Tips for Adults Taking Dance Classes
There are many reasons to continue, or begin, taking dance classes as an adult. Whether your studio has adult-specific classes, or you will be included in student classes at your ability level, many studios offer excellent options for adult dancers.
Goal-Setting for Adult Dancers
Setting specific and measurable goals will help you get the most out of your classes. Your goal could be to perform in the studio’s summer recital, lose 10 pounds in the next two months, or be able to touch your toes. Goals that are specific, measurable, and have a timeframe associated with them are easy to track and achieve.
Writing down your goals before classes begin, or talking them over with your instructor, will help you stick to them. Your instructors will want you to be happy in class, and working toward a goal will help both of you keep your focus. It is a good idea to revisit your goal throughout the season, to make sure you are on track.
If you haven’t taken a dance class in a few years, or you have never exercised to this level, you will probably experience sore muscles at first. Your body will need time to adjust to the new activity. Muscles can be iced for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off after class to help with inflammation. If you find you are not stretched enough after the class warm-up, you may want to begin stretching at home before class to give yourself better muscle control. Over time, you will experience less fatigue after your body adjusts. Always see a doctor if you experience persistent or serious pain or injury.
Adjusting to Dancing with Younger Students
It is possible that the studio you choose may not have adult-specific classes. In these cases, they may allow you to take classes with their students, and they will match you with a class that shares your ability and experience levels.
When taking classes with younger students, you should try to pay attention to your body’s limitations. While the students may be able to stretch for longer periods of time, repeat floor work combinations over and over, or remember and pick up steps more easily, you must know when you need to stop, take a break, or modify a movement. This will not only help you to avoid injury, but will prevent against burnout. It is a good idea to tell your teacher ahead of time if there is anything that may prevent you from dancing “full out” with the rest of the class, such as a previous injury or exercise advice from your doctor.
If you feel that you are not up to the level of the students in your class, set up a meeting outside of class with the instructor and voice your concerns. He or she may feel that you are well-matched with the students and may ask you to give it some more time, or he or she may give you some different options of classes you can take instead. It is important to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your instructors.
Communicating with Your Instructors
It is important to communicate openly with your instructors. Not only should you let them know of any limitations you may have, but you can also discuss your goals, your dance background, and your reasons for taking classes. Remember that your instructors are there to help you learn and to meet your dance and fitness goals. They can be great coaches and mentors in your journey.
Enjoy the Journey
Whether your adult dance experience is a new journey or the continuation of a lifelong love for dance, remember to take time to enjoy the experience and revel in the art form. Dance is a wonderful outlet for creativity as it challenges both the body and the mind in a beautiful expression of movement. Let your wings soar and have fun sharing dance with others in your class.