Frequency: The Key to Getting Off On The Right (or Left) Foot

Q – How important is frequency during your first few lessons???
A – It is at least vitally important, if not critically so!!!

Why, you might ask?

Frequency: The Key to Getting Off On The Right (or Left) Foot

Written by: Barbara Haller

Think about the process of learning any new skill… a language, a sport, really any physical or mental activity that is foreign to you.

If you immerse yourself in it (remember Berlitz language courses -a three week intensive with NO native tongue allowed) you SUCCEED!!

Do we want you to live at the studio for three weeks? Nope! However, we would like to encourage you to take at least two or three lessons per week when you begin your dance journey with us so that you succeed in acquiring a skill that is somewhat intellectual and primarily physical. This requires placing the patterns in your MUSCLE MEMORY. During an interview in our recent newsletter, a new student couple stated that taking two private lessons, a group and practice session per week not only gave them exercise and romance benefits (they are recent empty nesters) but also they said “[taking those extra lessons at first] helped us know we wanted to commit to this for a long time”. They love their new skill!!

Not to belabor the point, but as a teenager I was on scholarship at a prestigious ballet center. The goal was to form a renowned ballet company in as short a number of years as possible, starting with raw talent, relatively (sorry to our first teachers) untrained. This was our schedule after school- a two hour ballet class, a break for homework, another one and a half hour ballet class- five days a week!! Saturdays we had a two hour class and then pas de deux or character classes, after which we had the rest of the weekend to recover!!!!

Did we form that company?? You betcha! I am dating myself but Rudolph Nureyev and Eva Evdokimova were the guest artists on a three month European tour!!!

We are not suggesting this level of time investment by ANY means. However, what follows is a list of the reasons why frequency in your first few weeks is so important:

1). You get the best use of your investment of time and money because each lesson is new information versus a repeat of what your instructor told you a week or two ago!

2). You feel success with a new and awesome skill!

3). You get to develop a mind / body awareness that is actually proven to prevent the onset of dementia and early Alzheimer’s!!

4). You experience a continuing education; as we know, interrupted educations rarely make it to the cap and gown stage! And yes, we do have graduations! No cap and gown but rather tuxes and bling for the ladies!

5). You socialize and party while learning… That only happened once in my college career – thanks Dr. Camara!! (French prof who let us watch a film and party at the end of each semester.)

6). You are quickly incorporated into a family of like-minded , exercise-oriented, healthy and happy friends!!

7). You can forget about that gym membership!! This is the best full body workout next to swimming- scientifically proven. Even athletes like Jerry Rice (San Francisco 49ers) said he was in better shape after competing in DWTS than when he was playing football!!!

Your first few lessons are the most important ones of all, as they set the tone for your success in your new skill. Keep your frequency up and you will be flying around the dance floor in no time!!!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Your First Dance Lesson

MAZEL TOV! CONGRATS! HAVE A CIGAR! It’s a… DANCE LESSON!! You noticed that your daily routine has gotten a little dull and could use a little dose of Cha Cha, Rumba, or Waltz. You’ve done the research and found out that your local Arthur Murray was the bees knees of ballroom dance lessons and set up your VERY FIRST DANCE LESSON!! This is a momentous occasion! Pop the champagne, get out your finest cigar, have a party and dance like you have no clue what you’re doing, because after your first lesson, you will begin to :). Now, there can be some nerves going on about your first dance lesson. You’re venturing into uncharted territory, where there’s music, dancing, and some extremely poor singing at times! To help quell some of those nerves and to get you off on the best foot possible, we are here with some first-lesson-shattering advice.

