Trying a Class for the First Time?

Maybe you’re thinking of trying a dance class for the first time but are feeling a bit nervous. Maybe you’ve never danced before and this is your year for trying something new? Well, I’ve been going to dance classes for several years now, but it’s still scary to turn up at something new where you don’t know anyone, or you’re unsure of your abilities. A friend told me recently that she and her SO want to learn Salsa dance. They went along, got to the door and then chickened out and went home again. I’ve done the same thing myself before, so I’ve put together some tips for getting yourself through the studio door:

Find a class specifically for adults

Mixed age classes are great if you’re feeling confident and already have dance experience, but a class for adults will be understanding of how adults learn and adapt, and you’re less likely to feel daunted. Adult learning colleges are excellent at this! They also tend to run in terms, so there are regular points in the year where there are lots of new people, like you, starting at the same time.

I tried a few classes in the past which were advertised as being for ‘adults’, but in reality the age was 16+ and the class was clearly aimed at the younger ones. I felt like a giant with extra-long limbs who couldn’t do what they were doing and exited asap.

Contact the teacher beforehand

It’s a good idea to contact the teacher or school to find out more about the class, including the level. They will answer any questions you may have, they might even recommend a different class, level or school, or give you a free trial. Linked to that:

Find out if there’s a dress code

Some classes have a dress code, but many adult classes are relaxed, as long as you’re wearing appropriate footwear. It’s best to find out what to wear so you don’t splash out on expensive leotards unnecessarily. I wear leggings and layered vests for tap, ballet and jazz. I did start ballet in leotard and ballet skirt, but my adult college class had a relaxed dress code; the only thing was to remove jewellery. (I remember once a guy came in dripping in heavy silver necklaces and rings. The teacher asked him to remove them. Said guy walked out!!)

Get there early

I don’t mean an hour early, but get there so you’re not rushing and stressed before going in. Give yourself time to use the facilities, find the studio or room, stretch, fill up your water bottle etc.

Smile and say hi

Whenever I go to a new class I make sure to acknowledge other people, smile and say hi. It goes a long way. People tend to reciprocate and you often find it a nicer atmosphere. It also helps to make other newbies feel welcome and contributes to forming relationships with your classmates. There will always be people who are stand-offish or cliquey, but on the whole it makes a friendlier class that you can look forward to.

Take a friend with you

Persuade a friend, colleague or family member to go with you as moral support!

Any other tips to add?

What have your experiences been when trying a dance class for the first time?

I’m going to an Interior Design one day course in London on Friday… I will be applying some of these tips! 😬

Hot Lunch

Last year I was in survival mode trying to get through to the finishing line of moving house and I gave into frothy coffees, chai lattes and comfort foods. Amazing what stress and lack of sleep does to you.

Now I’m trying to get back on track with healthier eating and making lunch rather than buying. (I’m good with bulk prepping evening meals, but not lunch so much – I get bored quickly!) My lunch of the month is homemade stir fried rice, having got the idea from a meal prep blog that I follow.

My rice dish is basically:

  • Basmati rice (cooked a few hours before)
  • Chicken or lean pork
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chilli flakes

When they’re all prepped for the week I’m not tempted to buy anything out. OH YEAH

Home Dance Studio

During my week off work I finally got to set up my home dance studio/gym in the garage! Now I have somewhere to practise tap dance 😀👍👍

It is a great space because the people who owned the house before had installed electricity for lights and heating, plus a proper door from the garden and a window, which brings natural light. There is also plenty of light from the transparent roof.

The studio is comprised of the following:

  • Interlocking foam floor tiles (wood effect)
  • 3 over-the-door mirrors (around £14 each from The Range)
  • Cube unit for storing dumbbells etc
  • Foldaway ballet barre
  • Tap board
  • Motivational posters
  • Plants

I had attached some red ‘Dance’ lettering to the wall above the mirrors, but it fell down and broke overnight, so I need to find a way fix it and try to attach it more securely.

The next task is to get rid of the rest of the furniture sitting at the other end of the garage!

I’m so pleased with it because I was getting kind of frustrated with having nowhere to practise other than in the corridors and toilets at work. Yay!

Has anyone done anything similar?

The Beast

Glow in the Dark Heart Duffle Bag by Capezio

Sadly I’m missing my lunchtime tap class today because the UK has been experiencing wintry weather from Siberia, dubbed the ‘beast from the east’. Rather than join the chaos of road, rail and tube travel, plus this ‘Storm Emma’ that is about to take hold later today, I just decided to stay put and work from home, seeing as I can. Still, I do love a snowy scene!

This weekend we’re off to Birmingham (yes, another weekend away) to watch the World Indoor Athletics Championships at the NIA! Hopefully.

I’ve been practising the first part of our tap routine that we learnt last week, which strangely enough, I have been able to remember! All of it! I actually think the quick-fire method of learning at Tap Dance Festival UK a few weeks ago might have something to do with it because you’re forced you to pick things up quickly and not think about it but just do it.

