I love talking with people about dance. I like sharing my philosophy, the benefits of dance and all the joy it brings me. Every so often, someone will ask, “Is it too late to start dancing?” Too late for themselves to start dancing, or too late for their child to start dancing. It’s inspired me to write this post!
The short answer is: No, of course not – It is never too late!
Dance is for everyone! Of any age and any body!
What We Can All Learn From Dance
Humans have been dancing, singing, chanting, and playing music for thousands of years. It is literally in our genes. It is a skill, and as with any skill, it takes practice. Everything a person learns (walking, language, riding a bike, maths and science, writing, art) takes practice! It is a journey, a story of continued growth. Accepting this reality is important to managing expectations and emotional attachments to a dancer’s successes and struggles.
When we are learning, we are forming new habits. New neurological connections in our brain, and our muscles are learning new ways of moving. In dance, this means lots of physical repetition. Putting your body through the same desired movements over, and over again. So much repetition that our bodies will remember how to do a skill without our brain having to think too hard. I like to say you’ll know you’ve mastered a new skill when you can’t get it wrong. It means you’ve practised a skill successfully so many times that it’s become second nature, as easy as breathing. Getting to that point can take any amount of time. This process is different for every dancer and different for each skill or movement. Along the way, you’ll make mistakes, a lot of mistakes, and that can be frustrating. Especially if you’ve been treated roughly for making mistakes in the past (as many of us have!) Trusting the learning process, embracing the mistakes is integral to a new dancer’s confidence in their skills.
Making Mistake: It’s All Part of the Process
For someone who is inexperienced, or recalling a negative judgement from their past (in other words, for most of us!), it’s important to remind ourselves that making mistakes is how we learn, and learning is human, mistakes are human. Accepting the knowledge you will make mistakes as you learn helps make the process more enjoyable. The GRDA instructors are among the most compassionate dance teachers I’ve ever met, and we maintain a welcoming learning environment. We make sure our dancers are never shamed for making a mistake. We are mindful that there can be a little bit of a trust-fall moment for any dancers who are new to our academy. Our first class each session involves getting comfortable with each other, and making those mistakes and discovering that our dance studios are safe spaces. I know you’ll quickly see that GRDA welcomes all of the learning process, especially the mistakes!
In fact, when I am teaching, I often celebrate when my student has made a new mistake! To me it shows they tried something new or different in a skill they’re working on! It’s a new piece to the puzzle, and it means that the dancer has made progress! It’s all so wonderful to experience together and I make sure to share this point of view with my students!
The GRDA Way and Finding Your Dancing Style
At GRDA, our core values allow us to tailor the dancing experience to each individual in our classes! Regular exercise helps the body stay flexible, strong, and balanced, and dance is one activity that can check-off all of those physical needs. Mental wellness is known to improve with exercise – the endorphins our brain releases alone are enough to make dancing a wonderful addition to the day! Equally important, the soul hungers for expression, we all long to be seen and accepted for who we are. Making space in our lives to fully and authentically express who we are and how we feel is so integral to our overall inner peace. We strive to help every member of our classes experience these things!
It’s all about finding what suits you! Ballet? Jazz? Hip-hop? Contemporary? Musical Theatre? There are many ways to incorporate dance into your life! All styles of dance can be expressed by anyone . At its core, dance is about movement, self-expression and joy, and while there are techniques that make each genre of dance different and there are a variety of intensities to train in.
Ask yourself – What type of music do I like? What style of dance do I like watching? What would I love to do? Each person’s answers will be different based on their body’s level of freedom and limits, but there is dance for everyone!
Often the next question is what classes are available to me? It brings me great joy to be able to share that since we group all of our classes based on age, there is something for everyone! In addition to children’s classes, we have classes for teens and adults! Our programs are inclusive and organised in a way to group dancers with their developmental peers (both social and skill development). Take a look at our timetable here!
The last thing I’d like to address here is the feelings that might come up before the first class. If you (or your child) have signed up, and are feeling like they might be out of place at dance, they might experience feelings of nervousness or fear. Over the course of my career, I have learned these feelings usually stem from someone in the dancer’s past who invalidated or shamed them for their ability to dance. Common phrases I’ve heard repeated are that young dancers were told they were a “bad dancer,” their body is “unsuited” to dancing, or told some variation of them being “clumsy” or “lacking rhythm.” I can honestly say, this is simply not true. For anyone
That’s all for today!