Question by rolled_up_rug
Im 23 years old, and I recently started taking dance lessons in all sorts of styles in latin dance but my main dances are salsa and bachata, particularly salsa. I have never danced before in any capacity, and I am so insecure, embarrassed and ashamed of how I look and dance that it takes every cell in my body to go to personal lessons, group lessons and club dances.
Ive been going to lessons for about 3 weeks and Im already at Bronze 1 level according to my instructor, but when I go to group classes or club dances and I see how the other students and instructors dance, I feel so embarrassed by my lack of talent that I want to run out of there crying. I see their flawless moves and steps and how each step seamlessly transitions into the next one and how the two dancers are so close, intimate and comfortable in how they move. I loom at them and I am in awe of how other humans can move in such a way; I would give anything to Move, shake, and look like that on the dance floor. I kick myself all the time in not taking dance classes sooner, seeing how all my instructors are professional and theyre in their mid to late twenties. I feel Like i started so late watching them and Ill be old by the time i can move like them.
But beyond my reservations and perpetual lack of income, going to dance classes is the only Thing I loom forward to in my life. My teacher is absolutely amazing and constantly Challenges me and makes me blush. I try my Best and do what I can to go to Every personal and private lesson, but i just feel So inadequate compared to the other students and professors that I dont want to go on.
But im going to try my best to learn and to as Much as I can and as best as I can. Its better late Than never. Apologies for The long text.
“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” – Jake the Dog.
Enjoy the stress whilst it lasts, at some point in the future you will be good and a lot of what seemed like magic will only look ok.
Three weeks is not long enough to be good at anything dude. You really need to stick with it if you want to improve and be realistic about your progress,etc.
I didn’t start salsa until my 30s. Relax, you’re not too late! I’m sure people start later than me and we all wish we started earlier! Thing is to remember that it’s not important when you start but how long you stick with it.
The salsa community is very welcoming to beginners and you shouldn’t feel like you can’t break into salsa.
I’ve been dancing for about two years, mostly bachata, and in my local circles am considered a pretty damn good dancer, even having some leads ask me to dance because they’ve heard about me from other people.
I still feel inadequate af when watching some other dancers.
The only difference now is I use it as motivation to get better. Learn more patterns. Rock musicality and emotion better than ever. Whereas in the past it would make me question whether or not I wanted to continue dancing, I now fight that feeling because goddam I love dancing and I’m not gonna let my insecurities stop me from doing it.
So my advice would be… Admit those feelings are fine and natural and probably won’t ever go away, watch those dancers who seem awesome to you and see what you can learn from them, and keep dancing, dammit.
You have been in lessons for 3 weeks.
No craft that is worth pursuing can be mastered in 3 weeks.
The truth is you probably have a long way to go still, but this is good.
Just find people that are at your level, people slightly above and slightly below, and dance with them often, you’ll all carry each other.
It’s easy to compare yourself with those who have those “flawless moves and steps that seamlessly transition into the next one”, but don’t, because those people have been dancing for years, sometimes decades. It’s just unfair to do so.
Everyone was a beginner at some point.
Just. Keep. Practicing.
… and enjoy it! that’s what this is all about!
I’ve been dancing salsa for about 15 years now. I’ve learned that people that bother with intimidating and embarrassing people are just not worth your time. They’re the ones that you’ll likely surpass since you actually love it and are willing to learn.
After my first 4 weeks I felt like giving up after I had an atrocious social dance (my first), but I kept at it pushed myself to keep dancing and eventually got way better after 2-3 more months. It’ll take about a 1.5 or 2 years before you reach an intermediate level.
Put your self image aside (not just now but even after you get good) and just focus on having fun. Everyone was shit at first, just give it time
1) How you feel now means that, if you keep at it, then you WILL be one of the better dancers. Many people have been dancing for years and thoroughly enjoy themselves, but have no real interest in improving themselves send very little self-awareness. Learn actively, not passively; engage with the material and you’ll learn quickly.
2) Remember how you feel now so that you have empathy for beginners later.
Some bad news though. If you’re the type to feel this way then you’ll always feel this way. It gets better because you’ll have regular dances that work out, partners that compliment you and search for you to dance with, and you’ll recognise your progress but… you’ll also recognise how much further you can improve, and you’ll always be aware of your mistakes even as others don’t even notice. That’s ok though, because you’ll keep getting better – just don’t give up 🙂
Just remember. What feels like a small, minor accomplishment compared to the pros you’re watching, is HUGE to those that don’t dance at all. My family would be impressed by the basic step and a turn.
Keep at it and try not to get tooooo in your head! If you’re not a trained dancer, there will almost always be someone better than you, that moves more naturally, easily, whatever. That doesn’t take away from your progress and what you’ve learned.
Don’t worry about other people, dance for you, because you like it!
TLDR: Keep doing it, the first few weeks can me rough.
Dont look at other people, focus on yourself. Other people often already have done a salsa class a few years ago, or danced other dances before.
I started dancing late 20s, and Salsa was my first dance at all. And after 3 weeks I still had problems with my basic step (I was told to stop “jumping”, while I wanted to set my weights 🙂 )
Maybe only concentrate on Salsa for the first 6 months? I started sensual Bachata 6month after I started dancing at all and I was really uncomfortable in the beginning. And my bodywaves were … horrible 😉 If you have fun doing it, and you think you can work on bachata&salsa at the same time, please keep doing it.
I´ve never had a private dance lesson, I only know they are expensive. What do you learn at a private lesson after 3 weeks of dancing? Maybe reduce the amount of private lesson in the beginning and go to more socials?
Are you a follow or a lead?
As a lead I had been overwhelmed with the stuff I learned in every group lesson and wouldnt have been able to take any more input from private lessons.
I kind of cannot speak about follows, but get your frame and you turn patterns stable. (Turns you can practice at home).
Also, listen to salsa/bachata as often as possible, and from time to time try to count, 123 ,567 . And try to hear the 1.
Doing something new is oftentimes intimidating and difficult. As best as you can afford to, and assuming you continue to enjoy it, stick to it. You will become better at whatever you practice. Narrowly, that presently applies to dancing. More broadly, that applies to your habit of staying the course even when it’s scary, in all facets of life.
You can do it. It will be okay. You will become better at what you practice.
Go to beginner group classes if you can. You are much less likely to feel out of place and you will see people struggling more than you.
Give it time then. And give up on the fiction about how you look compared to others. Everybody started without knowing how to dance.