Often, when one begins to dance, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and feel like progress has slowed. In reality, you are probably learning just as much or more than you did in your first few lessons, but you have simply realized just how much there truly is to learn about dancing. So, to put your mind at ease, let us consider the learning curve attached to learning how to dance.
Stage 1: The Initial Learning Stage
In the first stage of learning to dance, many students feel a sort of euphoria. They have often never danced before and learning how to do any steps at all feels like a huge accomplishment. It is in this stage that the student first experiences a skill or step, but is still learning it. Even though it has not yet been mastered, the student often feels as though they have learned a great deal simply by walking through the step or skill a few times with the aid of an instructor.
Stage 2: The Awkward Use Stage
After the initial high of experiencing the step, the student often tries to use it and it is at this point that they often realize they are not the master of the move they thought they were. Usually, the student is more aware of how his or her body moves, but feels awkward and clumsy while trying to execute the maneuver. This can lead some to feel discouraged, as though they are not that good at dancing or learning, but in reality, almost everyone goes through this stage. After all, it is one thing to execute a step when someone is guiding you through it in a controlled environment, and an entirely different thing to try to do it on your own. It is important not to become discouraged; it will come together for you with a little more experience.
Stage 3: The Conscious Use Stage
After a few more tries, the step or skill becomes a little more natural, but it still takes a fair amount of concentration to successfully execute. Again, this sensation is natural. After all, very few people learn any complicated skill overnight, and dancing is no different. It may take a little thought, but at this point in the dance learning curve, you are in the home stretch. All you need now is more experience with the step and, just like driving a car, touch typing, playing piano, or any other complicated activity you will soon be able to both execute the step successfully and do it without too much thought.
Stage 4: The Natural Use Stage
This is the final step of the dance learning curve. At this point, the skill or step is done with ease and is spontaneous, comfortable, creative, and — as the name of this stage implies — very natural. This stage usually only comes after a significant amount of use and repetition. At this point, you are often able to execute the maneuver while doing other things, like carrying on a conversation with your dance partner or thinking about the next step in your choreography.
Much like other types of learning, the more you know, the easier it becomes to learn more and learn it faster. But, do not become discouraged if it seems like your learning starts to crawl after a few lessons. In reality, what has happened is you have realized how much more you have to learn and are becoming impatient to accelerate the learning process beyond what you would likely be able to retain. Learning just one new step or move each lesson is actually a pretty significant accomplishment. After all, you probably did not learn and master a new math equation every single day in school when you were growing up, so why do you think dance steps would be any different? Dance is a lot of fun, but it takes a bit of patience, as well. Savor the experience and enjoy the opportunity to master a skill that will help you feel confident and look amazing on any dance floor, open new social opportunities for you, and either help you find or get closer with your special someone.