Tips on how to dance
The Ultimate Beginner Dance Guide
Do you want to be a good dancer? Well, you've come to the right place.
STEEZY has organized this guide to being a good dancer into 16 steps:
- Get inspired
- Warm up and stretch
- Study music
- Learn basics and grooves
- Take dance classes
- Train technique and execution
- Learn to dance with feeling
- Explore through freestyle
- Create choreography
- Find what makes you unique
- Stay growth-minded
- Kill it on stage
- Become a leader
- Collaborate with others
- Share your work
- Take care of your body
Keep reading to see how you can become a good dancer – starting today.
P.S. Ready to start dancing now – like RIGHT NOW? Head on over to STEEZY Studio: the best place to take dance classes online.
We have a 10-day "Intro to Dance" program that's designed to get you moving and grooving, step-by-step, so you can get down in any social setting and lay the foundation for any other type of dancing you wanna do.
Click here to take the first four days for free!1. Get inspired
Whether it's your first week or 10th year of dancing, the key to being a good dancer is wanting to be a good dancer. Remind yourself why you think dancing is fun or cool in the first place!
This "why" is gonna keep you going in the times you feel defeated or lazy.
Feed your inspiration by watching dance videos, talking to your dance friends, going to dance shows – whatever makes you feel that spark again.2. Warm up and stretch
Before you start dancing, you need to make sure your body is ready for it! Because trying to dance when your body’s cold and stiff is no fun.
Pulling a muscle and sitting out is even less fun. And getting seriously injured is no fun at all.
Warming up and stretching before you dance will help you move with wider range of motion and more control, and help prevent injuries.
Follow these diagrams for an easy, quick daily stretch routine: Do These Stretches To Help You Dance Better (And Stay Injury-Free!)
And watch this video on how dancers should and shouldn't stretch:3. Study music
Training your body is just one part of becoming a good dancer. Studying music will to give you a much, MUCH better understanding of how dance to it.
Dance is, after all, your body becoming a physical representation of the way that music sounds. Those dancers that you watch that somehow become the music?
They do this by first understanding the sounds mentally. Read this to study dance musicality: What Is Dance Musicality?
And watch this video to learn how to count like a dancer:4. Learn basics and grooves
Narrow down the styles you want to learn, and focus on the foundational movements of that style. Something that all dance styles have in common is a groove.
You probably groove all the time already! Do you bob your head while listening to music in the car? Do you go to the club and sway side to side to the beat?
Those are all grooves! Of course, there are so many different grooves – some have official names and techniques that you can learn.
Bianca Vallar teaches tons of easy Hip-Hop-influenced grooves in her "Intro to Dance" program on STEEZY Studio.
Practicing grooves and getting comfortable with how your body moves will make you look better dancing in class, at a performance, anywhere.
Carlo Darang talks about grooving and loosening up:
5. Take dance classes
Taking classes at a studio is a great way to learn choreography, practice performing, and meet new dancer friends! Not sure how to find one?
Use this guide for How To Take a Dance Class.
And if you're not quite ready to head to an IRL dance studio, try taking online dance classes, right at home.
In this video, professional dancer Alexander Chung shows you how to do just that:
6. Train technique and execution
Techniques and foundation are the ABC's of all movements.
Drilling techniques will ingrain that movement into your muscle memory, so you can just do those without thinking.
For example, doing Popping exercises will train your control, power, and understanding of your muscle groups.
Learning House steps will make you more comfortable with your footwork.
Ballet can train, well, pretty much every part of your body.
Whatever the style, focus on the elementary techniques first using this easy-to-follow training method:7. Learn to move with feeling
Executing movement the way you want has a lot of different parts.
There are the technical parts (which you'll master through learning the basics of a dance style and taking lots of classes) and the artistic parts (which you'll learn by connecting to the music and finding ways to convey the feeling of a sound).
While it's important to start your dance training by learning the more technical building blocks that you'll need to move your body in a way that looks cool, confident, and relaxed, the next phase of your training should be focused on becoming THAT dancer –
The person who walks onto the dance floor or stage and makes EVERYONE think: wow, they don't dance to the music. They become the music.
