So You Want to Start Dancing as an Adult.
Dancing as an adult. Is it possible? Is it realistic? The answer is yes!
Now before you get too excited and decide to jump ship, there are some things you need to know about dancing as an adult before you take the plunge into the dancing world. The tips and information that I will be including in this article are there to give you a brief overview of what to expect out of this experience. I am in no way a fully developed professional or instructor so I will not be going into the specifics of dance itself or any specific technique. Save any questions you have about those details for your dance teacher/instructor. On that note, let's get started!
First I will list a simple 6 step guide that I created for myself to help kick start my journey.
- Make a solid decision that you want to officially start dancing.
- Do some light research (styles you might be interested in, time that you can dedicate, and any other minor details that you might think of)
- Find a studio or school that works for you (distance, pricing, classes offered, etc.)
- Research the specific studio that you think might work for you (call the studio and ask questions, ask them their professional opinion on what classes would be good for you.)
- Give yourself a reason or a main goal as to why you are dancing. (i.e. "I want to dance with a professional company. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a choreographer." etc.)
- Start dancing!
If you follow these steps, it will make starting your dance journey/career a little less scary and/or confusing. (If these steps did not help you, feel free to comment below or email me and tell me what exactly didn't really help)
Now, let's get into what to expect from this experience. If you've done all of your research correctly, have the right dancewear, feel as prepared as you possibly can, and are still feeling a little anxious about what is to come from your first class, don't worry that feeling is perfectly normal. Just like any situation where you are trying something new and out of your comfort zone, you will never truly be fully prepared for it. Your first class is most likely going to feel like a complete train wreck (trust me I've been there), and you're going to feel a little discouraged during and after, but don't let that feeling ruin the first experience. Instead, think about the positives that came out of this situation. You just completed your first dance class! You should be proud of yourself, you should be excited by this experience because this is just the beginning of your dance journey! Now you shouldn't take this accomplishment and immediately think "Ok, I've done this amazing thing! Now it's time to take a break". NO! Now that you've taken the first step in, it's time to work and push yourself harder because now you know that this IS possible.
I've been talking about all of this positive energy from planning, to actually taking your first class. Now let's talk a little bit about some of the negatives that may come with this experience (remember this while you continue reading; everyone's experience and growth are different from one another). From what I have learned from my experience with starting my dance journey is that the first year is going to be the hardest. Not only will it be extremely difficult physically but it will also be difficult mentally. In my opinion, the physical and the mental go hand-in-hand with one another. Because you are an adult, no matter the age you start, your body is not going to develop the same as a young dancers body. For some people, they immediately judge themselves for it (i.e. myself). They think that because their body is not developing at a faster rate, they aren't working as hard or they are doing something wrong. This is where the mental aspect comes into play. Soon after that person can start comparing themselves to others and comparing their growth to their own. This is a terrible habit that can ruin your dance experience and possibly end it prematurely if you don't do something about it immediately. Comparing yourself to others is easy, but remember what I said before, everyone's dance experience is different and people develop at different rates. Something that can also occur (also something that almost happened to me) is burnout. During the beginning, it is very easy to get overly excited by the whole experience and may get the urge to take every class that you think you possibly can. While that drive and determination is great, you also have to make sure that it doesn't get out of hand and you don't start getting the wrong ideas about your experience. While taking different styles and taking a bunch of classes is great, it can also be a little dangerous. Just for example when I first started dancing I immediately fell in love with it. I loved everything about it and I loved learning every style I could. It got to the point to where I was at the studio almost every day of the week for multiple hours a day. Long story short I soon found out that I bit off a little more than I could chew. I slowly started to feel my technique, flexibility, strength, and even excitement towards dance deteriorate. I didn't give myself and self-care or relief. I just worked worked and worked. I began to question whether or not dance was really something I cared about. And I hated myself for thinking that. But one day I said "enough is enough" and I confided in one of my instructors and told them what was going on. Their response to what I had told them hit me like a bullet. They said, "you need to take at least one full week off of dance and recharge". I wasn't sure what I wanted to hear but that certainly wasn't it. I love to dance, I live for it, how could I spend such-... That was exactly what my instructor wanted me to realize. They wanted me to know that even if you love something so much that you want to spend every waking moment doing it, you still need rest and time away from it to heal yourself physically and mentally. I'm not gonna lie, that week off was one of the hardest weeks I've ever had, but it reassured me that I do love dance and I deserve to be apart of it and when I came back to class the week after I felt the best and most confident I had ever felt that whole year. Now that all this blabbering is over, I want you to know going into this experience what I didn't know. You have to give yourself a little self-care every once in a while. It does not mean that you don't care about dance or that you don't work hard enough, it means that you care so much that you're willing to step away from the thing that you love so that you can recharge and come back better than ever.
What I want you to take away from this article is that no matter your age or position in life, you deserve to participate in the thing that you love which in this case is dance. You are never too old. I also really want you to take to heart what I wrote about in the second paragraph because it could very well mean the difference in your dance journey.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article (if anyone does read it) and feel free to comment on it and discuss your opinions or stories you may have about dancing as an adult.