Learning to ballroom dance. How long does it take?

Taking dance lessons for the first time.

A simple question you might typically have when learning to ballroom dance is “how long will it take for me?” Instructors usually answer with something as profound as this “It depends” I prefer to have a more concrete answer so here it is. 20 hours. No wait, lets just say 10 hours! Give me just 10 hours and you’ll be on your way to learning to ballroom dance. Let me explain. Although many of us have heard of the 10,000 hour rule (the amount of time to master a subject) popularized my Malcom Galdwell in his book Outilers, most of us are not able to invest 20 hours a week for 10 years to achieve mastery of a subject. We just wanna dance! We simply prefer to learn enough to be proficient enough to enjoy our new hobby of ballroom dancing. John Kaufman did a fantastic Ted Talk called ‘The first 20 hours- how to learn anything’ In his talk he explained that with the right approach its possible to learn a new skill very proficiently in as little as 20 hours. This was a fascinating talk for me because it reinforced what I had learned through years of teaching. Even though 20 hours is not a lot of time to put into something new the drop off rate for new dance students is really really high! Why is that?

Learning to ballroom dance

The beginning phase of learning something new its so awkward and sometime downright difficult that we simply give up. Ballroom dancing is no different. In my teaching I noticed that if people stayed past about the 10 hour mark that their success rate skyrocketed. So thats my challenge to you. Stick it out for at least 10 hours and see what happens. Commit your self to atleast a total of 10 group and private lessons so that you log 10 hours on the dance floor before you even begin to worry. Here is what I predict. After about 10 hours things will start to become more clear. You will be past the whole ‘new kid’ part of the experience. Coming to your lessons will become more comfortable, a habit even. Your enjoyment will start to increase and you will be well on your way to ‘knowing how to dance!’ As you pass the 20 hour mark you will be able to dance. I promise! At Dance Louisville we have really worked hard on making this process easier for everyone because we truly understand how hard it is emotionally.  JoAnn (my mom actually) answers all of the phone calls and books all of the lessons. She is not a dancer and she really understands that learning to ballroom dance can be difficult. I can’t overstate this enough, our emotions will get us to quit long before we actually want to, so stick it out! The learning process is not a straight line.Learning to ballroom dance is no different. There are bumps and bruises along the way. It’s part of the process so embrace it! Our teachers are all fantastic at helping people feel comfortable and building their skills as efficiently as possible so you can get out of the ‘new student’ phase and into the ‘just dancing’ phase as quickly as possible. Oh and our students? Don’t forget at one time they were all new. They understand the struggle of learning the best! I truly believe that we understand the learning to ballroom dance and the struggles of the new dancer. I truly believe that we have developed the best possible process to helping you become the dance you were meant to be! All the best in dance, Brian B Owner Dance Louisville

Want to geek out more about the learning process?

See how you can apply the 80/20 principal and use these 3 simple rules to learning anything in this blog post by Tim Ferris 1. Effectiveness (Priority) 2. Adherence (Interest) 3. Efficiency (Process)