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Number 1: Dress for Success
You wouldn’t show up to play a baseball game in full body armor (well I might, but that’s for good reason), or go to a black tie event without a… black tie. So, you might as well come to a dance lesson in the attire that gets you off on the right (or left if you’re the guy) foot. Now what I’m about to say are merely RECOMMENDATIONS to make your first visit to a dance studio the best it can be. These are by no means requirements, but simply suggestions to make you feel as “at home” as possible. Your local Arthur Murray does its very best to provide a warm, welcoming and professional environment. Think of it like Disney Land for adults. Although from time to time you may see people decked out in Onesies, Superhero Costumes, and Elf Costumes, the attire is typically business casual. As stated earlier, your local Arthur Murray does its best to be a professional environment. That’s why you’ll find your instructor to be impeccably dressed (although I make no promises about my ability to speak properly). For the gents, we recommend slacks and at least a polo shirt. As a frame of reference, your male instructors will always be in a shirt and tie (unless there’s a themed party going on that night). You certainly can wear jeans but they tend to get warm (dancing is exercise don’t cha know). For the ladies, anything somewhat dressy will work. This includes, but is not limited to, skirts, slacks, a nice blouse, just so far as you feel comfortable (and why not a little fancy). I mean, this is certainly one place you can dress up and not feel out of place, so go nuts!

In regards to foot wear, dance shoes are certainly not necessary for your first few lessons, but try to wear something with a harder sole. If your shoes are rubbery on the bottom it’ll be a bit harder to move easily from step to step. Ladies, try to wear a heel that secures nicely to your foot. If you have an aversion to high heels, they are certainly not necessary. Comfort comes first! Onto the next round…

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Number 2: Nerves are GOOD
You know those butterflies you get in the pit of your stomach before an experience? That means you actually care and want to do well! CONGRATS! YOU CARE! YAY! Now don’t worry, those first lesson jitters will very quickly subside once you’ve dusted off those dancing shoes and taken your first steps. Also, one reason not to feel so debilitated by your nerves is this… every single person who has ever danced has started from scratch. Not one person was ever born while holding a perfect dance frame… as far as I know. That simply means that the longer you wait, the longer those pre-first dance butterflies will be there. And you can’t move on to your first-time-dancing-in-public butterflies or your first-Showcase butterflies if you haven’t moved past your first-dance-lesson butterflies. And those are much better butterflies.

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Number 3: Bring Your Calendar
Try to imagine this nightmare. You have your very first lesson. It’s a ROUSING success. I mean, men are weeping, women are swooning, children… are with the babysitter (YAY GROWN UP TIME). You go to arrange your next lesson and you DON’T HAVE YOUR CALENDAR! THE HORROR, THE HORROR! You promise to call when you get back home, but then guess what happens? Life gets in the way. Don’t let this happen to you! As said earlier, chances are that you’ll LOVE your first dance lesson and not want to wait to schedule your next one! Make sure to bring your handy, dandy schedule so that you can put some life into your day as opposed to letting life dictate your day (this actually goes for all future lessons too).

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Number 4: Frequency
One of the easiest ways to majorly kill the high that you get from that very first lesson is to wait too long to take the second one! Dancing is like ANY OTHER physical activity where the more frequently you do it, the more progress you’ll make! On that note, your instructor will most likely encourage you to come in as soon as humanly possible. When I “played” basketball in high school, the only thing I was remotely good at was shooting. The reason being is that I practiced shooting more than anything else. Same goes for dancing. If you want this to feel comfortable quickly, put in the hours! Now, we’ll work with whatever your schedule will permit, but it would GREATLY minimize that whole first-awkward-phase if you schedule your first number of visits as close as possible.

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Number 5: Accentuate the Positive
Whether it’s thinking that there’s NO POSSIBLE WAY you can fit this into your busy schedule (we have uber flexible hours) or thinking you travel waaaaaaaaaay too much to do this right now (Arthur Murray is AWESOME because there are over 270 schools worldwide). That means when you join one Arthur Murray, it’s like you’re joining all 270 of them. Don’t stop yourself from going to your first dance lesson before you’ve actually, you know, done it. Whatever your hesitation/qualm happens to be, that’s just the little voice in your head trying to get the best of you… DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!! There is absolutely no reason to delay the awesomeness that is dance any longer than you absolutely have to.

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Number 6: For Goodness Sakes, Listen to Your Instructor
Your instructor is going to do their very best to make sure that wherever you plan on dancing, that you’re prepared for it. Going to a wedding? They’ll make sure you’re locked and loaded with some slow, medium, and faster tempo dances! Going on a trip to the Caribbean? Well then they’ll make sure you’re able to Salsa/Bachata the night away! Plan on dancing in a two feet by two feet square in your house with the blinds shut and lights out? They’ll figure out something for that as well.