You took the group classes, you stayed consistent with your lessons, and you even mastered that crazy move you found on YouTube. Believe it or not, you are still not a dancer yet. Do you want to know what the secret is to become a good dancer....? (Drum roll please)?
It's simple, GO DANCING!
Here are some great tips to help you become a better all-around dancer!
1. Dress to DANCE, not to impress.
This isn't a job interview, this is FUN, and this is dancing. Of course you want to look your best, but remember you are going to be shaking your groove thing, not sitting at the bar.
Ladies, if you go to a salsa venue make sure you twirl a few times in your mirror, at home, where no one can see you. Wearing skirts for salsa dancing is great but being aware that your "underoos" may show when moving on the dance floor. If that doesn't bother you, make sure to at least not to wear your "Granny Panty’s." Nobody likes those, have some fun ones to show off, if you dare!
As far as West Coast Swing events you will see a lot of jeans and baggy lose tops because the heels are usually lower. Find sexy top and some pants and you are good to go!
If your night has Lindy Hop on the agenda you can get away with wearing pants or a skirt but enjoy a comfy pair of shoes like Keds or Converse. Those seem to be pretty popular. With the jumps it makes it easier to not wear heels.
If its ballroom or a Milonga style party wear closed toe shoes. You will be cruising around the floor and nothing feels worst then getting your toe pounded on during a tango. Trust me lady's it happens, even to the best of us.
Guys, you have it a little easier than us in the dance fashion department. Be sure to wear something light, layers is the key. Even in the winter you are going to sweat, be prepared. Don't leave the house with out a spritz of cologne that stuff ROCKS!
For all dancers make sure you bring your shoes with you so you can change in to them. I know it feels weird changing your shoes at a bar but you don't want your dirty street shoes on their nice dance floor. Dance shoes are key to feeling good when you dance; don't skimp out buy yourself a good pair.
PS. A great tip is to put your street shoes on your chair or somewhere visible. I have seen many people walk out wearing their dance shoes, no Bueno when you can't find your really shoes for work the next day.
2. Put on your "Open for Dancing Sign"
Repeat after me "I will leave my cell phone in the car." Take a break from it, you don't need it. When you get inside pick a good spot to sit, preferably close to the dance floor. That's where the action is.
3. Piggy Bank those names
I admit it I am guilty of forgetting my dance partners names. Put them in your phone if you have to because you will see the same dancers at different venues and it's no fun trying to figure out what their name is AGAIN. It's common to ask someone their name while cutting a rug on the dance floor, but use it or lose it. When saying "thank you" at the end of the dance say "Thank you Bob for the dance." Trust me; it comes in handy when making new dance friends.
4. Check out all the studios, venues, and different dance styles.
No matter if you are a salsa dancer or a country line dancer we all have one thing in common, we love to dance. Get out and learn them all.
5. No partner, no problem
Some people think dancing is like horseback riding, you must have a horse to ride just like you must bring a partner to dance. That is sooooo not true. When you go dancing by yourself you are perfecting your lead and follow skills. I use to travel and when I did the first thing I would do is google places to dance. Once you get there its game on to see what moves you can follow and not feel intimidated.
6. Keep challenging yourself
Venues like to give away free things to lure you in whether its peanuts at the bar or a free dance classes. It's great to try new classes from different locations but if you find yourself always taking just the FREE classes it may be time to up your game. You can only learn so much in group classes, so take private lessons at a dance studio. I have been dancing for over a decade and I still continue my dance education. Invest in yourself and perfect your skill. It will pay off in the long run.
7. Chill out
Believe it or not it is okay to sit back and watch the dancing. You may even pick up some new dance tricks and gain some knowledge on the steps. Relax as much as you dance and you will find that will meet new dances and new influences!