Have you ever had a number of dance lessons in a row where you just didn’t seem to get better? It was almost like each lesson was just failure after failure.
We all have those.
For some people it can be just one lesson that goes poorly and they start to think that they are not a good dancer and that they should quit to do something else.
For others it take a few more, but we would all have our limit. That point when we decide that we are wasting our time or our money or both on dance.
I am not going to tell you that you should dance not matter what. I think you should, but I am not going to tell you to.
However, before you do decide to quit, I will suggest that you consider a few things first.
Were you just tired?
Maybe it was just a bad day where you had been busy, didn’t get much sleep or fighting off a mild cold. These things can take away your energy and make it harder to learn something new or even just do what you normally can do properly. It might have even been a day or two prior that you were not eating well.
Are you actually getting better?
Sometimes as you improve, the part if your brain that takes control when dancing changes. During this change you can experience hiccups with your performance. It’s worth considering this possibility.
Are you thinking about your dance the right way?
It might be that you are now learning more advanced figures or that you are learning a new aspect. Perhaps you are ok with the basic foot placement, but now your teacher wants you to improve your top-line, your musicality, your integration with other figures or your leading/following. These new aspects might now require that you think differently. Before you just needed to remember foot placement, but maybe now you need to be aware of your partner, plan three figures ahead or note the music at the same time. None of these is like memory – it is a new part of your brain. If you try to remember your way out of this one, then you’re not likely to succeed.
You will need to change the way you think about dancing.
Do you just need it explained in a different manner?
Sometimes some messages just don’t get through when they come from your teacher. It might be that you simply need to have another person explain it or show it to you or take you through it. If it’s an issue with a figure, then try looking it up on the web – youtube is great for learning figures. If it’s how to move your body, then try reading different books or forums that have advice on the figure. If it’s about leading and following, then try going social dancing or just practicing with other students – you might notice something when dancing with a person who has a different style or they might raise an issue in a way that makes sense to you.
When you have those periods of dance lessons that don’t seem to be going well, it’s best to think about what you can do to continue your improvement before you decide anything drastic like moving on to another (most likely inferior) pastime.