We frequently get the question, “When should I start social dancing?” Our answer is always the same. Do it immediately.
You don’t need be a professional, you don’t need to be advanced, you don’t even need to have done a salsa class before to participate. Of course the more you know, the easier it will be to get started, but don’t let a lack of knowledge stop you from going out for a night of dancing.
If you get out there and are willing to try, even though you haven’t had a formal lesson, you’re more than welcome to do so. Don’t be worried about what people will think of you. If you run into someone who isn’t friendly with you because you’re a beginner, well, don’t sweat it because why would you want to dance with someone like that anyways?
By going social dancing, you get to cultivate the things you learn in classes. And the sooner you do that, the better. I totally understand about being a nervous newcomer and being afraid of what people might think. Being a perfectionist myself, I struggled with that too. The fear of being judged held me back. The sooner you can get over that, the better. Just tell yourself, “Hey, I’m doing this because it’s fun, I enjoy it, and it’s my chance to practice and get better.”
If that’s your incentive, then who cares about all the other little things? That’s not to say that you won’t experience some discomfort but, hey, discomfort means you’re experiencing growth.
Generally, most dance communities will have some non intimidating parties or social nights to go to. And usually most socials will have a complimentary lesson to take before the night of dancing starts. If you’re a newcomer or an experienced beginner, I highly recommend doing these lessons. They’re very social, you get to learn a couple new steps, but more importantly, you get to meet people, get exposure to them and get to see how nice everyone is. After that, the ice is broken and it’s so much easier to approach them later on. Even if they’re more advanced than you, once you’ve seen how nice they are, it’s far easier to ask them to dance later.
If you’re a newcomer, try setting a goal. Goal number one for your first week out social dancing is participating in the complimentary lesson before each night of dance.
Your second weeks goal could be asking one person to dance and then, after that, you’re free to go home. For week three you could work on asking two people to dance and so forth.
Ultimately, the sooner you get over the fear of making mistakes and start focusing on the positive side of things, the sooner you’ll start running towards the things you want to achieve rather than running from the things that make you scared and uncomfortable.
Don’t do what I did. I was a scaredy cat and it took me over a year before I went out social dancing. All of my fellow class mates went out way sooner and they grew much much faster than I did. Don’t do what I did.
Get out as soon as you can and experience what social dancing has to offer.
All the best and good luck!