It’s Easiest to QUIT!
The Top 5 Reasons People Quit Dancing – or Never Even Start!
It was recently reported in the National Dance Association News that of 1000 people that consider enrolling in a dance class, only about 50 gather the courage to actually do it. Of those 50, over one third will drop out before the beginner series is done. Of the 30 or so that finish the beginner series, less than half will return for an intermediate class.
Why is there such anxiety about dancing? What makes it so hard to take the initial step? What makes it so hard to stick with it? Below are the top five reasons people give up before they even begin – and some easy solutions.
1. New Dancer Anxiety.
Adults don’t face many situations where they have to learn something new from scratch. Bottom line – we don’t like to look stupid and being a beginner in a new arena, well… it’s like learning a new language – but with your whole body – and it’s scary!
Yes – learning to dance is exactly like learning new language, and the good news is that everyone starts at about the same place. There are the occasional students that had dance as a child, and those are actually the minority.
SOLUTION(s): 1. Look for a onetime class for beginners that you can try without a commitment. While you are there, talk to others about their background or experience. 2. Talk to established dancers about how they got started. 3. Take private lessons to get you up and moving quickly, and discreetly – which will also give you a confidence boost!
2. Fear of Rejection (Judgment).
As humans we tend to seek acceptance and do our best to avoid rejection.
Walking into a dance class or dance, our eye is invariably drawn to the most skilled person(s) in the room. We immediately begin to doubt and then judge ourselves. Before we can even give it a thought, the self-doubt has become a tangible fear – fear of rejection.
SOLUTION(s): 1. Take a moment and look at how many unskilled people there are in the room. For every skilled dancer, there are 20 beginner to intermediate dancers aspiring to be that good. Our eye tends to ‘skip over’ those people even though they are the majority - unless we consciously look for them. 2. Change the same old ‘fear’ rhetoric into an inspiring story. Ask the ‘good’ dancer how he/she started and what he/she would recommend for you. You’ll have an ally in your quest!
3. Bad Planning.
Learning to dance is like learning a new language and many people quit because they don’t plan for what that might take. If you have kids, will you need a babysitter? If you don’t have a partner, have you thought about how you’ll practice? If you do have a partner, have you scheduled time for practice? Each of these has an easy solution, and most people don’t think about them before they begin, so they get overwhelmed and think it’s too much work.
Without proper planning, dance looses it priority in our lives. If you find yourself missing a class and then another, you may be on your way to quitting. Taking time for yourself once or twice a week is an important part of your relationship, plan it into the schedule, babysitter and all!
SOLUTION: Schedule dance lessons AND dance practice time into your week. Plan ahead looking at what it will take to accomplish your goal and talk to your dance instructor about possible practice partners and/or practice parties. Discipline play a big part at any new skill – it’s easy to lose momentum when you haven’t planned well.
4. Practice? I Need To Practice?
Dance is a skill. It’s a PHYSICAL skill (with mental elements) – that is learned like any other skill: repetition. Practice is essential to making the movements a part of your body memory. One of the biggest frustrations for new dancers (and their teachers) is when they don’t make time to practice. “That which is not practiced it not remembered.” Study after study has been done on this.
This doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate an hour a day to learn to dance – hardly! It’s much simpler than that – good practice skills will make becoming a great dancer enjoyable AND easy!
SOLUTION: The sooner you can practice right after you learn something, the more you will retain it. It’s BEST to take notes on what you’ve learned immediately following the lesson, then take 10 minutes soon after the lesson (the same evening) and review the material. If you can review it again within 24 hours, it will be yours. Additional 10 minute practices will be fun and add to your level of skill.
Small amounts of time done more often will serve you 100 times better than one long practice. With this discipline, weekly review will be all it takes to retain the information. Of course, as material gets more difficult, you may need to add to your practice schedule – but by then, you’ll be dancing several times a week and that won’t be a problem!
Stopping and Starting. It’s the fastest way to getting discouraged and quitting before any level of skill, or any amount of joy is found. We all do it… we set goals, start on the road toward them and hit a detour. Rather than refocusing, we stop, and then start again further down the road with what we think is ‘fresh’ motivation.
The reality is, that our ‘fresh motivation’ is tainted by our willingness to stop at the smallest bump in the road from the first go-round. We are more likely to stop again then to follow through with our desires the second time.
SOLUTION: Stay the course. If something get in the way of your going to class, find a way to make it up, practice in your hotel room, call a friend, take a private lesson. Do what it takes to keep your word to yourself and you will find the joy in every part of your life – not just on the dance floor! Finishing what you’ve started creates a whole different way of living!
An Elite Group:
If only one percent of the people that start dancing stay with it, then it’s obviously a HUGE accomplishment to be in that top one percentile! As a beginner – when you stick with your dancing, you become a member of an elite group – a group of people that: didn’t give up on themselves when newcomer anxiety struck; that overcame their fears of rejection; that planned for being successful in their dancing; that scheduled practice and adjusted when necessary; that follow through on their commitments to themselves.
Being a part of that group is saying a lot about who you are – we want you to be a part of our dance group!