To do this, you'll need to learn all about texture, which is how dancers describe how sounds feel.
For example, the sound of a cymbal being struck might feel sharp and sudden.
Or the sound of a bass note might feel intense and deep, like a boom that reverberates through your chest.
So when you hear a cymbal you might dance sharp and fast.
When you hear a bass, you might use heavy, grounded movements.
Learn more about texture in this video!8. Explore through freestyle dancing
Freestyling is a great way to practice your fundamentals, get in touch with the music, and to explore the ways your body wants to move.
Here's a more comprehensive guide on freestyling: How To Freestyle Dance
If you feel insecure about your freestyling, then watch this video:
9. Create choreography
Making choreography is a great way to challenge yourself as a dancer.
You'll be pushed to come up with creative new moves, freestyle, and pay attention to music in ways you never did before.
Never made a piece before? We got you: How To Choreograph A Dance In 6 Simple Steps
Watch this video when you get stuck:10. Find what makes you unique
The most captivating dancers are the ones who have found their own voice and learned to use it.
Think about your music tastes, develop your natural groove, embrace those weird poses your body comes up with.
Your unique style won’t just make you a better dancer, it’ll make you the best dancer you can be.11. Stay growth-minded
Don't pigeon-hole yourself into a "type" of dancer. Let yourself explore all different kinds of dance, let yourself fail, let yourself keep striving for growth.
Read tips on becoming growth-focused! 5 Ways Your MINDSET Is Holding You Back As A Dancer (And How To Change It!)
If you’re constantly growing, even in baby steps, you’ll soon be at a level you never thought possible.
So keep growing, keep changing, keep evolving – one day at a time.
Scared of judgement from others? Watch this video:12. Kill it on stage
Dance is a performance art – so being a great dancer means that you know how to kill it on stage.
The next time you're at a show or competition, or filming a video, bring out your best performance.
Try these tips: 7 Easy Ways To Kill It On Stage
Make sure all eyes are on you.
Read: How To Dance Bigger, Stronger, And More Full Out13. Become a leader
If you want a push yourself even further, then consider being a captain or director of your dance team.
Not only will being a leader teach you management and communication skills, it's an opportunity to give back to a team and community that gives you so many opportunities.
It all starts with the 'why.'
Write your team's mission statement the help of the pioneers: Dance Leadership Tools From Arnel Calvario And Anna Sarao14. Collaborate with others
We’re blessed to be surrounded by talented, passionate, like-minded individuals in our community.
Share the love by collaborating with other dancers – this can mean working together to create a piece, host a workshop, whatever!
Tips on joint choreography creation! How To Collab With Someone To Make A Piece15. Share your work
It's not about the video. But if you worked hard on a piece or enjoyed teaching a class, do share! Your work can inspire someone else, and push you to create better.16. Take care of your body!
Though our bodies are the very tool we use for dance, many of us neglect it.
A healthy, nourished, hydrated body will perform much better than a weak, stiff, dehydrated one in any dance setting.
Be a good dancer by keeping your body in optimal, dance-ready condition.
Do these things to be in tip-top shape: How To Take Care Of Your Body As A Dancer
Being a good dancer is a journey that looks different for everyone. Take the tips you need in yours to make your growth more focused and efficient!
We hope this helped you understand how to be a good dancer.
Learning to Dance: Eight confidence tips for total beginners
So many of us make it one of our goals to learn how to dance one day, but how many of us actually push ourselves to go to our first dreaded dance class? Here are eight things that I wish I had known as a total beginner and that might convince you to set aside your fears and dance:
- You don’t need to wait for anyone to “sign up”
Sometimes the fear of going alone means that we wait to go to a dance class with a friend, then use it as an excuse not to go if they keep putting it off. Or maybe we think that we have to “do it properly” and sign up for a long-term dance course when actually most classes are on a “join anytime” and weekly basis. If anything, dance classes are a great activity to do alone, which will help you build more confidence, willpower, make new friends and even discover a new sense of community.
