General Dance Discussion > HELP!! Extremely eager to learn dance, but have absolutely no idea where to start!!

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by BanaramaLlama, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. BanaramaLlama

    BanaramaLlama New Member

    Hey, so I'll give you the full story so you're in the know!

    I'm a 21 year old student from England (this is an international site, right?) and for quite a few months I've had only what I can describe as a burning desire to learn dance...

    I'm a guy and not the kind of person most people would naturally assume would want to dance as I'm passionate about martial arts (But Jean Claude Van Damme studied Ballet & Bruce Lee was an accomplished dancer!). I train 7 days a week (if possible) in several arts and I'm driven to pursuing them as far as I can!

    Here is where I start to hit problems:

    I currently cannot afford dance classes or even fit them in my timetable (most classes in my city run in the evening, which is when I train etc). But this is not what I need your help on...

    Where I need some guidance is that I know absolutely NOTHING about dancing, so I don't know which style I would want to learn to start with!

    I've asked around friends, friends of friends and other places going to absurd lengths to try and find someone who will be willing to have an honest chat with me about dance, or even teach me in their spare time- but I've have zero luck on that. Most people don't think I'm serious and quite a lot of women think I'm just wanting to 'learn' so I can get in their pants, thus not giving me the time of day.

    The internet is difficult to find info on, or maybe I'm just terrible at finding the gold but it suddenly dawned on me that a forum like this could give me a little help.

    So, I'm asking members to please comment and try to point me in the right direction. I'd say the reason why I want to dance is to improve my fitness, flexibility, coordination etc and all other skills that will translate into other areas of my life, especially the martial arts. Other than that dancing looks fun, in fact more than fun it looks beautiful and magical! When I see people dancing it just makes me want do it myself, something about expressing the body with movement! What I'm looking for is to study a dance that can enrich my life, that sounds so cliche, something quite fast paced, energetic and lively that I can truly involve myself in.

    I'm feeling frustrated almost because I have this burning desire, seriously it's like a fire inside that's just screaming to be let out! The last time I had this feeling was when I discovered martial arts, since then I've never looked back! But now I'm almost looking inside myself and not wanting to just think about fighting a person all the time. I love everything about the arts I learn, but I'm starting to think there is maybe a more purer (right word?) way to express myself rather than doing so through movements intended for combat.

    So finally, after all that... could you please comment and suggest where I should start on this road, what styles I should look into etc? Long well written answers would be greatly appreciated and much obliged. I've taken the time to write all this fairly personal stuff and it would be great to hear from people passionate about dance who can offer their expertise and knowledge in good faith.

  2. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Welcome here BL :)

    When I started out I didn't know anything about dancing either; a lot of people who start out don't. Now, the thing to do is find a ballroom studio in your area. A variety of dances are done and taught at these. Many studios give the option of taking group classes which are much less costly than privates which can run extremely high price wise. Don't know how things are done in the UK, but if you can find such a studio I would take classes for the different dances and you can decide for yourself which styles are right for you - Foxtrot, Waltz, Swing, the Latin dances such as Cha Cha, Mambo/Salsa, Rumba, Samba.

    You mention you have martial arts training and that's a plus; dancing does share some common elements with the martial arts. What styles and what level are you? I once did some Tae Kwon Do years ago.
  3. BenjaminT

    BenjaminT Member

    What do you really mean when you say you want to "dance?"

    If that's all you want to do, just do it, right now. If you want to dance with someone else, women specifically, it would help if you were actually honest about your desires (It doesn't have to be about dancing with other people, it can be anything from performing and certain styles of dance. Seriously, what do you really really want to do?) Otherwise, I'd say look up Modern and start from there.
  4. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    It's difficult to answer this, because you say you don't have the time or money to learn to dance. You're going to have to decide if you want to change your priorities. If MA remain your highest priority and you're not willing to compromise on the amount of time or money you spend doing that, and there's no room in your schedule or budget, I don't know what you want us to say. You could just go turn on the stereo and get jiggy with it, I suppose. You could search on YouTube for dance lessons and learn a few things, but if partner dancing is your goal, you're not going to get enough from videos to be able to dance with girls without making them miserable.

    If, however, you decide that learning to dance is a burning enough desire that you're willing to find time and money to do it, then find a studio with affordable group classes and go for it. Take different classes until you find something that resonates with you, and then maybe stick with that.

