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Improve Your Life by Learning to Dance

by Austin Pranger

There are many people that would LOVE to know how to dance but either don’t know how to start or are too afraid to take the first step. Learning to dance may be a passing interest for you or it may be a strong desire. Learning to dance can improve your life in a variety of ways. There are a variety of dances to choose from and multiple ways to get your start.

5 Ways That Learning to Dance will Improve Your Life

There are countless benefits to learning to dance that won’t fit in a single article. There are common benefits across all dance styles, regardless of which dance you choose to try for your first time. Consider the follow reasons to start learning to dance.

1.) Dramatically Boosts Self-Confidence

Whether you are someone that lacks self-confidence and tends to hide in the back of the room or you are someone that already has a lot of self-confidence, learning to dance will give you even more self-confidence than you may have realized.

Believe it or not, many people that learn to dance are introvert or start out very shy. Dancing is an incredible way to get out of your comfort zone and build that “courage muscle.” Chances are you find that you have more courage than you realized. Getting on a dance floor (whether it’s at a studio or your dining room floor) is a challenging feat in itself. As you spend time learning, you see more and more of what you are capable of.

As you spend time dancing, you’ll notice that you will start to walk and talk in a different way. Many dancers look back at their beginnings with surprise as they see just how much they have changed over the years.

2.) Meet New People, Make New Friends, and Join an Amazing Community

Depending on the dance style, you’ll start to meet a lot of new people and even make really great personal friends as a result of learning to dance. This is especially common in couples dancing or in performing groups. Even solo dancers can meet new people by performing publically, being a part of dance forums, publishing videos online, going to dance events, and more.

Virtually every dance style out there has some kind of community whether it be local or online. Some cities have meetup groups, local clubs, or professional venues that you can learn from, meet people at, make new friends, and otherwise become a part of an amazing and inclusive dance community.

3.) Learn More About Yourself

Improving your life is a process of learning more about yourself, making personal changes in your life and in who you are, learning skills, and more. By learning to dance, you’ll be thrust into the world of self-improvement. Not only will you learn to move your body in different ways, you’ll also make a positive impact on your mindset, self-confidence, social skills, and more. Learning to dance allows you to challenge what you once thought was possible, opening up doors to begin considering new ways to challenge yourself.

4.) It’s a Form of (Fun!) Fitness

All dance styles move, which makes them an ideal candidate for people looking for exercise. The great part about using dance for exercise is that it’s fun and you NEVER think you are exercising. Whether taking classes, learning online, or dancing at an event, you’ll burn calories and get in shape over time. Dance can be a great supplement to your normal fitness routines, helping you to target different muscle groups.

5.) Improves Mental Acuity

Learning to dance requires activation of certain parts of the brain that may not always be active while working, doing other forms of exercise, or engaging in other activities at home. Any task that requires you to learn something you haven’t done before or haven’t done often helps you to build “myelin,” which is a fatty substance that develops around nerves to make communications from and to the brain more efficient. In other words: learning to dance becomes easier over time AND makes your reflexes much faster.

What Style of Dance Do You Want to Learn?

A quick search online will yield that there are SO MANY different styles of dance out there. From independent solo styles of dance to choreographed dances to couples dancing to professional dancing to competitive dancing to team performances to … you get the idea.

If you have already been thinking about learning to dance, chances are good that merely mentioning “dance” or “learning to dance” will spark some image of a dance style. It may be of just one person dancing, or a couple dancing together, or a big group dancing a routine together.

You can start by narrowing it down by that characteristic: do you want to dance solo, do you want to dance as a couple, or do you want to dance as part of a performance troupe?

From there it helps to think about the level at which you want to perform. Many people that know how to dance will dance for purely personal reasons because they get a lot of personal joy and fulfillment out of it. You can also pursue dance as a way to meet people and make new friends. Dancing can be a great challenge when performing as a group or performing a routine where you can perfect your movement and performance skills.

You can break down the “intensity” of your dance interest into two core categories: street/social dance or competitive dance. Many pursue both, but there are just as many that pursue one exclusively.