- You won’t look stupid
Moving your body in front of other people, especially when you lack confidence, can be terrifying, bringing out some of our worst insecurities. We think that our awkwardness and lack of rhythm will make us look stupid. But it’s more likely that you won’t be the only one and that you’ll find other beginners just like you. What many people don’t realize at first is that most classes are split into various levels, including for absolute beginners who have never danced before in their lives. A friend of mine refused to join me at a beginner’s tango class saying that she had “two left feet”. Eventually, I convinced her to do the first half an hour and that if she hated it, she could leave. She ended up staying for the entire class and loved it. If you can put one foot in front of the other, then you can learn how to dance as a beginner.
- Feel the rhythm
The fundamental part of dancing as a beginner is to understand the rhythm so that our steps fall on the right beat – regardless of the dance style. It took me months before I finally got it, but once you do, it becomes a breakthrough. There are two ways that you can work on this: one is to repeat the most basic step hundreds of times to music until you find synergy, and the second is to listen to the music of the dance style you want to learn when you are not dancing. The more you listen, the more you will make the difference between the different instruments, patterns of percussion, which will eventually become a map for your feet.
- Posture is everything
Before any steps, moves or flashy figures, your posture comes first. I hunched for the first three months of learning to dance through my Bailando Journey. It was partly from bad posture, but also from low confidence. The taller you stand, roll back your shoulders and look up, the more drastic a difference it makes as to how you look, even when performing the most basic dance steps as an amateur. In some dances, we have a tendency to bounce as we shift from one foot to another. A great way to deal with this is to find a fixed point to focus on. In my case, this was the lion’s frown in between my salsa teacher’s eyebrows, something that he called “maintaining a visual line”. Posture and poise can vary slightly for each dance. For example in salsa, flexing your knees more and lifting your feet will help to better define the movement, whereas in tango, you keep your legs straight and feet close to the ground.
- Your brain is working
People are surprised at just how hard dancing can actually be, and for complete beginners, even the most basic steps can be too complex to understand. This is completely normal. It’s because these movements are so foreign to the mind and body that they seem impossible. But it means that your brain is working. Dancing stimulates the same part of the brain as complex puzzles and learning a foreign language. The brain is a muscle, and it takes time for muscle memory to understand how the body is moving to gradually internalize new movements so they eventually become natural.
- It’s good to make mistakes
You often have to keep getting it wrong until you eventually get it right. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to dance. Instead of seeing mistakes and failures as setbacks, see them as a learning process that you need to go through. Professional dancers often tell me that the key is to always smile. Who are you most likely to notice in a performance? Someone who dances perfectly but jumps and looks startled at the slightest error, or someone who makes an obvious mistake but stays calm and keeps a radiant smile? The truth is we rarely notice the mistakes of the second one.
- Patience is an art
For all of this to happen, of course, you need patience. I’ve seen some people show up to their first beginner’s class and get frustrated after half an hour that they can’t follow the most basic steps. But that’s not how it works. Learning new steps is a reward that comes from patience and practice. Nobody can become a dance star overnight. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, persevere through your mistakes, stay positive and enjoy it, then you will be able to dance.
- Perfection doesn’t exist
I’m not a big believer in natural talent, and even though some learn faster than others, nobody is ever completely satisfied with the way that they dance. Even some of the top professional dancers are able to look at videos of themselves and point out all the mistakes or weaknesses in their performance (many of which are actually invisible to the public). The beauty of learning to dance is that the potential for you to learn and improve is endless. Dancing is a hobby and a skill that you can keep crafting for life. There are no (dance) steps back.
7 tips for those who want to learn how to dance
September 9, 2020Reno5Life
Dancing is a great way to make friends with your body and gain self-confidence. And yes, they can be mastered at any age.
1. Choose your style
The idea here is the same as with sports: if you secretly hate yoga or iron exercises, you are unlikely to go to workouts week after week. To achieve noticeable progress in dancing, a beginner will have to practice a lot and regularly, so it’s better not to torture yourself and choose a direction that really ignites.
