Some people simply freak out at the thought of dancing. Whether it’s at a wedding, or at a bar, or even at their first dance class, some people are so overwhelmed at the feeling of being humiliated and shamed that they cringe and cave inward, and either hide wherever they can or walk away.
If you are one of those people, fear not – help is on the way. James Joseph, author of Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing, says plain and simple, “It doesn’t have to be that way. Dancing can transform someone who thinks they are doomed for life into a winner who is as popular and sought after wherever they go.”
“You can break through your fear barriers, if before you even step on the floor, you get some really straight forward attitude adjustment,” he says. “It’s a crucial action once done, you are free to enjoy the pleasures that can be found.”
Men – dance is the only activity where you can go up to beautiful women one right after the other, spend three minutes touching them artfully all over their body, and each one will thank you for it afterwards.
Jim offers beginners ten tips to get them over the chasm of early doubt:
Understand the music. Learn how to count the beats of music to identify the musical structure. Focus on the music you love. It makes it so much easier.
Take Lessons. A good teacher will demonstrate the elements of music and dance that defy words and will tell you when you are doing something right and wrong. If you need to, take the beginners class a second time before moving on to a harder class so you really get the basics down.
Focus on rhythm patterns, not direction of movement. Learn to understand when to step. It is far more important than where to step.
Focus on technique, not learning more step patterns. The step pattern is the fancy moves you make when you move on the floor. Technique is what you look like and feel like when you do it. Make what you do look really good before you make it complicated.
Get out and dance. Time on the floor dancing is the only thing that will make you better. Get out and dance! With great classes, great music and enjoyable people, it’s fun and it’s easy.
Dance with a variety of partners. Dancing with one person risks the creation of bad habits. Having to dance with a variety of partners is a basic dance skill. It removes the stress of dancing and is a good way to build confidence and skill.
Dance Up – which means that you ask better dancers to dance with you. When you work with someone more skilled than you, suddenly the difficult things will start to work.
Recover seamlessly from missteps. Handling mistakes is tough. Lighten up, smile, take the next step. Some of your best accidents will produce the most interesting results and improvements you will ever make. As Ms Frizzle says, “Go ahead. Make mistakes!”
Watch great dancers! Some of the best dancers in the world are on TV week after week. Watch the dancers and learn from the best. Men – if you get hooked on dancing, you’ll stop gazing at the women and start studying the men – to steal their moves!
Learn manners. Be a gentle and polite dancer and you’ll have lots of happy willing partners. It’s hard to dance with someone who lacks sensitivity of their partner. It’s OK to be a little klutzy. It’s not OK to be rude or arrogant. Be warm and friendly with all eye contact. Treat everyone with respect.
Finally, Jim says, that you will learn to dance the best if you dance to the music you love. Big-band, blues, disco, Latin, salsa, waltz, soul, rock ‘n roll, cha-cha, hip-hop, country, or western top 40. Take your pick. Do what you love.