5 Beginner Club Dance Tips
If you've decided to become a better dancer and make going out to clubs or social events more enjoyable, starting out can be pretty intimidating. You're more self-conscious and at times, feel like you'd rather hide in a corner. Here are some tips to maximize your learning curve and get you moving forward.
1. Smile/Genuinely Have Fun
Standing around and looking tough is for bored tweens in a suburban skate park. This is the easiest thing you can do that will get you better results. If you're not in a good mood, at least you're faking it until you make it subconsciously. You'll dance longer and feel energized to dance the next time around. I wrote a full post about smiling here.
2. Don't Look At Your Feet
You hear this for any sport that involves your feet - skiing, skateboarding, tae kwon do. The same applies for dancing.
It's easy to get self-conscious while dancing, especially if you've decided to move out of your comfort zone. Looking at your feet averts eye contact with people who "might" be watching you fumble your new moves and shows lack of confidence. The reality is that unless you're in a dance competition, no one really cares. Practice your moves, fumble a bit, try again. Feel free to ask friends or strangers how your dancing looks. Just keep your head up.
3. Don't Bounce too Much
Often times a song is too fast in the night club and you can't do a basic two-step to the song. You have to dance to every other beat or half time. This is better explained in a video lesson, but essentially, suppose a fast dance song has 4 beats (1-2-3-4) repeated over and over again.
For a basic two-step, you step left on 1 and step right on 3. On beats 2 and 4, you're pausing or doing an inside kick, with the right foot then left foot respectively.
What I see many of my students do is they bounce their heads and/or bodies on every beat, which for most nightclub songs, looks too bouncy. For a two-step, bounce only on 2 and 4, and the dance looks much smoother. If you're bouncing to keep rhythm, try subtly snapping your fingers or padding a hand against your hip instead.
4. Practice In Front of a Mirror
Practicing in front of a full mirror is a great way to iron out awkward movements, such as the bouncing mentioned in the previous tip. This will also help you looking away from your feet.
Sometimes you won't be able to see the awkward movements because as a beginner, you may be too focused on keeping rhythm. In that case, recording yourself is also a good idea, especially for advanced movements. There are so many inexpensive devices out there such as digital cameras, phones, and webcams that there's no excuse not to give this a try.
I know it's a bit weird to watch yourself dancing, but you'll get over it and will fine tune your dancing fast.
5. Create Some Movement
Dancing in one spot with a basic two-step gets tiring really fast. Salsa dancing is popular because of all the movement created. Girls aren't going to create that movement unless you do first. You're the guy. You're the lead. You have to create the movement.
Even in a basic two-step, you can move forward, backwards, slowly in circles. If you're dancing with a girl, you can move behind her, switch positions with her, move further away and closer.