A: This is totally up to each individual. Some people learn faster than others. However if you have had previous partner dance training, you may pick up a lot faster. A good sense of rhythm and music timing will help as well. Most importantly is that you get a solid foundation for your dancing. Basics are everything, and as we say; - Flash is trash without the basics!
As an example; the wider and stronger the base of a structure is → the more you can build on top of it without it falling over. Think of your dancing pretty much the same way. The more solid your base is, the easier you will be able to understand and handle more challenging and complex variations.
Tips for Beginners
Beginners should take every opportunity to go out dancing. Don't worry too much about making mistakes, its part of the learning process, you are a beginner. The more exposure you get to the dance and the music, better you will understand what you are doing in class. Watching others dance is part of learning too. Set realistic expectations as you cannot expect to become a great dancer in a short time if you only go dancing once a week, for example; go to your class or course one a week. Its is not realistic to be a great dancer by doing 4, 6 or 8 classes. If you want to "get good", you have to put in the work! Keep in mind, it's not about how long you have been dancing (eg. 1 year, but 2-3 times per month)... What really counts is, how many hours per week you spend on your dancing outside of class. Its like studying at school; you could have gone to university for 7 years to study medicine, but if you don't study outside of class/lecture... how much do you think you'll learn? ;-)
Tips for Followers
Followers: It is important to understand your role as a follower. The males role is to lead you in a manner that you will be able to understand and therefore follow. However your patience here is necessary in order for beginner leaders to learn. "Leading and following" technique is the "language" we use in partner dancing and as any other language it takes time to learn before communication starts to flow. As the leaders are learning their own steps - and you are learning yours, they are also having to think about your steps and timing! That's right, the leader has to think about their own timing and yours...(!) in order to ensure clear communication and leading skills. At the very beginning leaders feel overwhelmed and this is absolutely normal! This is where our experienced teachers excell with their communication and teaching techniques to make it easy to understand. Leading and following is the most crucial element of partner dancing and it takes time to perfect! In the mean time ladies, please allow some time for your leaders to gain confidence and knowledge, and try not anticipate your next step or try to read his mind on what he wants you to do! You simply have to wait for the leader to tell you what, when and how! :-).
Tips for Leaders
Leaders: You are the leaders in partner dancing which means you indicate to your follower what, when and how. Additionally as leaders you will learn how to do so in a comfortable manner keeping biomechanics in mind. Of course it is our responsibility as instructors to teach you this in a easy and comprehensive way! Please do set realistic expectations as this crucial skill does take some time to learn and make sure you can to adapt to different partners. Girls love to dance with great leads! Repertoire is not important, in other words, the ammount of moves you konw is useless if you are not leading them correctly. Being able to master simple basics is way more impressive and more fun for the ladies to follow and dance than being pulled and pushed around the floor in a rough manner. Be gentle and clear with your indications (leads). Leading is "invisible", you work with redirecting your partners weight in order to achieve and effortless and smooth lead. The beginning stages can be a little bit overwhelming as you are also having to learn your own steps and timing of the dance. The key to succeed with partner dancing is simple - the more often you practice (correctly!), the better you get - so go out dancing every opportunity you get and ask questions in class if you are unsure about something. No question are good and the more questions the better!