    Again, you could watch YouTube to see if you see something you like. In America, we have a show called So You Think You Can Dance--do you have something similar? It showcases several different dance styles each episode as part of a competition. Maybe if you have something similar there you can watch it and see if there's something you like.
  5. Ice Bucket

    Ice Bucket Member

    Hi there. :)

    I'm British too. I'm a beginner, so I can't offer much advice, but I can tell you what I'm doing. I have a ballroom and latin lesson once a week at a local dance studio, which I think is a really good way to get a feel for different dances. I can't speak for other styles (modern, salsa et cetera) because I've only got experience of ballroom and latin. They're group lessons, they last an hour and they're £7.50 each. I can empathise with the financial situation: I'd never be able to afford to do this on my own, but my current block of lessons was a present, for which I'm hugely grateful. I plan to ask for more lessons for Christmas. Have you thought about that as an option? If you're really committed, it's a way round the cost problem.
  6. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    This is a partner dancing forum, so most of the regulars here are involved in partner dancing of some sort. Ballroom, latin, salsa, swing, etc. If you are looking for fast paced and exciting in partner dancing you might look into latin (look up jive, cha cha, samba, and paso doble by Riccardo and Yulia on you tube for some examples of those dances at the top level) or various sorts of swing (there are several types including east coast, west coast, jitterbug, lindy, etc. I am not sure what is popular or available in England, but Lindy comes to mind as being fast paced).

    If you are 21 and already quite fit from martial arts and looking for dance to further improve your flexibility, fitness, etc, and are not particularly looking for partner dancing, you might want to look into modern, jazz or ballet. (As a guy studying those types of dance you are still likely to be around a lot of female dancers, and as you get more advanced I guess there could still be partnering involved. But those are not primarily partner dances, at least to start.)

    When you say you love dancing and have a burning desire to do it - what sort of dancing are you picturing? What sort of music? Can you find clips on you tube that show what it is you want to do? You will not be able to post clickable links as a new member here... but if you can describe what (or who) is dancing the way you want that will help us see what you are seeing in your head. You can also post you tube links, but add some extra spaces in them so they are not clickable. Readers who want to see what you've posted can copy and paste the links, take out the spaces, and go have a look. :)

    Good luck, hope you find a way to get dance into your life!
  7. BanaramaLlama

    BanaramaLlama New Member

    Sorry if I wasn't clear enough while writing that, it was 3 a.m and I was extremely tired! Just to state I am very much willing to sacrifice my days training in order to do this. It's something I'm genuinely wanting to do and don't want to look back and say "I wish I did that..." The money issue isn't much of a problem, within a month when I get a new job I'll be able to afford it easily! As I said, that's not what I need help on because I WILL FIND A WAY! :D

    So some of you have asked what kind of dance am I looking for, partner dancing or not and that if I really want to dance I should just get up and do it! I've never really thought of partner dancing... I think i would like some kind of solo dancing to be honest, something that I could practice anytime without needing a partner, but it would be good if partner dancing was an advanced level of that art.

    So what Raindance said: "modern, jazz or ballet. (As a guy studying those types of dance you are still likely to be around a lot of female dancers, and as you get more advanced I guess there could still be partnering involved. But those are not primarily partner dances, at least to start.)" sounds most like it's in my direction.

    As for if you just want to dance, get up and do it... If I just started dancing right now I'd probably just look like I was flailing, or doing a bad John Travolta impression.

    For those who wondered, I currently train in Boxing, Kickboxing mainly and do a little Wing Chun which I've done for 3 years all together. 3 years isn't a long time but when it's all I study and think about and do it 7 days a week, I've progressed very well!

    From what I've looked at Ballet seems the most interesting and appealing, isn't it supposed to be the root of all dance or something like that? My only hesitation about that is that I've heard it knackers your feet/toes in?

    I'll check out the modern and jazz solo dancing as well. Thanks for your replies, they have been helpful!
  8. BanaramaLlama

    BanaramaLlama New Member

    Oh I forgot to add...

    I want to dance yes, but it's not a superficial "I want to dance."- like, I feel like dancing right now. I want to learn the art of dancing and as a result, dance!

    ... If that makes sense?

    I'll try this analogy if it works:

    Like there's a difference between punching and boxing. Anyone can throw punch, just like anyone can get up and dance... but can they punch with skill? Can they use their body efficiently and effectively? Can they judge the timing right, the distance and speed of their opponent? Can they control their opponent, baiting him- using deception, feints, draws... can they control and cut off the ring? etc etc.