 

Added to this I’m also trying to clear my schedule, slow down, make life a bit simpler and have the head space to remember things like routines! I’ve had my finger in too many pies lately, so I decided to make a list of all the things I’m doing or am involved in (work, commuting, my soap biz, HR studies, dancing, blogging, church, redecorating…) and then see what I can cut out, reduce or change. So far I’ve closed a blog (on Interior Design), am only doing one dance class a week rather than 2 back-to-back, and I’ve decided not to pursue Interior Design as a career (however, I will be going to a one off Interior Design Experience Day in May, where a delicious lunch will be provided ;-))

Anyone else have the tendency to over-commit? Too many classes? Too many ideas?

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Always helps 🙂

 

A Bit of Viewing

On Sunday night I happened to catch Darcey Bussell’s New Dance on BBC2. In case you haven’t heard of her, Darcey Bussell was a principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet at the age of 20, and now retired, is currently president of the Royal Academy of Dance and a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

Here she introduces us to innovative modern dance, with jaw dropping performances by Boy Blue Entertainment (award winning hip hop dance) and Le Patin Libre (amazing contemporary ice dance).

I enjoy watching Strictly, but it is more of a crowd-pleasing type of show, so it’s nice to see some fresh expressions of modern, contemporary dance on mainstream television. There are some fabulous artists out there.

If you can, catch up on BBC iplayer:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09qjl7l/darcey-bussells-new-dance

It’s available for 27 days.

Get Organised

Before…

I was scrabbling about Tuesday evening trying to find my leggings and a long enough top to wear to tap class this week and it was obvious that my dancewear drawer was a mess. I haven’t really sorted it out or purged since moving house and I probably have too many tops and not enough bottoms, leggings especially.

So, how did I sort it out?

1. I got everything out of the drawer.

2. I refolded or rolled up each item of clothing and put it back apart from items I wasn’t enthusiastic about anymore (or were ill fitting). Rolling saves a lot of space.

3. I grabbed an empty shoe box and placed it in the drawer to section off a bit for dance tights, sports bras, foot thongs etc.

The result?

After!

Hopefully it will be easier to grab what I want next week 😀

Next I should invest in a couple more pairs of black leggings.

Nominated 

I am chuffed to have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award! I have always loved writing, so naturally I ended up starting a blog about my dance pursuits, especially now that I’m learning to tap dance.

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma and I love the idea behind it of highlighting all the unknown blogs and creative writers out there: https://www.okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/

I would like to thank Dorky Dancing for nominating me! She writes a great dance blog and is my most enthusiastic follower. I enjoy reading her posts about all the different dance classes she’s doing.

Here is a list of the rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three facts about me:

1.  I work in Human Resources but also make and sell soap in my spare time
2.  I have a degree in English Literature but am also qualified as a fitness instructor
3.  I have a cat from Essex called Ruby who is 3 years old and I believe is a (part?) Norwegian Forest Cat. She has a very fluffy bottom and she pops up in the blog every now and then!

Your Questions Answered:

1. If you were a soup, which flavour of soup would you be? Spicy pumpkin – I’ve been told I’m warm and comforting

2. What causes you to doubt yourself? Overthinking – just do it!

3. If time, money, distance, relationships and education were not an issue, what would be your dream job? I would be an interior designer, like Kelly Hoppen. Other than that
I would love to run my handmade soap business full time. Beach-side. In a warm climate.

4. What does your dream house look like? It sounds extremely cheesy but I feel like I moved into my dream house when I moved in November. It’s a Victorian terraced house; old and wonky, but I love it. Other than that, it would be house with a verandah and a dance studio!

Verandah
That’ll do

5. What dance move or style would you like to master? I would LOVE to master tap dance – it’s quite hard, especially beginning in adulthood and there’s so much to learn! Another thing would be a pirouette – so far I’ve only really ever done the preparation steps.

Pay it Forward

I don’t follow too many blogs, but here are the ones who I enjoy reading and also deserve this accolade of nomination:

  • Dorky Dancing – she was very kind to nominate me and I really enjoy reading her posts about her dancing and the classes she attends. She has a great sense of humour too!
  • Adult Ballerina Project – the first ballet blog I started reading when I was trying Ballet classes for the first time. She hasn’t posted in a long time because I think she decided to stop writing it, but there’s loads to read about the ballet journey as an adult beginner. Inspired me to start a dance blog.
  • On The Way to the Barre – loads of ballet chat and tips, and nice photos. She also has a cat.
  • Ballet.to – a very honest ballet blog written by May to inspire others having a go at Ballet.
  • Dance your Buns Off – another ballet blog. Lots of  helpful tips and I like reading the interviews with professional dancers.
  • Tweed and the Beard – a non-dance blog all about food and meal prepping! I love food and cooking, so I enjoy reading her posts, especially when it comes to lunchbox ideas. She started following me fairly recently.

5 questions for my nominees:

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. What would you most like to achieve in 2018?
  3. What is your favourite song, like ever?
  4. What is your favourite dance step or move?
  5. Which animal would be your Harry Potter Patronus? (Mine is a cat obvs)

And finally, check out my post about my day at Rambert’s Adult Contemporary Summer Intensive 2017!