One of the best ways to find what style of dance you want to learn is to hop onto Youtube and search dance styles. Below are a few key search terms you can use to start finding different styles that pique your interest:

  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Swing Dancing
  • West Coast Swing
  • Swing Jack and Jill
  • Country Dancing
  • Latin Dancing (e.g., Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, etc.)
  • Line Dancing
  • Tap Dancing
  • Ballet Dancing
  • Jazz Dancing
  • Tango Dancing
  • Troupe Performance
  • Shuffle Dance / Cutting Shapes
  • Fire Dancing
  • Improv Dancing / Freestyle
  • Hip Hop Dancing
  • Folk Dancing
  • Belly Dancing
  • Irish Dancing

These are just a SMALL number of the dance styles available out there. Have a look online and follow the breadcrumb trail on Youtube and find styles that catch your eye! You may find yourself spending hours watching dance styles or a particular style and that can be the catalyst you need to begin the process of learning to dance.

Finding the Confidence to Get Started

Fear is one of the most common reasons that people never take the first step to learn to dance. The great thing about fear, especially the fear of learning to dance, is that it’s both possible to overcome and it’s easier than you realize.

How to Start Learning to Dance

To the surprise of many, learning to dance is not that hard. Getting over the fear of learning to dance is often harder than the process of learning to dance. Depending on your dance style, there are a handful of different ways to begin learning to dance:

1.) Online Videos

Practically every style of dance you would want to learn has tutorials by amateurs and professionals alike online. Many of these can be found on Youtube with a simple search of “dance style” + “tutorial” or “how to” + “dance style.” Other online videos can be found on professionals’ websites, where you’ll typically find better content to learn from than those found on Youtube.

When you’re just getting started, finding a quick Youtube video can help you get a “feel” for the dance and get you moving in the comfort of your own home. This alone can be a great catalyst for starting the process of learning to dance.

The drawback to learning to dance through online videos is that you won’t know for certain whether you are learning “correctly” in that style as you are not receiving direct feedback from other experienced dancers.

2.) Local Dance Studios

Most cities have a dance studio for you to learn at. Many of these studios will specialize in a form of dance, such as ballroom dancing, swing dancing, contemporary dancing, hip-hop dancing, and more. Some studios have multiple programs available for a variety of different dance styles. Take the time to research what kind of dances you want to learn and how each studio operates. Every studio will have their own style of teaching, atmosphere for their community, may be private to members or open to the public, and other variables that will factor into your decision making.

3.) Local Dance Clubs

Dance enthusiasts and passionate dancers often start up a local dance club in their area around the style or category of dancing that they love. It may be solo dance styles, couples dancing, or group dancing. Dance clubs are often created out of a desire to have a community around a style of dance that they want to promote and see within their city or region.

Dance clubs may bring in local or regional professionals to help teach members of the club. If a club is newer, they may be run by the amateur dancing enthusiasts that want to spread the love they have for their chosen style of dance.

Dance clubs are an incredible way to meet people around a common interest and develop stronger friendships with people you enjoy. Dance communities are often inclusive and helpful for newer people looking to get into dance.

4.) Classes and Workshops

In your city or region you may find classes and workshops around certain styles of dance. These are often taught by dance studios/schools, dance clubs, or visiting professionals through local venues (fitness centers, libraries, coffee shops, etc.). Classes and workshops vary in duration and skill level where you will learn something new about the dance style being taught.

Depending on where you live, you may have a large selection of classes and workshops to choose from. Theses classes and workshops are also a great way to network with other dancers.

5.) Private Lessons

The quickest way to learn any dance style is to work directly with an experienced dance professional. Private instructors may work independently or may be a part of a dance studio/school. Find local dance instructors in your dance style by searching online for dance studios or independent instructors. Many instructors can provide instruction one-on-one, with a couple, or even a small group of aspiring dancers.

Each instructor varies in teaching style, dance expertise, pricing, availability, and more. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend any dance instructors or start searching online.

Start Dancing Today!

Whether you start by searching online, contacting a local dance studio, finding a club, or freestyling in the comfort of your own home, take your first step today and begin enjoying the many benefits of learning how to dance!

Increase your self-confidence, meet new people, enjoy a fun form of fitness, and more – learning to dance can be the start of a new life.


// Image by Ariel Peck (Ari Photography).

// Find more writing samples and information about working with me as a writer at austinpranger.com/writer.