Typically when you are first learning anything that is foreign or new, it is very easy to get trapped in your own head. When a subject or hobby is new, a lot of times we are unsure of the questions to ask. Even when we know the questions to ask, we are not sure if the question is a reasonable question or a dumb question. When learning how to dance it is so important that your teacher asks you questions such as what you like, don’t like and ultimately how you would like to dance. It is also very important for you to ask questions like what you should or should not be doing, and in general, to clear up any confusion you might be feeling. Outside of feeling like your question is dumb, a lot of times we do not know the questions to ask of our teacher, but we know something doesn’t quite feel right.
Here are 10 questions all new students should ask their teacher when they start dancing, regardless of whether or not you feel dumb asking!
How is this dance preparing me for my event or goal?
This is a great one to ask because your teacher has a plan to help you achieve what they believe you want and sometimes they will make you do things that you might feel are counter to your ultimate goal. This is not a dumb question so definitely ask this one!
Why should I go to group class when I’m so new?
This is a reasonable question. Ask this to get in line with your teacher's goals for you and find out why group class can benefit your learning.
Why should I go to this particular group class?
If you know this, it will better prepare your mind for what you should take away from the class.
My teacher scheduled me for the party, but am I advanced enough to attend a party?
If you don’t feel ready, find out why your teacher thinks you are. Also ask “How to best prepare for the party?” to help alleviate any worries.
Why am I learning all these dances?
This question will uncover not only the purpose of those dances but what your teacher sees you achieving through the knowledge of those dances.
Am I making progress?
It’s very easy to get down on yourself when you are first learning how to dance, because dancing itself can be so alien to everything you have ever done before. Ask this to get a better idea from your teacher of where you are and where you are going.
Why does this not feel right?
Again when you are first learning how to dance it is important that your teacher outlines the stages of learning so you can start to gage what “feels right” feels like and what to expect when a concept is new.
Why am I using my lessons so fast?
When learning something new, frequent repetition is key. What will also help this is asking your teacher and New Student Director for an idea of what you should be able to do in the coarse of your initial lessons.
How do I relax or loosen up when I dance?
I love this one because this is what every amateur teacher tells every new dancer when the club is jumping and anxiety for the new dancer is at it’s highest! The same way you did not relax or loosen up when you first rode a bike, drove a car or met someone REALLY important, you are not going to relax and loosen up when you first are learning to dance. A better question to ask would be “When will I feel I can relax or loosen up when I dance?”
Why am I taking lessons with multiple teachers?
When you are new to something that makes you feel self-conscious, the one thing you are looking for is something comfortable and a familiar face you are connected to can give you that. When a studio is running effectively, the teachers are constantly talking and learning about how to best serve the needs of each student. Be sure to ask your teacher why they have suggested a secondary teacher and what you should gain from them.
When you are new to anything, it is so hard to know what to think or feel and what are the norms of this new environment, so the best thing you can do is put the fear of sounding ignorant to the side and ask. For those that are new, what are some questions you were unsure to ask? And for more advanced dancers, what are some questions you wish you asked earlier?