Tips for preparing for your first dance class, by Kayla Collymore
Walking into a dance class is intimidating for most people, which is why I’m here to convince you to do it anyway.
A new place. New people. Moving your body in peculiar ways. It's human to feel daunted. BUT, a dance class is the perfect recipe for an exhilarating experience with surprising lifelong benefits. Allow me to explain.
I’ve been walking into dance studios for over twenty years and there are still moments when I feel slight reservation… Fear that I will be judged for dancing offbeat…. Afraid of making a mistake… Self-conscious for not having a certain body type…
I have never looked like other dancers in the studio, but dance has taught me to celebrate my body with all of its abilities and limitations. Having to be young, thin, fit and flexible to enjoy dance is an exhausting narrative that we needlessly place on ourselves. Dance is for EVERY body.
When I began dancing at the age of six I was so shy that I would hesitate at the studio door in tears. But, in time, dance brought me out of my shell. It transformed my self-esteem, and to this very day has primed me to enter a room with presence and awareness, and to hold my space with grace.
Not only that, experience has taught me that the other people in the room are far too busy focusing on themselves or are just lost in a darn good boogie.
So, now that I’ve convinced you to dance like no one is watching, here are a few tips on how to get started on your dance journey:
- First, decide on a genre of dance that interests you, from ballet, jazz or salsa, to contemporary, folk, hip-hop or tap and many more.
- Next, search the web or ask around for a local studio and find out how to reserve your place in an upcoming group class. (Luckily, some studios also allow you to participate online, from the comfort of your home!)
- Prior to attending your first class, remember that you have the choice to modify the exercises to your needs. If you have any injuries —be cautious— and inform the instructor at the start of class. Do a bit of research on the length, level and structure of the class you plan on attending, and don’t hesitate to call the studio ahead of time with any questions.
- Most importantly, remember that it doesn’t matter how good you are. Do it purely for enjoyment!
Below are a few more tips on attending your first dance class:
- Arrive about 10 minutes before the start.
- If you like, bring a friend.
- Keep an open mind.
- Wear comfortable / non-restrictive clothing.
- Find out the best shoe type for the genre.
- Bring water.
- Celebrate your body and have a blast!
I just want to encourage anyone who is frustrated or bored with their fitness routine (or wanting to start one) that you can do far more than you think you can. Take a chance and sign up for something that scares you. You’ll never again be as young as you are right now!
As you continue to attend classes, sequences will grow easier with muscle memory, leaving space to focus more on the joy of moving in tandem with the music. Personally, gyms are intimidating for me and grooving to the music has always been my preferred way to stay limber, find a release, socialize and bust a sweat!
If you are interested in a chat or joining me for class, I lead a Wednesday morning adult beginner ballet class from 11:15am-12:30pm at Morningside Dance Academy.
Please feel free to message me with any questions about dance classes in Edinburgh or to sign up for my class, via email at email@example.com or on Instagram @kaycollymore.