At social dance events, you’ll always see that couple who appears to have been dancing together forever. They’re doing lifts, turns and complicated steps, and they tear up the dance floor on every song. If you’ve never danced before, your first thought might be, “I could never do that.” But we spoke with Vanessa Cheeks, the studio manager of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Rochester, N.Y., and she said not only is that mind-set incorrect, but it can hold you back from having an amazing time. If you’re wondering what your first visit to a Fred Astaire Dance Studio would be like, read on!
Vanessa knows firsthand that many people who step into a dance studio for the first time aren’t sure of what to expect, so she does her best to alleviate any doubts.
“Every time a new person walks through our doors, the first thing I do is show them around the studio and introduce them to all of the instructors and students,” Vanessa said. “We want our first-timers to feel comfortable and welcome, and this helps get rid of some of the nerves people usually have on their first time.”
A big concern among many first-timers is how to prepare for the class. Many people like to take a class right after work, which Vanessa says is fine. Clothing can be anything from business clothes to casual, as long as they fit and allow for movement. As for shoes, sandals and athletic shoes don’t work well, so instructors recommend shoes with a slight heel for women and leather shoes for men. She also recommends that first-timers come ready to learn, and turn off the voice in their head that says dance isn’t for them.
Vanessa explained that most first-timers tend to fear they won’t have the skill to learn how to dance. But she has seen even the most reluctant and fearful participants turn into ballroom naturals by the end of the class. It all has to do with the ability of the instructor and the atmosphere of the class. By the end of each class, Vanessa says, everyone is having fun, and many people are doing moves they thought looked too hard to even attempt.
For students who aren’t yet sure that ballroom dance is their thing, Fred Astaire Dance Studios offer introductory programs, which are a sampling of classes to let them see what the classes are like. These will usually include at least one group class and one private lesson, so dancers can try both. Talk to an instructor or anyone at the front desk to get more information on what your location offers!
Ballroom dancing can be an exciting and fun social activity, and first-timers should never let fear hold them back from the experience. Vanessa’s biggest piece of advice for a first-timer is to just jump right in and try dancing, instead of letting fear keep you from trying it. So if you’ve ever wondered if ballroom dance might be your thing, give your local Fred Astaire Dance Studio a call and see if it sounds like the place for you!