Monday, May 24, 2010

“I can’t dance.” Part one.

For the majority of my dance career as an instructor I was often the first person that most people would see coming into the dance studio for their first lesson, most of the time the prospect of their first dance lesson would be met with a mixture of excitement, anxiety and outright fear. I don’t know how often I’ve heard the statements “I have no rhythm” or “I have two left feet” or even “dancing just isn’t in my blood”, and all too many times I have regretfully seen able bodied people walk out, frustrated with themselves and never returning to realize their dance goals.

In my next few entries I will be offering advice for those of you who are a little apprehensive to start or have tried dancing before but to no avail.

So, here are a few tips on what may have held you back and on what can move you forward.

  • “I have no natural talent”… Well, neither do I and for that matter, neither do most people. Dancing is a skill, one that has to be learned. While there are certain factors that will help or hinder your learning curve i.e. Age, background, and physical ability. There isn’t a dancer in the world that will tell you that they got it on the first try and even if and when they got it, they wouldn’t have been able to keep it unless they had practiced. Every dancer will also have a story about something that just didn’t “click” at first, and after some period of frustration they finally got it. I will tell you this though, when something does finally “click” it feels just like the planets aligned, the heavens opened and angels kissed your feet, I may be a little biased in saying so, but to me, there’s no feeling like it.
  • “Dancing isn’t in my blood”… In American culture, dancing has had its ups and downs. Most recently coming to the forefront with shows like, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance. But, for many cultures dancing is an integral part of daily life and many people from these cultures have been dancing since childhood. There is, however, no “dance gene” and nobody has a biological right to dancing more than anybody else. If you haven’t been dancing since childhood, not to worry, you can start now no matter how old or young you are.
  • “I have no rhythm”… Quite simply, false. You walk in rhythm, your heart beats in rhythm (and if it doesn’t you may need to see a doctor) you breathe in rhythm, you tap your toes on the floor, tap your fingers on the desk, nod your head and sway back and forth when you’re impatient. These are all rhythmic movements; the difficulty may lie in putting this rhythm to music or doing it with an unfamiliar movement. If you have trouble finding the beat in the music I suggest listening to it more; on the way to work, turn off the talk radio and blast some tunes and while you do try tapping out the beat with your fingers or toes.

I hope some of this helps, and at the very least relieve some of your anxiety on whether or not you will be able to learn to dance.

Please check back for further suggestions on getting started and more importantly on continuing to reach your dance goals.

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Thank you
Robert Rodgers

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