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Five Common Anxieties A New Dancer Can Overcome

Being in the ballroom dance business has taught me a lot about human nature. Why people do what they do, how they handle stressful situations, the reasons why people wait to start dancing, and sadly, the factors that make people stop. It’s this last one I want to address, because a lot of the anxieties that contribute to people stopping, while completely normal, can be remedied. So let’s tackle five of these anxieties head on.

  1. “I’m a newbie”
    • I’m going to start this off by commending anyone who picks up a skill as an adult, because I know it can be frustrating and scary to learn something new. You might be an expert in multiple fields, then you get on the dance floor and you’re anything but.
      The beauty of your situation is that everyone you see on the dance floor was in your exact shoes at one point or another, and I do mean everyone. You are not alone. That anxiety you’re feeling? Think of it as a rite of passage all students have to experience. Get through that part and a world of fun will open up to you. Want proof? Ask the first person you see when you walk into a studio to tell you their story. Not only will you discover how normal your fear is, it’s also a great way to make a new friend.
  2. “Will they like me?”
    • Avoiding rejection is human nature. Will my teacher like me? What about the students? Will they want to dance with me? Be they professionals or students, experienced dancers bring to light any insecurities we may have about our own dancing.  Take heart, because your fear can be put to rest. First of all, your teacher wouldn’t have a job if they didn’t like people, trust me. As for other students, rest assured, as most experienced dancers will say yes to a beginning leader or follower (by the way, it’s perfectly normal for followers to ask leaders to dance). As long as you ask politely and let them know you’re just starting off, you’ll be fine. And as for the two or three steps you just learned, it’s totally cool if you do those at a party. A basic step done well is better than an advanced step done poorly. Just remember to smile 🙂
  3. “My schedule is so busy”
    • A lot of people juggle a busy schedule. I know I do! As a result, some people struggle to make dancing part of their life. I don’t know about you, but I only show up to something if I have an appointment. That’s why you have to plan for dancing. To find time, I recommend scheduling all of your private lessons, group classes, parties, and other dance events in advance. That way you’ll be able to account for all the scheduling hiccups that happen in your life.
  4. “Sorry, I didn’t practice.”
    • Is dance easy? No. Is it rewarding? Absolutely! Just like you have to make time for your dance lessons, you have to make time for practicing as well. Studies have shown that in order to retain something you’ve just learned, weekly practice is necessary to maintain the material and advance your skill. Learning a new skill requires work, which makes practicing essential.
  5. “I’ll restart later”
    • The sad truth about people who say this to me is that only about five percent of them actually restart, and I’m being generous with my guess. Those who do come back tend to get frustrated relearning material they once knew, and are discouraged because they’re not progressing faster. At the end of it all, they wind up leaving feeling they haven’t learned anything.

Moral of the story? Your dance journey is just like driving a car. Would you prefer to drive in start-and-stop rush hour traffic, or cruise down the road at 60 miles per hour? I don’t know about you, but I prefer to watch the landscape fly by. And in order to accelerate your dance abilities in no time flat, make dance a priority in the first couple months, stretching yourself a little bit more each week. I guarantee you’ll reap the rewards.  Starting a new hobby when you’re in grade school is effortless because someone signs you up and you go, no questions asked. Not so when you’re an adult. Making dance a priority, finding time for it, following through, and practicing can all seem like daunting tasks. But know this: showing up is the hardest part. The rest is a matter of making it a routine. And once that happens, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t start sooner. So give yourself permission to be a beginner and you’ll be cruising the dance floor in no time!


Written by: Kelly, New Student Director from Arthur Murray Dance School of Bellevue
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