What to Expect
How are the lessons taught?
Lessons are taught in the manner of a professional class. In beginner classes, rhythm and footwork is reviewed and basic pattern elements are taught. In intermediate classes, review of basic elements is much quicker and there is an expectation that students can sustain a basic dance.
Do I have to rotate partners?
Since partners are not required, attendees are rotated so that everyone gets to enjoy the learning process (which is customary in the learning process of social and partner dances). Many people are nervous about rotating because it means interaction with new people but changing partners can be one of the most beneficial aspects of a group class. By having many partners, one can figure out different nuances required for leading anyone (which is essential in partner dancing).
Do I have to rotate if I brought my own partner?
Many people feel that if they come with their own partner that they should not have to rotate. This can be very detrimental to the learning experience.· Generally, most partners are approximately equal in ability, this can make the learning process longer. Sometimes the partnership has high emotional stakes (spouse, boy/girl friend). There can be great frustration and friction trying to learn something together, especially since newcomers either get embarrassed at their own ability or blame the other person for their lack of understanding. In short - you have to rotate...you'll get a chance to dance with your partner permanently during the party. Or better yet, take a private lesson.
Will I feel embarrassed?
The learning process can be challenging both physically, mentally and even emotionally. Everyone responds to these challenges in different ways. Some people sweat, giggle, talk, fidget etc. This is a very normal reaction and usually subsides within a few minutes of the class starting. Occasionally, as new things are introduced, one might feel "challenged" again. This is a growth process. Nothing said or done in class should be taken personally...it's a journey not a destination - and you have plenty of company.
What's the best way to fit in?
Best tip to fit in - smile! Many people are just as excited to see you as you are apprehensive to see them. Your first time dancing might be a "new" experience. The worst thing you could do is leave right away - the best thing you could do is stay still, say hello, tell people that you're new and a little nervous. Most people will understand that and help you find comfort on your first days. One day, you'll repay the good-will to a new person.
Now that you're starting, you can find some Dance Etiquette rule of the road.