    Yes I want to dance... but I want to dance with excellence- THAT's why I want to learn!
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I think many of us here understand that burning desire to dance, and to do it with excellence. :)

    You might want to find a local studio that teaches several different styles so you can take a class in each for a month so you can find what you like. Ballet is a good foundation for all dancing. I do believe it's pretty hard on your feet, but probably not until later. Do men go on pointe? I want to think they don't, and that's what's really hard on the feet. For a beginner, it shouldn't be an issue.
  10. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    Here's the short of it:

    Any kind of male-female partner dancing. The male leads and the female follows.

    In my mind, that's the big split, Ballroom dancing and all other forms of dancing, because ballroom is so specific in that it's always a male/female partner dance.

    The other dances are solo or mostly solo, and they are

    JAZZ: Sort of broadway/theatrical

    HIP HOP: Urban, modern music dancing. Watch "Step Up" or ABDC on MTV and you'll get it.

    TAP: Do I really need to describe tap? Making music with your feet, by tapping a lot.

    BALLET: Again, do I really need to describe ballet?

    BOLLYWOOD: Again, pretty self explanatory, the kind you see in bollywood movies

    and those are the main large groups that are frequently taught and practiced in modern times and aren't highly specific ethnic dances.

    I would strongly recommend Ballroom dancing classes, for the social aspect of it. Here in America, we've got tons of hispanic immigrants, and they all love their latin dances. I intend to also learn to speak Spanish (which is not really about the dancing, just generally a good idea and because I work construction). My salsa dancing alone will do it, but salsa and speaking spanish will open up a whole new world of people (and women :D) to me. And in general, women like dancing. At the least, it's something to connect with which to connect with people, even as simple as a conversation starter, or something to invite someone to (my other most recent thread can attest to that).
    It's also really fun in general. you're moving to music. In general I like physical activities, so it's fun for me. Maybe you're like me and you'll find it fun; I also work out like a mad man.
    It's also fun because there's a sexual/play aspect to it. There's this young couple I saw at a swing dance social once, they were really good, and god damn they looked like they wanted to eat each other, and also there was that passionate, romantic look they were giving each other (it was a little bit of both, sexual/romantic). It's a great way to have fun with a girl, and I figure it's a great way to keep a couple together (which can be a mental struggle once you start raising a family, which can be very fatiguing and stressful).
    More on that, as the lead, you'll be moving and pushing the girl around, it goes so far that ideally a very experienced lead can get someone dancing who knows barely any dancing, just by pushing her around right. All that pushing around can be very stimulating to a woman, I don't know a woman who wouldn't like to be pushed around for an hour, if you get my drift ;). Hell, what do you think a dip is? These women need something to remind them that they want it too
    And in general I think it's beautiful like that in an ancient, deep-seated, Jungian sort of way. The man the lead, the woman the follow, one couple, together. It's as old a time.

    As for the time/money thing... What I do is work out in the morning, then lesson in the evening. I'd be into martial arts too, but they don't have classes in the morning, and half the studios don't even open that early, and I can't imagine that martial arts is the sort of thing that can be taught one-on-one with the instructor like dancing can (I take private lessons). So what I do is boxing training, usually they DO wake up early enough to train you in the morning, and it's an intense enough workout to count as my workout. And boxing is like 90% physical training, so, I don't need to be taking any classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays at my boxing studio they have a couple old boxers come and show proper technique and they have sparring if you're ready for it, so I do that since I can catch the Tuesday sometimes. And frankly, I've seen martial arts training, and I'm betting this boxing is a lot more real-life effective. You boxing train, your hands get REALLY fast and hard when the gloves are off (the gloves wiegh about a pound, which is a lot). Of course, it completely neglects grappling, but I mean ideally you wouldn't want to get into grappling in a real fight if you don't have to. Hell, you don't even want to be in a real fight. Anyway, I dunno, the point is boxing training is what's worked for me in terms of studying a martial art, since I can do it as a workiout in the morning, 1-2 times a week, when my shoulders aren't sore from the wieghtlifting the rest of the week.

    If you're ever in NYC (Or preferably New Jersey), I'd be glad to show you some dancing, describe it to you. Just PM me on this and I'm pretty sure it goes to my email
  11. BenjaminT

    BenjaminT Member

  12. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    OK, I read your posts more thoroughly

    As for dancing and physical training... Pheh. I don't find it to be any real kind of workout. It's just light cardio. People who don't work out call it a work out, but it's not. If you train like me, and it sounds like you do, you won't find it that physically challenging.

