Starting to dance is not easy. Going to classes, learning and doing what you are told to do is not so difficult, but more than a few beginners don’t get any further than that and never show up at a party, so they never actually dance socially. There are a few possible reasons for that: they don’t have anyone to go to a party with, they are embarrassed to dance in front of others or they started taking classes only to learn a new skill, which they’ll never use. A part of them expect to do all their dancing in class, but that isn’t the point of classes. The point is to learn a new step and lure the dancers to a party. Social dancing is the purpose of dancing classes. Social dancing is what Italy is for those who learn Italian. The only purpose of learning how to dance is social dancing. And the only way to learn to dance is by going out to parties and dancing.
In foreign language classes there are many people who don’t want to speak the language out of fear of making mistakes (and "embarrassing" themselves), so they wait until they master the language, and start to use it only then. The problem is that the moment they've been waiting for usually never comes. It’s the same with dancing.
It’s understandable that one doesn’t feel ready to go social dancing after just one or two classes. Social dancing can be a challenging social situation - but after a month of classes, there just aren’t any more excuses. By that time, you must have met someone in the class with whom you can talk for those uncomfortable 5-6 minutes at a party before you actually start dancing, or your desire for dancing will be too strong for you to be stopped by petty obstacles.
In the beginning, leaders are especially afraid as they think they don’t know enough, and therefore fear that they don’t have much to offer to followers. What they should keep in mind is that girls are very appreciative and really don’t need much to have fun. They will be content even with a leader doing basic steps during the whole song.
Without social dancing there is no progress.
Your body and head are very fucked up machines - they don’t have all possible moves preprogrammed. They have to learn and master all those new moves. The majority of steps you learned in a class are demanding for both the brain and the muscles. Muscles are unfamiliar with moving in new ways, while the brain finds it far more logical to move the arms the other, wrong, way. But if those moves are repeated over and over again, the brain eventually finds the logic in them, and the muscles memorise and learn them.
It is said that, if you want to be good at something, you need 10 thousand hours of practice. You’ll be a top pianist after 10 thousand hours of playing the piano, a top basketball player after 10 thousand hours of playing basketball, and a top skier after 10 thousand hours of skiing. It’s the same with dancing. Even alchemists believed that, to achieve the spiritual perfection and creating the so-called philosophical gold, you need to distil a substance
10 thousand times. The swing out isn’t any different.
The most valuable thing you achieve by social dancing is relaxation. Because only a move that has been repeated for 10 thousand times will be done in a relaxed manner. Only when it’s relaxed, it’s mechanical, you don’t have to think about it - and only then does the move start to look and, more importantly, feel good. Being relaxed while dancing is hard to achieve because it happens involuntarily; it can’t be learned, but it can be acquired - through
And just to wrap up the lesson, remember - if you are in an (unnecessary) dilemma whether you should learn to dance by attending classes or dance parties, the answer is always a party.