So, you’re reading this article. Which means you’re thinking about coming to try Dance Masala. First of all, can we say a big hello and welcome! Dance Masala is more than a Bollywood dance school, it’s also a real community, filled with friendliness, dedication, and joy. Dance Masala is for everybody, and we want to help you find the right fit for you.
Commit or drop in, but please don’t drop out!
Most Dance Masala classes (intermediate / advanced included) have a drop in option. You come as, and when, you want. The advantage here is that only pay for the classes you do. Naturally, committing to a full term (or 5-class pass) has its advantages as well. This options gives you a saving and incentive to come every week! Personally, I always like to pay for the full term when I choose activities, because it stops me from saying “No, i’m just going to miss my fun thing this week”. So often when we get stressed, the fun activities are the first thing we drop, and these are our stress relievers!
The Absolute Beginner class is aimed at building a basic grasp of steps, technique, music and feeling in that form of dance. Building the absolute basics, is exactly what our Absolute Beginner classes are for!
Dance Masala classes labelled Beginner are pitched at a relatively high level. In Beginner we like moving at a fairly fast pace. This keeps the energy levels running high throughout the class, and enables people to feel like they’ve had a workout in a class, as well as learnt the dance.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge into ‘Beginner’ and bypass ‘Absolute Beginner’? What this means, both in terms of the range of moves you will encounter, and the speed at which you are taught them, is that you will find your first few Dance Masala classes a big challenge. But don’t give up! The first class is the hardest, because everything is new. Your brain and body are working incredibly hard, trying to process moves and sequences. But after that initial class, in each subsequent class the moves will feel a little more familiar, and a little less frightening. And lo and behold, after a few weeks or months, you’ve grown into the level of the class. The moves you initially found tricky now come with ease and grace.
In the language of dance, repetition is the key
There are two crucial things to remember when you are learning a new form of dance. Dance is a language learnt by your body, and repetition is the key to success.
When you are learning a new spoken language, your brain has to first of all translate every phrase from your native language into the new language. “My name is Drea… Mera naam Drea hai”. But if you repeat the new phrase often enough, it becomes second nature to say it in the new language. This is exactly how you should think about learning dance. First of all your head is spinning with information and trying to translate it to your body… “Step to the left, right foot behind, turn, shoulders, rhythm, balance.” But come to any class a few times, and you’ll see a large element of repetition. Warm ups are the same every week. Technical moves and exercises are repeated every week. Choreography contains standard moves, which crop up time and time again.
With all this repetition, you will develop something called muscle memory, where your body starts remembering how to do the steps, without you having to think about it. This is the point at which you can let go and just dance. For some people, this point comes quickly, for others it takes longer and can be frustrating. But however long it takes it’s worth it, because that’s when you experience the pure, unparalleled joy of dancing.
There’s no judgement at Dance Masala, only support
Finally, let me reassure you about all the other people you’ll encounter in a class here, because I know that it’s easy to feel self-conscious dancing at any class. First and foremost, no one is going to watch you or judge you. This is because we who teach and dance at Dance Masala want you to come and be part of the class, and encourage you to love dance just as we do. And also, it’s because everyone is so focussed on learning and getting the steps right themselves, that they simply don’t have time to look at anyone else.
Please don’t compare yourself unfavourably to other people. In any Dance Masala class you will find a mixed level of abilities, no matter what ‘level’ it is labelled as. In a typical Beginner’s class you will find people who have been coming for years, mixed with people who are coming for the very first time. Your best gauge for comparison is you, and your own improvement over time.
If you don’t understand, please just ask
If there are moves you find particularly tricky, just ask the teacher for an explanation, either during the class, or after. And if you’re still having trouble, maybe think about having a private lesson. This can really help you understand exactly what your body needs to be doing, and allow you to progress quicker in the regular group classes. And if you have any further questions that haven’t been tackled in this article, please just give us a call on 0422 512 991.
This article has been adapted from this blog post by Maria Yacoob.