I’m very excited this week to present an amazing post by our guest blogger, none over than the Burlesque Queen herself, Clara Loveny.
Clara Loveny is a producer, choreographer and teacher. With a strong emphasis on story, Clara brings a unique approach to burlesque. From a technical dance background, she values strong foundation dance skills and safe dance practices. Having produced and choreographed shows at FRINGE WORLD, Busselton Fringe and The Blue Room Theatre, she has a broad and discerning taste for what makes burlesque exceptional.
Clara is an exceptional teacher and we are so proud to have her here at The Dance Workshop. Her ability to bring the best out of our Adult Beginners is astounding and I’m thrilled that she is sharing her thoughts and tips on starting your first dance class.
STARTING YOUR FIRST DANCE CLASS
BY CLARA LOVENY
Coming to your first dance class can be daunting. Leaning something new is a big step and it is totally normal to feel a little overwhelmed in your first few classes. It is important to remember that everyone started at the beginning and once felt the same as you are feeling right now.
The Dance Workshop has many classes suitable for new dancers and we pride ourselves on being a safe and supportive environment for beginners. If you have just started classes, or are considering starting soon, here are some important things to think about when the nerves start to feel too much.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Learning something new can be an uncomfortable experience – especially when it is something as physical as dance. In class, you may have to move in ways you never have before; this is what makes dance beautiful! Your body might kick up a fight when you are using or stretching muscles you never knew you had and you will certainly feel a bit sore the next day. Dance is a sport as well as an art form which means you’ll have to work hard while you are in class. Be thankful though, because this means your body is getting stronger every class you do!
It’s okay not to be great
Learning something new means going back to the beginning. No one is the same, and no one is perfect the first time. When you start a new class, it is important to leave your ego at the door. As we get older, we find it harder and harder to be “not good” at things. We want to be experts and we don’t like to be “wrong”. However, when you are new to learning dance … you aren’t going to be an expert. In fact, you will never be an expert! Dance is an ongoing practice and you will always be reaching for new skills. So, when you come to a new class, prepare to feel a bit silly at times and know that you might not immediately master every move. Remember, everyone started where you are. Don’t talk yourself out of coming back because you feel self-conscious!
No one is watching you (except the teacher)
It can be very overwhelming when you first start out at dance. You have a lot of new information thrown at you and you might feel like everyone is looking at you. This is not true. NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOU. Honestly. Really. Everyone else is caught up in their own bubble worrying about themselves, they don’t even think to check out what you’re doing. The only person who will be looking at you is the teacher … because that’s their job! Your teacher is there to give you support and feedback.
You won’t get better if you don’t do it
You won’t learn if you don’t do. Of course, this means actually coming to class but it also means participating when you are there. Keep moving, keep going. Even if you stuff up. Deciding to ‘sit one out’ because it looks hard, doesn’t help you improve. Give it a go! So what if you get it completely wrong? At least you tried … and you might surprise yourself. Each attempt should be a small improvement. You aren’t going to suddenly become a master dancer. You are going to get a little bit better each and every time you dance. That’s only going to happen if you get moving!
Find the joy!
You have to love it! Dance is an art form so it is best to experience it from a place of passion and love. Try to be mindful when you are in class. Be present to the teacher, listen to the music and really feel each movement as you do it – even if it feels a bit weird. Enjoy every class, and be grateful for the things you learn. Our bodies can do amazing things, even if they’re a bit broken and sore. Recognise every success and embrace the joyfulness of dance!