Mistakes are an important part of life. Albert Einstein said that a person who’s never made a mistake is a person who’s never done anything new. How boring that would be! Mistakes show you where your boundaries are. They let you know what you need to improve. In life, your mistakes are often more important than your successes.
That said, here at Arthur Murray we have a century of dancing and teaching experience to draw on, and we have a short list of mistakes that we can confidently suggest that you avoid. Here are three errors that we hope you will never make.
Not dancing enough.
It may sound cliché that a dance studio advises you to dance more, but we really can’t emphasize this enough. Becoming a good dancer is about layering. You learn a pattern. Then you repeat it enough times that it becomes natural—what people call “muscle memory.” Once you reach that point, you add the next layer: following the correct rhythm or adding a styling, for instance. If you haven’t done enough repetitions of the basic version, you will have trouble when you try to add the next layer. In this case, quantity definitely does equal quality, and practice makes perfect.
Also, most benefits of dance come from the sheer amount and frequency of dancing. The more you dance, the more exercise you get. The more often you dance, the more often your mood is elevated by the release of dopamine and serotonin that rhythmic movements bring. The more often you’re on the dance floor, the more likely you are to meet other dancers whom you may click with. You’re unlikely to ever dance too much, but you can easily dance too little.
Taking it too seriously.
The early American craftsman Elbert Hubbard said, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.” That’s taking things too seriously. No matter how good you are, someone will manage to be better. And no matter how bad a slip-up may feel, the chances that anyone is watching right at that exact moment are tiny. “Dance like no one is watching,” because they likely aren’t watching—they’re checking their smartphones.
We’re not suggesting you always be casual about dancing; there’s a time and a place for seriousness. The only standard is whether or not you’re better than you were the last time, and that comes mostly from consistency. As long as you’re learning and practicing regularly, you can’t help but improve. Ultimately, dancing is fun, and if you take it too seriously, you risk losing the sense of enjoyment. Ask your instructor about The Curve of Learning—that will explain more.
One of the best things about dancing is that it’s not skydiving. No one ever goes splat. Like the line from Scent of a Woman says, “There are no mistakes in the tango, not like life… If you make a mistake, get all tangled up, just tango on.”
You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to learn from them. If you’re afraid, you’ll hesitate, and that hesitation will cause even more mistakes. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
If you’re ready to face your fears and jump into the exciting world of social dance, click the CONTACT US link, and we’ll sign you up for your exciting complimentary first lesson. If you’re not quite ready yet, just subscribe to this blog and let us continue to entertain you with fun facts about the wonderful world of dance. We look forward to seeing you on the dance floor!