When Do I Move Up Levels in Dance?
One of the main questions we get from new members is ‘When do I go from Beginner 1 to Beginner 2?’ I’ve put this blog together to help you understand what your dance journey will look like.
I will explain
- Which classes you can attend
- How you can identify them
- Who chooses your group classes for you
- The expected time it takes to learn the QuickSteps syllabus
- What you do when you repeat an Experience Series you have previously attended
By the end of this blog you should have all the info you need to cruise through the QuickSteps syllabus at your own pace and change levels at exactly the right time.
Which classes can I attend?
Rest assured, it will be pretty hard for you to attend the ‘wrong’ class if you use the Member Portal to book your classes!
Every 6 weeks all teachers go through all their members and thoughtfully invite them to group classes that are at a suitable level for their dancing.
When you first join QuickSteps you will be invited to everything that is classified as:
- Beginner 1
- Come & Try
As you progress through the syllabus you will then see a change (generally over 6-12 months) whereby you are now invited to classes that are classified as;
- Beginner 1
- Beginner 2
- Come & Try
Please note that this normally take longer for Socialites as you are only having a private lesson once a month
The time it takes to progress through levels varies a lot from person to person when we take into account things such as:
- Previous dance experience
- Frequency of private lessons
- Frequency of group class attendance
- Natural ability
- Practice at home
Timelines For Your Learning
Head to this blog for more in depth information about your overall dance journey.
To make this example easier let’s assume you are doing our Smooth Groover Program and you attend a private lesson and two group classes each week. You also attend our social events from time to time.
Below is the estimated time it will take you to properly complete each level
- Beginner 1: 6-12 months
- Beginner 2: 6- 12 months
- Intermediate 1: 12-18 months
(We also introduce completely new styles at Intermediate 1)
- Intermediate 2: 12-18 months
Some members at this point may choose to try doing a showcase routines at a Winter and/or Summer Ball. This would slow down the members progress on their syllabus.
- Advanced 1: 12 months
- Advanced 2+: 12months +
Total time spent from Beginner 1 through to Advanced 2+ is around 5-7 years.
My Teacher’s Input
Your teacher is filling in your syllabus as they go. It will look like the one pictured below.
These are kept in the big filing cabinets in the cafe. If you’ve ever wondered what’s in there, mystery solved!
When you can do a particular step with correct timing, styling and technique, connecting it neatly to other step patterns it will be crossed off.
Occassionally members ask; ‘Since I’ve done this step before can I cross it off?’
Answer: No, not necessarily. It takes a lot of repetition before a step is learnt well enough to be crossed off.
Example: Imagine you were learning Tae Kwodo. You would not expect that your teacher would show you a particular kick, you do it 5 times and then consider it ‘done’. Instead you would repeat it many, many times, refine it, add technique and add the move to some sort of drill to be performed hundreds of times. Once you can perfrom the kick well, on auto pilot as a part of your general Tae Kwondo ‘sequence’ it would be considered ‘done’.
Dancing is the same.
When you see someone that can ‘dance well’, you can be certain they didn’t jump from Beginner to Intermediate 2 in 1 year.
They have spent time on repetition of the same steps over and over (as opposed to time learning new step patterns each time they come to class).
Learning new step patterns in dancing should be the smallest part of what you do when you visit the studio.
When your teacher observes that you can dance all of the steps in a particular dance and level;
- Without thinking
- Whilst talking at the same time
- With technique and styling
- In time with the music
- With confidence
They will then tick it off in your syllabus and start inviting you to the next level of classes on the timetable.
So how many times should I do the same Experience Series?
Experience Series are group classes that run for 6 weeks in a row.
The way the Experience Series classes are designed is to give you a variety of styles to play with on the social dance floor with enough opportunity for repetition that you can peform the steps well after 3-4 rounds of EACH Experiences Series Level.
We often have members asking ‘I did Beginner 1 Rumba last time so now can I do Beginner 2?’
