it when you find the right one and you gain a fantastic group of friends out of it!
3. You don’t need designer labels
I have often been asked if dancers should get designer labels when dancing. I’m not talking Givenchy, or Chanel for clothing, but shoe brands for dancing such as Capezio, Bloch, Freed, or Grishko. While some studios hold a standard for certain shoes, i.e. “all dance students, beginner or not, need to purchase Bloch flats.” I simply don’t care 🙂. You can show up to a ballet class in socks and still perform perfectly as you would in ballet flats. So if a studio tells you, “you need capezio flats when entering our classes, and you can purchase them at our gift shop.” They are selling you merch. If you would still like to purchase shoes for your classes, i.e. for ballet, ballroom, tap etc., they don’t necessarily have to be big brand labels, such as the ones I listed above. Sometimes the ones on amazon work wonders, as long as they are comfortable, fit you properly and they work, you’re fine! If you would like to purchase shoes from Bloch, that’s completely fine too! Just be cautious with what the studio sells you and expects from you. You can get all the merch they offer and feel completely ready, and the class ends up horrible and you feel duped.
4. Listen to yourself
Your gut is there for a reason (besides for medical purposes), your gut tells you everything you need to know when trying something new. If you feel uneasy about the studio, its staff members, or even the community, it is important to keep that in mind. The worst thing you can do is sign up for a full semester and be stuck with it after you find out you don’t like the studio. So listen to yourself, you are your best advocate. A little tip I always tell my friends when shopping for a new studio is go for a trial class, and after your first class talk to another person who attended, ask them if they like the studio and why they joined, if it aligns with your needs then you know you found a contender, also you just made a new friend! Win-win.
5. Diversify your technique
As a dancer, whether beginner or not, diversifying your techniques will be a little hack to learn faster. Training yourself in other forms of dance such as hip hop and ballet will allow you to get connected with your body better, and gain more insight on how to perform better. Trying new techniques will also challenge you mentally and physically. Flexibility, coordination and body awareness will increase your physicality; while concentration, and memory, will help with your mental health. Plus, you will be able to meet new people, hear new music, and enjoy your time outside of work!
6. Believing in yourself is half the battle
It can seem a little daunting when looking at dance videos at 11pm and think wowww that’s wild, how can someone even do that?? However, it is important to keep in mind that the comments you have about your ability, are the same ones that pros have about themselves in big companies. Believing that you can do something is half the battle, and whether you are a pro or a beginner, saying that you can is always your best asset when learning. Remember we all have off days but it is how we learn and grow! You got this!
So that’s the tea… The dance world can be weird, and you will see things you might not have seen before and learn things you might not have anticipated to learn, but at the heart of it, dance is there to help you express yourself through movement and it is so worth it!
See ya out there
The STU Arts Dance Team!