How to get the most from your lessons

As dance instructors, we work tirelessly to give our students the best learning experience possible. However, there are a few things that are out of our control, so we gathered a list of the 9 most important things our students can bring to the table to make their learning process the best it can be.

1) Set Goals with Your Instructor
When meeting with your instructor for the first time, it is important to formulate clear, challenging and attainable goals. As you proceed through the learning process, don’t hesitate to reassess your direction. Learning to dance is a process, and your goals may change at different points in your journey.

2) Start Early
When preparing for an event such as a wedding, start the process of learning to dance early. Because the brain and body process new habits and information over time, learning a new skill can take weeks, months or even years! To ensure a sense of confidence and success, give yourself ample time to prepare.

3) Practice
They say practice makes perfect, and they’re right!  Not only does practice reinforce the skills you learn during your lessons, but also allows you to think less and have more fun out on the floor. When learning to dance, repetition is the only route to building muscle memory. If you do not have a partner to practice with, ask your instructor for steps and techniques to work on solo.

4) Don’t Go Hungry
You wouldn’t go to the gym on a full or empty stomach, right? Dance is a form of exercise, both mental and physical, so have a small snack before your lesson. Eating lightly will keep you alert and energized through the full hour, and you’ll feel much more accomplished at the end.

5) Wear the Right Shoes
At every lesson, be sure to wear comfortable suede or leather-soled shoes with a supportive arch. Ballroom, swing and Latin dances require you to slide, spin and maneuver lightly on your feet. Rubber soles just won’t cut it. You can find ballroom dance shoes in Chicago at Chicago Dance Supply or simply order online.

6) Take Notes
Students who take notes after each lesson spend more time progressing to new techniques and steps during their lessons and less time repeating what they already learned. Create a notebook for dance, and write down as much as you can recall after each lesson. We recommend reviewing your notes right before your next lesson to keep everything fresh.

7) Dance With a Variety of Partners
Every dancer connects and moves differently, so it’s important to experience a variety of dancers to truly hone your leading and following skills. Try taking lessons with all the BDC instructors and join us for our monthly BYOB dance parties.

8) Take Lessons Regularly
Learning to dance is a lifelong process. Though the skills you learn in your dance lessons will never completely disappear, it is crucial to keep them fresh and to continue building your dance vocabulary. Creating a regular schedule of dance lessons will not only help you stick to your goals, but will also reinforce the techniques you’ve worked so hard on in the past.

9) Leave Your Troubles at the Door and Just Have Fun!
Sometimes leaving daily stress behind can be the hardest thing to do, but when learning something new, starting with a clear mind is always the best way to ensure success. Coming in to each lesson with a positive attitude truly leads to a happier, healthier learning experience.

Do you have any other suggestions? Post below!