You can focus on the music that you like - you need to catch the drive from movements to it. It is music that forms the style of dance and its energy, so decide what is closer to you: for example, funk lovers should try popping or locking, folk fans may like Irish dancing, and if you respect jazz, swing and everything like that, take a closer look at lindy hop.
Another criterion is the nature of the movements. Some are closer to dynamic, as in hip-hop, others are smooth and sensual - for this in tango. There are also health restrictions to consider. So, twerk is not suitable if there are problems with the lumbar spine, with sore knees it is better not to get involved in shuffle, and it will be difficult for an aged person to master house.
2. Set a goalPhoto: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
You can start dancing at any age, but it's important to keep in mind why you started it in the first place. It is perhaps too bold to expect that in half a year of classes it will be possible to reach the level of international dance championships from scratch. But if you want to try dancing in order to develop plasticity and learn to feel the body better, great, go ahead.
Don't expect everything to work out the first time. When you learn from scratch, difficulties are absolutely normal, the main thing is not to score in classes. Over time, both the correct posture and a beautiful gait will be developed, and as a bonus you will also get self-confidence - with freedom of movement, freedom from complexes will come.
3. Don't forget about sports
Some dances in themselves make for a good workout. A vigorous shuffle will replace cardio, and a break can give a load to almost all muscle groups. And yet, without preparation, it will not be easy. A more or less good stretch is needed in any type of dance, and, for example, strong arms and strong abdominal and back muscles are also useful for pole dancing. You can combine dancing with strength exercises, but you need to give the body time to recover and not plan classes in a row, but allocate at least a day of rest between them.
And don't forget to warm up before dancing. So that the training does not end with an injury, the muscles and joints need to be prepared for the load. You can allocate 10–15 minutes for a warm-up, it should include simple articular gymnastics (at least elementary rotational movements of the shoulders and knees), tilts and dynamic stretching.
4. Take some lessons from a trainer
Especially if you have never danced before. Those with experience can learn new styles at home with video tutorials, but that's because they already know how to control their bodies. Beginners are unlikely to succeed, but disappointment in themselves and demotivation are guaranteed - if you can’t repeat elementary movements, then there’s no point in doing it.
Nothing really strange here. Without preparation, it is difficult to just take it and start moving freely. At least the basic elements are better to master under the guidance of a pro, and when you feel that you are coping, supplement these lessons with home workouts.
5. Learn something new in every class
When you repeat the same set of exercises and movements over and over again, classes turn into a good way to pass your free time, only you can forget about progress. Acquaintance with new elements is the same mandatory part of any workout as a warm-up. It doesn't matter if you work with a mentor or on your own.
Do not immediately try to copy cool dancers. First, study the basic movements, then try to combine them into bundles until you hone them to automatism, and then experiment and improvise, creating something new based on familiar elements.
6. Record yourself on video
You don't need to record the whole workout from the warm-up on, it's enough to record only those moments with which you have problems. These can be separate movements or bundles that are not given in any way. Review the video and, if possible, objectively assess what is wrong: perhaps there are technical problems that are difficult to notice in the process. When you understand what's wrong, try to repeat the movement and record it on video again - and so on until you achieve a good result.
This approach will help you find errors and track progress. You can not even limit yourself to memorized ligaments, but improvise - then see how it looks from the outside.
7. Find like-minded peoplePhoto: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
If you need an extra reason not to miss classes, then meeting new people can be a good motivation. It is easier here for those who train in a group. Often the dance school becomes the center of a close-knit community, where people come not only for the sake of classes, but also just to spend time together at dance parties.
Finally, the more partners around, the more experience. Do not limit yourself to dancers of your level of training and practice with those who are stronger or weaker than you. In the first case, you will be able to improve your skills, and in the second, you will try yourself as a coach - this, by the way, is a good way to learn to take more initiative and understand the very principle of movement in dance, and not just memorize the alternation of chords.
