My experience with dance is limited. What really got me was online dance workouts. During the pandemic shutdown I was able to do the videos over and over. I really enjoyed them, so I thought it might be fun to try an in-person class once the dance studios opened up.
Finding an Open Dance Studio Mid-Pandemic
Most dance studios in my area were closed except one, the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. All I knew was that it was a chain business, and that they specialize in couples dancing so I took the free intro lesson. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I was desperate for some in-person activity that was different and fun.
Arthur Murray is expensive, and not expensive. You pay for private lessons (very expensive) which gets you in as a member. Then you can use the studio whenever you want and go to any group class they offer (for free). It seemed like a pretty good deal if I went often to the group lessons so I signed up for about 6 months.
Nervous doing Social Dances
My first lessons, both group and individual, were nerve wracking at first. Couples dancing is difficult to get used to. I spent those first few weeks both looking forward and dreading my next dance class. Getting used to the dances as a follower did not come easily to me. Previously practicing doing YouTube videos did help with the footwork though. Things like the box step, and basic Cha-Cha were something I already knew.
I forced myself to go several times a week for a few months. All the people there were super excellent. Many of the students were at the same level as me since we all joined about the same time. The instructors were excellent and professional always!
After Two Months
Fast forward to today, almost two months later. I am committed to the process of learning the dances. It’s going to take a while. Dancing with a partner is harder than dancing alone with a video, but I’m starting to get it and look forward to doing it more.
I do recommend social dance! It is awkward to get started, but really fun.
Check out the Videos Online!
There are a lot, but these ones are my favorites:
First is the 375 Dance Studio, great, simple instruction and workouts, she is great!
I love watching These Dancers on Instagram
Learning how to do West Coast Swing looks like a ton of fun. West Coast Swing dancers in This Video inspired my Swing aspirations. This Video shows Carolina Shag, a version of Swing.
After about 6 months, I finally got to the point where I felt comfortable going to dance class and doing couples dancing. While it never really felt like ‘my thing’ I am impressed with their ability to welcome all sorts of people and to encourage everyone to perform and participate in social dancing. I didn’t like the dance parties and never got used to them (where all members are encouraged to practice with the instructors twice a week in 45 minute ‘parties’), and I found that I wasn’t willing to spend the money (it costs extra to participate in performances) required to get you to the next step in ballroom dance expertise.
The image on the left is me in a dance class practicing with a woman who was practicing her lead techniques. We were often short on people for the lead role.