1. You either have it or you don’t
Misconception number one is that you have to be born with some extraordinary natural ability to dance, that if you cannot immediately pick it up, you are forever doomed. In reality, the only things that matter are hard work and dedication. Learning how to dance is really not as ambiguous as people think. During your Ballroom dancing lessons, your instructor will break down the various dance principles such as foot placements, timing of music and other techniques. You will find that the instruction is actually quite black and white, a step by step process that requires no innate ability. In fact, the naturally talented ones may have it worse. They may be so used to learning dance quickly and easily, that when confronted with a challenge, they become frustrated and discouraged. Their improvement slows down because they are not used to putting in the work. They are, of course, experiencing the normal learning process. The only sure way to consistently progress is through hard work and dedication. So forget about how talented you are or are not and instead practice, practice, practice.
2. Group classes are enough
Myth number two is that you can be really good from just taking group classes. As a professional dance instructor, I am here to tell you that group classes alone will not get you far. The reason is that you do not get enough personal attention and critique. Individual attention is crucial in the Ballroom dance learning process for developing the right habits and eliminating the wrong ones. Your group classes could be level specific, the instruction could be very informative and thorough, and still your progress is minimal. Having you and an x number of other students in the same class diminishes the time your teacher can allocate to correct any mistakes that you may have. Most of the class time is spent on general information for the entire group with a few minutes for individual corrections. If you really want to dance well, you should strongly consider doing private dance lessons to supplement your groups for consistent improvement.
3. All I need is 1 month
I am sorry to let you know that you cannot really learn how to Ballroom dance properly in 1 month. Can you learn how to play an instrument in 1 month? Or learn how to speak a new language? Of course not! Dancing works just the same. Besides dance steps and patterns, there are many technique elements to learn such as: posture, footwork, lead and follow techniques, music/timing, character and more. With all the information, it takes time for the body to develop muscle memory. One month will introduce you to a few basic dance steps and concepts but it is not enough to make you an adequate dancer. People who have a set time frame for learning how to dance are naive and do not fully understand the learning process. The best thing you can do when you decide to learn how to dance is to take Ballroom dancing lessons consistently. To start, I recommend 1-2 private lessons a week for at least 3 months. During those first 3 months have an open mind and just learn, absorb, practice, feel and experiment the dancing world. Hopefully after that you will see that learning how to dance is a process that cannot be measured with time.
All of the ideas in this article are derived from my personal teaching experience.
By Leon Turetsky