Answer: Probably not.
Let’s take Beginner 1 Rumba as an example
The First Time
STEPS: You will be learning some of the steps for the very first time and getting your head around where you feet and hands are going.
The Second Time
REPITITION OF STEPS: Now that you have seen most of the steps before it is all about repetition and getting the steps into your long term memory. Practice, practice, practice!
The Third Time
TECHNIQUE: The third time you do the Series you should know the moves pretty well and will therefore have spare brain capacity to start thinking about other things as you dance such as arm styling, technique, timing and lead and follow.
The Fourth Time
REPITITION OF TECHNIQUE: You have started to add technique over the top of your dancing but this too will take a lot of repetition to make it feel smooth and natural.
Remember… getting to ‘the end’ is not the goal …
The most common goals set by new members when they first start dancing are:
- Be able to dance to 80% of music at social occassions with dancing
- Meet new people through joining the QS community
- Improve overall health and fitness in a way that is fun and new
- Improved mental health through time out of my busy life
The QS syllabus and the way we structure moving levels has been designed to match these common goals.
Be able to dance to 80% of music at social occassions with dancing When it comes to social dancing comfort and confidence is key and this can only come through repitition.
Meet new people through joining the QS community. Spending more time in each level means members get to know each other better and are more likely to dance together at social events and build bonds. We have also noticed that being able to dance well (as opposed to learning steps quickly to a sloppy level) means members are more cofnident to attend social events and actually get up and dance with others.
-mprove overall health and fitness in a way that is fun and new. We want dance to replace the gym! This is why we offer so many classes! Also, the more your dance knowledge is committed to muscle memory the more of a workout you will get when you dance. When you dance through steps that are above your current level you are stopping and thinking too much to get a workout! Repetition = muscle memory = real dancing!
Mental health through time out of busy weekly schedule to have fun and dance. Once again, lots of classes = plenty of opportunities for members to switch off and hit the D-Floor!
So what goal has never, ever been set on an introductory lesson?
- Finish the QS syllabus to the end of advanced 3 as fast as I can!
So don’t rush it! It’s not the end that is the goal. Enjoy the journey along the way and reap the benefits that come from learning to dance.
Why is it important to attend classes that are at ‘my level’ only?
- You will learn better and become a better dancer overall if you spend the proper amount of time on the basics/foundations
- More people will want to dance with you. It’s more enjoyable dancing with someone who can dance 10 step patterns really well, compared to someone who can ‘dance’ 30 step patterns hesitantly.
- You will avoid a situation where you are embarrassed by attending a class that is too hard for you
For the teachers;
- It’s very difficult for teachers to teach the class correctly if members in the class have skipped a level. Teachers have planned the class according to the level and they often have to change the class on the spot to accomodate people that are falling behind.
- Teachers recieve complaints at the end of the class from members that are frustrated about the class being ‘watered down’ making their day more stressful and their job less fun 🙁
- The class may be ‘watered down’ to accomodate members that have skipped ahead too fast. This is obviously very frustrating for the members in that class that have done the right thing and are now feeling like they are not getting value out of the class they are attending.
What can I do if I feel I am ready to move up but have not yet been invited to?
Always talk to your teacher. Your teacher (not the manager/owner/front-of-house) is the only person who can book you into groups.
Your teacher is the one looking after your dancing, your syllabus, your progress and your group class invitations.
They can have a look at your dancing and they will either give you things you still need to work on or perhaps they can tick some extra things off for you and change your group invites.
Teachers do make mistakes and miss things. So don’t be shy to talk to them about this. The less 1-on-1 time you have with your teacher (for example, if you are on our Socialite program), the more proactive you should be in speaking to your teacher about your levels. For example, they may have not seen your Rumba progress and may have not bumped you up to the next level.
If you have not managed to catch your teacher at the studio, you can email your teacher directly: [YourTeachersFirstName]@quicksteps.com.au