BY Rachel Wilton

I danced from when I was a child to my early teens. 

I was never the best, but I loved it and I’ve recently been thinking about getting back into it (although probably not in the same outfit as this Jungle Book-esque getup circa 2003).

Whether you’re returning to dance, starting from scratch, or somewhere in between, it can be a daunting prospect. However, with the right tips you’ll be groovin’ in no time.

Here are five keys to starting dance lessons as an adult.

1. Gather A Crew

The first step to starting dance classes is to get excited about it, whether you’re doing it by yourself or with a crew.

If possible, get some friends on board, as starting something new is always less daunting when done in a group. Get them thinking about all the positives and amazing health benefits; mental, physical and social! Dancing is a bunch of fun, and even better when you can have a laugh with each other.

If you can’t rally a team though, don’t fret. Going by yourself is an awesome step towards getting out of your comfort zone, making new friends, and gaining self-confidence!

2. Look Around

It’s important to find somewhere that holds classes ~appropriate~ for your level. You do you, but it could be awkward if you’re stuck with the golden oldies, or the preteens. Or worse… the pro’s. Jump online and find somewhere that has classes specifically for beginners and/or adults.

Once you’ve found a dance school, how do you find a style?

There are so many styles of dance it can be really hard to decide which one is for you. A good place to start would be to identify what you’re looking to get out of the class. Be it fitness, better posture or the social side of dance, some styles will suit you more than others.

Due to the fact that we are uni students and most likely poor AF, try and find somewhere offering a discounted first class, or better yet – a free trial (just in case you hate it)! Once you’re set on your class, see if you can lock down somewhere that offers a discount for buying lessons in bulk (e.g. a term at a time).

3. Lose Yourself (In The Music)

In the words of T-Swizzle, one of the keys to dancing is just to “shake it off”. Getting out of your head, and consciously deciding not to be embarrassed is one of the most important steps. It might be cliché, but this is where ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ is quite literally applicable.

Just remember that everyone in the class is most likely a beginner, and feels just as awkward as you. Most people are trying so hard to remember the steps that if they’re looking at you it’s probably only to copy. However, if you’re super nervous about starting, you could chuck on a few dance-inspired songs (think Let’s Get Physical, Can’t Stop the Feeling, Bust a Move, or Just Dance) and practice in your room.

You could even seek out a dark class, where the lights are low and the music is loud. Yes, they exist in forms that aren’t Zumba - unless that’s your thing! There are plenty around Sydney, where you can dance in a non-judgmental and non-threatening zone.

4. Fake It Til You Make It

To get yourself in the mindset you could buy yourself a new pair of dance shoes, or even a new outfit to wear. This will mark the occasion and help you to exude confidence. Even if you’re the worst dancer in the class, you’ll be the best dressed.

As with most things, fake it til you make it.

This is one of the keys not only to dancing, but to life! If you have no idea what you’re doing, just pretend that you do - you’ll look the part and boost your confidence. It’s Psych101 that giving off the vibe of confidence can actually help you to become more confident.

5. Just Dance!

At the end of the day - reading about dancing isn’t as good as the real thing. So dive in!

Once you’ve perfected a few moves, or even if you just want some more practice, head to a club on a Friday night with your pals and shake what your mama gave you. You could even go to the Roundhouse’s upcoming Toga Party (which you can find more about here).

If you need any more tips, ask Renata Bliss, your freestyle dance teacher (LOL).

Rachel is a music, book and chai latte enthusiast studying Arts/Education. You can usually find her searching for the perfect gluten free feed, listening to Spotify (unaware of how loud she's singing along), or watching Netflix with her pup Winston. 

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