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Read also 🧐
- How to learn how to dance the shuffle
- How to learn street dancing without leaving your home
- Zumba is a fun way to lose weight for those who love dancing
12 Life hacks to quickly learn how to dance from Mamita Dance
Author: Pavel Collect
Psychologist, Teacher of Salsa and Tango
Author: Pavel Pavel Pavel Pavel Psychologist, Teacher of Salsa and Tango
At the start, you always want to get a quick result. When it doesn't happen, the hypothesis arises that everything takes time. After a conditionally acceptable time, humility comes to mastering pair dances, which, perhaps, is not given, and I will just do what I learned somehow.
This is the most common story of those who believe that the mere act of attending a pair dance class is enough to learn how to dance.
Absolutely not. If you want to really dance well, you have to make an effort outside of the dance class. A good teacher will definitely be needed, but the initiative should be on your side.
1. Listen to music
The most common and accessible advice that is given already in the first lessons. And it definitely works. Music creates a certain atmosphere of the dance and intuitively you want to move to it. It doesn't matter where you listen to music - in the car, on headphones while walking or doing household chores.
An addition that will help you dance better is your active participation in the music. Sing along, dance or simply beat musical accents with any free parts of the body. In the subway, for example, it is enough to tap out bright moments with your fingers, in the car to sing along with sounds, and at home you can jump for pleasure.
2. Watch videos of good dancers
It's complicated, but also obvious. It’s more difficult, because without recommendations from more experienced dancers, unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find a good quality video on the net (I mean not the resolution quality, but the content itself).
Meaningful video viewing is about building an understanding of HOW dancers make a particular impression on a partner or viewer. Technology is at the heart of everything. Understanding how the pros do it is a big step forward.
It is important to distinguish a show from a disco dance, a staged performance from an improvisation, a stylized dance from an authentic one, etc. Ask for recommendations and dance teachers will always throw off a couple of videos of worthy landmarks.
Tango Z. Showreel.
Online modern tango courses
Tango nuevo is the most advanced version of tango. We can quickly learn to dance from zero to a steep level.
3. Dance in salsatecas/milongas/discotheques
A very delicate moment when it is worth coming to the first party. From a technical point of view, most students in 1-3 months have a sufficient set of figures and techniques to come and dance calmly. Psychologically, the same moment can be stretched out for an indefinite time. After all, it is imperative to “not lose face”, “learn more figures” and be sure what to do in case “there is an unfamiliar movement”.
In fact, the partygoers don't really care (except for a small layer of non-professional teachers who want to help inexperienced dancers by treating them as customers in the future). It is important to come and try dancing after a month of classes. You can only with friends or guys from your group. This will be enough to feel the adrenaline and inspiration from the dance.
4. Dance with partners or partners not of your level
The conventional wisdom that you need to practice in groups of your level does not stand up to the test of experience. Perhaps now your eyes widened in surprise, and you want to meaningfully read the phrase again. Yes, you saw everything correctly: when you dance with a partner of your level, you don’t grow anywhere.
It's important to understand that not only does it work one way and you have to dance with cooler dancers, but it works even more effectively the other way. It is no coincidence that teaching pair dances dramatically raises the level of the teacher himself. You have an endless stream of very beginner dancers.
How it works. A more experienced partner needs to be "stretched". It's easy and obvious. With beginners, you need to take more initiative on yourself, see the general pattern of the dance more widely, turn on and insure more, try to be an example and be more careful. The quality of interaction begins to grow significantly. And wonderful partners too.
Dancing with partners of your level doesn't make you grow. Dance with both beginners and more advanced dancers
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5. Learn to dance for a partner and for a partner
Turks and Argentines are one of the best partners in the world. In Russia, partners are highly valued. Why? The answer is simple. In Argentina and Turkey, it is not questionable for men to ask another man to lead in one piece or another and give feedback on the quality of the lead. For them, it will be a great shame to hear moralizing from a partner, or even more so to be known in the community as an insecure partner.
In Russia, due to the constant, often far-fetched, opinion that there are more women in pair dances, partners calmly get up and study their partner's part. Such partners then grow into very cool dancers and teachers. In no case do this at parties, only in class. Here we are talking only about the learning strategy. At parties, be yourself.
6. Do not memorize links
Always try to look deeper and understand the through principle and idea of movement. Understanding what and how is done will make it possible to independently generate any sequences and chips.
