Beginner Line Dance
I found this video and wanted to share – hopefully brings a smile to your face. Anyone that has line danced for a while has went to a venue and met with each one of these issues when dancing.
Tips When Dancing at Venues!
For someone that has never danced before, beginner line dance can be scary. Anyone that has line-danced can tell stories about their first class and how scary it was for them. Some were lucky enough to find a good instructor that made them feel comfortable with all the patience in the world, but normally that is not the case. In my travels I have found too many instructors have lost patience with beginners and want to only work with advanced dancer or they are truly not a teacher. Many instructors have forgotten just how hard those first few dances are to learn, the next thing you are overwhelmed, give up and do not come back to anymore classes.
Another problem I see is that some that are beginners themselves have decided they can teach when they cannot keep a beat, do not know all the steps themselves or have never taught before. This is a sad situation because when a beginner seeks out a class wanting to learn and they have a bad experience for any reason, another line-dancer is lost. I cannot stress enough to keep trying to find that perfect class for you. Do not give up or spend time in a class that makes you feel uncomfortable. There is normally another close enough that you can try.
It has to be fun for you! If you do not like music or dance you will not enjoy my class. If you find yourself tapping your toes to a favorite song, singing in the shower or singing in the car holding your coke as your microphone – you will enjoy Line-dancing!
You will meet a different type of people in beginner line-dance classes. Because line-dance is danced in groups and the main idea is to all look the same, it takes away the competition issue that you may find in more advanced classes. I am sure you will find and make friends easily because most dancers want everyone in their class to succeed and be part of the group.
Be patient with yourself – we all started as beginners, give yourself a few weeks to get comfortable. No one will make fun of you, instead they will all cheer you on! DON’T GIVE UP! Some catch on quickly, others take longer but no matter how fast or slow you start learning does not have any bearing on how far along you will be in a month or year. If you are feeling frustrated talk to your instructor and let them know your problems so that you can work together to be successful.
Practice, practice, practice! Practice may not make perfect, but it will increase your confidence and help you learn a dance. Don’t just practice the dance in class – run thru’ it at home, at work, at school .. anywhere and anytime you have the chance (and the room). Also practice the basic steps .. vines, shuffles etc. Grab a copy of the dance sheet – either off the net or from the instructor to help you practice away from class.
Learn the names of the basic steps to start and practice each one so that you have memorized not a dance to start but what the steps are called and how to complete them.
Balance is important. Keep your body straight and your center of weight over the foot your weight is on, slightly bending your knees help. Take small steps when unsure about a dance. It will give you more time to complete a step and stay within beat. Once you are comfortable with a dance many do take larger steps or style their dancing but that comes with getting comfortable with a specific sequence of steps.
Learn to depend on your instructor to call the steps you are going to complete. Good instructors will call the next step two beats in advance of you doing the step. You should be able to complete dances both ones you have practiced and in the future new dances by what steps are being called by any instructor.
Once you have learned a dance, do not watch anyone’s feet or you will always be at least two beats behind. To start, I know it is hard not to watch others, just make sure they know the dance or zoom in on your instructor. If you watch someone that is not on beat or is not doing the steps correctly you will learn wrong and it is much harder to correct than to learn right the first time. Once you feel comfortable with the sequences of the dance, start depending on your memory and your instructor to call the steps to complete the dance. Do not get in the habit of always watching someone or you will never be able to dance the dance in a different venue.
If you get behind, stop, look around and start again where you recognize the steps.
Don’t do steps that hurt or makes you feel unsafe. There are many ways to substitute steps that still flow with regular steps. If you are taking my classes, please ask if you need a substitution, I will be happy to help. It is hard for me to hop or turn certain ways because it hurts so I compensate when I am dancing outside of my class – I understand!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when are paying the instructor to teach you how to line-dance. If you are having trouble with a particular step or can’t seem to pick up a dance and need more help, ask the instructor. Don’t hope that someone else will ask that “stupid question” you really need answered – if everyone is hoping someone else will yell for help, no one will ask and the instructor will think no one is having trouble.
When you go to your first class make sure it’s a beginner class and introduce yourself to the instructor and make sure you tell them your level of experience. When the class starts, the best place is in the middle. Yes, I know that you want to hide in the back but that puts you in the front when a dance changes walls. In the middle, you will have dancers all around you to watch and keep you on beat.
What about line-dancing and the country attire? The popular impression is that line-dancing is ‘country’. To the average non-linedancer, line-dancing consists of country folk dressed up in cowboy or cowgirl gear dancing to Merle Haggard or George Strait in some smokey honky tonk thanks to “Urban Cowboy”. However it’s not just the music that is changing but the attire is also changing. In the 80’s line-dancing was too new to have a particular clothing style, but with the boom in the early 90’s it became ‘traditional’ to wear western attire. Wherever you went, you’d find western shirts, buckles, boots, hats and fringes. Today that look is being taken over, you’ll still spot the occasional cowboy hat and boots but dancing shoes are appearing everywhere. Bling, sparkles to tennis shoes and exercise wear any “rule” has been overturned.
For beginners proper footwear is most important. You need to wear shoes or boots that are comfortable and provide just the right amount of traction. Leather soled footwear is best, but not compulsory – especially for beginners. One of my best students wore a pair of sneakers with tread that had been worn flat. If there is too much traction (ie: grip), then your ankles and knees will be sore afterwards especially if the floor itself is sticky. I tell my beginner students to bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes just in case after dance is started, you find that those comfortable shoes at home are hurting you on the dance floor.
If there is not enough traction for you and your a beginner, you could slip and fall. If the floor is too slippery for your footwear, you can put fabric tape on the bottom on your shoes during class to give you more traction. If the floor has too much grip, I have seen some of my students put a sock on over their shoes, or the soft side of velcro tape to give that extra slip. Common sense should dictate your choice of footwear I do not suggest high heels, flip flops or open toed shoes especially as a beginner. I wear boots. I purchase them 1/2 size too big so there is hardly any breaking in and then I add gel inserts or thick socks to give me cushion I need, that way I am in control on how my feet fit into my boots. Boots also protect my ankles and give me that extra support so when I am dancing for hours my feet are not hurting or my ankles do not give out. After dancing for a few weeks you will find what works for you.