So often, dancers say something along these lines, “gee, I wish I were a better dancer, but I’m not sure what to do to get better.”
Well, ladies and gents, I am here to provide that answer!! Here are five tips to get you moving down the path to being a better dancer than you are today.
1. Practice. Practice, practice, practice, practice. Nothing takes the place of simply doing something over and over again until it’s second nature. Consider any other skill you wish to develop. Want to become a better piano player? Play the piano more. Want to lift more weight? Lift weights more. Want to dance better? Dance more.
2. Go out dancing. Go to dances. Go to places where there is music. Go out in public and dance. Dancing at a dance is different than dancing in the privacy of your own home. In your own home, you might have a tendency to stop and start, to work on something you feel needs improvement, and this is a good thing. But you also need to just dance, to have to start and then complete a song without stopping in the middle.
3. Dance with others. This is the other benefit of going out dancing. The opportunity to dance with others. You will get better faster (and better, period) through dancing with people other than your regular partner, if you have one. You and a regular dance partner will tend to do two things: 1: fall into bad habits with each other, 2: get really predictable, and lose your lead/follow skills. Dance with others!!
4. Record yourself dancing and watch it. Watching yourself dancing can be very humbling. I remember the first time I watched myself dance. I was so embarrassed that I had been out – in public – dancing like that! yikes!! But it gave me a great opportunity to notice a few really visually annoying things that I did, and it also showed me some places that I needed to work on my technique.
5. Learn some new skills. Some people need more moves to feel more confident, some people want to learn or develop their skills – leading and following, footwork, improvisation, whatever. Sometimes these skills can be learned best through a class, sometimes through experimentation.