Human memory is limited and there will always be a moment when something will escape and your repertoire will be limited by the size of RAM.
In Argentine tango, for example, there are seven levels of movement construction that, when mastered, will allow you to make millions of combinations. And how many dance sequences can you really remember? In rueda, more than 150 figures dance in a rare circle. It's hard to keep more in mind.
7. Develop your body
Many years of experience in teaching pair dance shows that as soon as everyone pairs up in a class, any progress in individual style ends. But it is the individual style that distinguishes everyone at the disco: partners change, and style is always with you.
The body as the main instrument of dance must be very plastic, responsive and emotional. Surprisingly, not all pair dance schools have a general physical warm-up. It is vital to tune the body and understand how it works.
You can always train extra and concentrate more on the basic steps, as their true value is as body work. The sequence of steps is, in fact, the simplest thing that can be in pair dancing. The quality of individual performance determines the craftsmanship.
8. Try on the images of inspiring dancers
A psychological life hack for those who have already mastered the steps, but still feel that there is not enough brightness and drive. Most are terribly afraid of being someone else's "clone". Here the action is the same as under the influence of hypnosis - the more you resist, the more you plunge into an altered state of consciousness.
With a high degree of probability, you are already dancing like someone else's "clone". A meaningful fitting of someone else's image is that you mentally take the image of the one who inspires you (inspiration is critical in this case) and "put on" yourself. Then you start dancing and trying to feel in general how it is to be able, for example, to be the best partner or the sexiest partner in a disco. This is much more difficult than it seems. But it works extremely efficiently.
9. Dance to offbeat music
Habitual rhythms keep you tight. Tango salon or speedy timba leave little room for experimentation and fantasy. Pattern dancing is always noticeable and is reserved for beginners.
The truly new is born outside of the usual. Look for places to experiment. If there is no place, organize self-training. The main thing is not to get carried away, because music determines the style. We bring something new to pair dances, rather than trying to change them.
Search, improvise, do not be afraid to go beyond, develop in different directions, be inspired by music atypical for style
10. Try your hand at basic dance directions
dances exist according to their own non-choreographic laws.
This is the deepest delusion, which has turned into a ceiling for the qualitative development of partner dances. After all, all professional dancers, for example, in salsa or bachata, build their ideas on the basic choreographic principles.
Do not think that choreography is only applicable on stage. Any meaningful movement of the body can be choreographic. In general, try classical or modern choreography. Basically, hip-hop can work too.
11. Look for battle sensations
Pair dances return us to an active position of manifestation of our body. As in the days of our ancient ancestors, we impress the members of the opposite sex by how dexterous, hardy, sexy, etc. we are. Modern laws of the jungle in the entourage of big cities.
If you look around the dance floor, it becomes clear that the majority are clearly herbivores (not in the sense of vegetarians, but in relation to those around them). I am sure that predators are always more interesting in terms of the attractiveness of the image - try to find a counterbalance among herbivores, for example, a cat woman or a lion man.
The conversation is about an internal position, not about aggressiveness. Lability and lack of control are inherent in adolescents, and not in adult self-sufficient people.
Accordingly, even a training or friendly battle gives, on the one hand, practical skills - to make a bright sequence of movements, bring an idea to a climax, show a spectacular feature, on the other hand, develops the psychological basis of the dance - self-confidence, resistance to extraneous attention, self-control and self-control in complex elements.
12. Communicate with professionals
The environment shapes the internal position. Basically, real passionaries of the dance community are ready to openly talk, discuss and support the development of dance in every possible way. Universal principles and the ideas they articulate have a much longer and more practical perspective than meets the eye.
Accept that, for example, behind the words "listen to your partner" is not only a beautiful metaphor, but also a practical skill to literally listen to your partner. At the same time, always treat every thought, even the most respected teacher, as a private opinion.
Your skill will lie in finding the scope of the idea even in conflicting opinions. Most often, the contradiction is speculative and the truth lies in the angle of perception or situationality.
Your dancing growth will stop sooner or later. This can happen at the level of three basic steps or years of experience in teaching and show performances.