    However, the form can be challenging at first. I had been trained in powerlifting, and the form in that is very deliberate and symmetrical, and in general most working out is very... I dunno, straight-line. With ballroom/latin dancing, I was amazed at how quickly I had to shift my weight. I was NOT used to shifting my weight that much that fast. I got used to it eventually, but it felt weird at first

    It is a huge MENTAL workout. HUGE. When I'm learning, my brain is buzzing. To know all my steps, every little detail, AND lead her, use all the peoper signals, is mentally challenging. I remember I was at a social dance once, and I was talking to this guy about the mental challenge, and I was like "they should do a study, because when you play chess..." and I was going to tell him about how chess lowers your risk of alzheimer's, presumably because you're exercising your brain, but he cut me off and said "they did, yeah, it lowers your risk of alzheimer's" So that's pretty cool. I can't stand chess or other similar games, but dancing will always be there for me for some cognitive exercise. Dancing's actually fun.

    Price: Ballroom Lessons can be expensive. Private lessons start at like $70 US /hr, and can easily be $90/hr. In my case, I only got $70/hr by buying a package, so that's going to be $500/month 3 months. Yikes! Even the group lessons add up.

    Oh and of course you want to be amazing at it and have great form. Yeah, that's what I figured when I started/still figure, that it's only REALLY fun when you're REALLY good. It's still fun of course, but you know what I mean. But it's a long learning curve, so it'll take a lot of time. Life tends to get in the way, I can only take my lessons so frequently, and I can tend to forget in between. The worst part is I don't manage to get a lot of practice. I live out of two places an hour apart from each other so I don't have a lot of time.
  13. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    LOL, come on, man. At the very least it can't hurt.
  14. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    oh yeah, I guess I should say it certainly works on me... Dancing can make me... frisky
  15. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Are you saying you get turned on sexually by dancing?
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    let me be very clear that not all women like being pushed around the dance floor....
    additionally, dance can be mild cardio at times, and it can be intense cardio at times, it can also have moments of stengthening and of flexibility....alot of that depends upon the level one is at and the specific to whether or not dance is a sensual experience, that also depnds upon a variety of factors
  17. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Maybe you could try both. There is a lot of cross over between both worlds; I've met many ballroom dancers who have also done Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop...

    And many who have also trained in the martial arts. Do you plan on competing as a boxer or kick boxer?
  18. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Isn't Larinda a black belt? Someone should point her this way, she could probably give some pretty specific advice.
  19. fayeh

    fayeh Member

    Any type of dancing has been proven to increase flexibility and coordination. However, ballroom dancing (couple dancing) works your cognitive ability to a higher level by making both the left and right hemisphere of your brain work at the same time. Your brain needs to learn to steps of each figure, your brain needs to put all the steps together in some sort of routine, your brain needs to tell all your muscles how to walk into those figures and how to lead the lady, and finally, in any social dancing situation, your brain is required to make immediate fast decision to change direction or dance routine to avoid bumping into another couple.

    Other types of solo dancing does not make your brain work on the last part of the above description. You learn a piece, you put the music on and you dance that piece of choreography. In couple dancing whether in social or competitive environment, your brain is constantly evaluating the situation to decide if 1)continue with the pre-determined routine or 2) change it to avoid another couple.

    As for time and money, if you are serious about learning couple dancing, I believe that it is important to make time to learn this activity. If you already don't have time because your time is filled up by martial arts, maybe you can cut down 1 day of martial arts and learn dancing instead. The money that you spend on that day of martial arts will be put towards the dance class instead. I'm not sure how much martial arts lessons cost but dancing is quite expensive, even group classes.

    Staying in shape: social dancing gives you a peaceful workout. You stay in movement but not much cardio work. In the beginning, your arms might be painful as you might not be used to holding your arms in certain position for long periods of time (standard dances). However, if you are looking for staying in shape and having a good workout, competitive dancing is where I will point you to. You train at the gym and on the dance floor. Your competition day will provide you with both aerobic and anaerobic exercises!
  20. tancos

    tancos Active Member

    As I read these posts it seems that a lot of people are trying to steer BL into their favorite forms of dancing. In particular there have been comments that this is a couple dance forum (Isn't this the General Dance dicussion thread?) and that only couple dances use both sides of the brain. Granted that leading or lifting a partner definitely helps with upper body strength, but solo dances are not necessarily choreographed (I teach Hungarian folkdances including very athletic mens' solo dances).

    Before BL does anything else he should decide if he wants to dance simply to improve his agility and coordination or because he wants to develop the ability to work in tandem with another person.

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