6 Eye-Opening Ways Retaking a Class Makes You A Better Dancer
When you take a dance class as an adult, you are choosing to learn something for fun.
Unlike formal schooling, no one is grading you. Plus, you don’t have to take classes that you don’t find interesting.
To help you learn, dance classes are typically arranged into progressive levels. Each class level builds on the one before it.
But what many people don’t realize is–you don’t have to move to the next level right away.
You can retake a class a second time. Or even a third.
Since you are taking classes for fun, there’s no rush. In fact, you’ll likely get even more fun out of your dance classes if you take your time. Because why rush something that you enjoy?
Unlike traditional schooling, taking a class a second time doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
In the world of dancing, retaking a class has nothing to do with failing.
It has everything to do with mastering.
That’s what this blog post is all about.
Read on for 6 eye-opening ways retaking a class makes you a better dancer.
1. You Get Rid of the Fudging
The first time you take a new class your brain is in survival mode.
You’re seeing something new for the first time and trying it out.
It’s a blast, and it’s incredibly engaging for your brain.
You’re focused on things like:
What are the steps?
Does this look like the thing my teachers are asking us to do?
If you are like most people, you probably fudge a few steps to make everything work. (We all do it.) And that’s ok! Let the good times roll!
Now, imagine you take that same class a second time.
Your brain already knows the basic moves. So you can focus on getting rid of the fudging. You can make sure your moves are crystal clear.
So if you are feeling like you are fudging the moves a bit, taking a class a second time should help you sort that out.
2. You Get Better At Leading or Following
Let’s talk about this one next.
Learning a partner dance is like learning a language.
When you learn the language of swing dance, you can dance with anyone else who also knows this language. Even if you have never met, or danced together, before.
Leading and following skills are at the heart of this language.
Your classes teach both the moves AND the underlying leading and following skills that make the moves work.
The first time you take a class, you’re usually more focused on the moves.
The second time around, you have the mental space to think about the leading and following skills.
The prep a leader needs to give to set-up a move
The natural follow-through to that kind of prep
The type of connection you need before, during, and after a move
The tone in your body, and how your partner will interpret this
The proper frame (way of holding your torso) so that you can communicate clearly with your partner
And much more
The smartest dancers also think about how the lead and follow skills of a move apply in other similar moves. Over time you will see all sorts if/then connections in dancing. I.e. If I do X, then my partner will respond with Y (or something similar to Y). And if they respond with Y (or similar), then I can do Z. And so on.
There are unlimited combinations of these if/then scenarios. This is why when you master the lead and follow skills in dancing you never get bored.
So give yourself a second run of a class to really focus on the lead and follow skills.
3. You Get A Different Teaching Approach
Class material is usually set in advance at dance schools. This means if you take a class a second time you’ll cover the same material.
But here’s a secret–no two classes are ever exactly the same. Even if the material is the same on paper.
If you have different teachers the second time around–you will have a different experience. Even if the teachers are the same, you’ll notice they will vary their teaching methods.
Teachers have different ways of breaking down moves. Sometimes they will add bonus material for groups that are picking up fast. Or they will go more in-depth on a particular move or skill if the group is receptive or asks a good question.
Plus, they are always experimenting with different ways of teaching.
So when you take a class a second time around, part of the fun is seeing how the teachers deliver the material.
If something didn’t quite click for you the first time around, hearing it explained using different words might be all you need. You may even get a few new little things the second time around!
4. Make Sure You Look Good
Want to look good when you dance? Of course you do!
Once you have nailed down the moves, and lead and follow skills, it’s time to think about aesthetics–looking good.
Retaking a class is a great opportunity to focus on what you look like while doing those moves.
Since you already know the material you can pay attention to what your teachers look like when they dance a move. Then you can bring some self-awareness to how you look when you dance the same move.
You can think about things like:
Are you slouching?
Are your shoulders tilting or teapoting when you move?
What are your arms doing? Is it flattering?
What is your head position?
Is your posture too rigid?
When you look good you will feel more confident. You’ll also look better in the dance photos that someone will eventually take of you!
So if your goal is to look good when you are dancing, retake a class! Keep aesthetics in mind and you will learn something new.
5. You Meet More People
When you retake a class you get to meet a whole new group of people.
If you loved meeting everyone in your class the first time around, the second time around is no different.
But what if you love your original class group and many of them are moving to the next level? If you want to hang out with them you will feel like you need to move up too.
Consider two things:
You’ll always have your bond with your original class pals AND will still see them at social dances. Plus you’ll probably take another class with them eventually.
You can retake a class AND take the next level in the same season (so long as the classes are in different time slots)
So if you want to grow your social circle, retaking a class is a great way to form bonds with a whole new crew!
6. You Become A Role Model
When you retake a dance class you become a role model. The brand new people taking the class for the first time are going to benefit by you being there. Having already done the class once you are a bit further along in your dance learning journey.
As someone who has done it before, new dancers will have a better idea of what the dance should feel like when they dance with you.
I’m sure you love when there are more advanced leaders and followers in your group. When you retake a class you can be one of these people.
This helps everyone improve. You are improving. The new people in the class are improving. It’s a total win-win.
One note of caution: Just because you have taken the class before doesn’t mean you can start telling other people what they are doing wrong in the class. Let the teachers do the teaching. Role models don’t offer unsolicited coaching to their partners in class.
When you retake a class you are investing in becoming really good at this hobby.
Student Amanda L recently repeated Swing 0, and here is what she had to say:
“It’s not embarrassing in the slightest to retake a class. It doesn’t mean you didn’t ‘get it’ the first time around but just that you want to feel more confident and work on your basics! I think that it really made it easier for me to move on to Swing 1.1. Classes were slightly more fun because you were reviewing instead of learning a brand new technique so I wasn’t flustered. It was also interesting to meet new classmates. I would definitely recommend it!”
When you retake a class you are taking ownership of your learning.
You are showing that you are self-aware.
You are milking all the details out of each level.
And all these things are what make you a better dancer.
Inspired to repeat a class? LHR offers a 40% discount for retaking a class you have already taken. (Does not apply to Solo Jazz, Team Choreographies, or Balboa Discovery/Explorers). Keep an eye out for the discount code in your end of season class email OR contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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