Male or female, young or old, it doesn’t matter if you’re learning a new language, a new skill or a new dance pattern, we all go through the same process and it’s called, the ‘curve of learning’.
There are four main stages to this curve and having an understanding of those different stages can help you understand everything you may be experiencing at that point in your time at Arthur Murray.
First Stage: Initial Learning
That's when you learn something for the very first time and you’re not expected to remember it for the next lesson, or actually, for the next few lessons.
Second Stage: Awkward Use
This stage is where you know what you're supposed to do, yet somehow the brain can't tell the body and feet how to do it correctly. Don’t be disheartened; practice and time will lead you into the next and most important stage of your learning.
Third Stage: Conscious Use
You can do it! You still need to think about what you’re doing in order to make it happen, but you don’t have many issues with what you’ve learnt so far. This is the longest stage of anyone's learning curve. You can fluently speak Italian, for example, but because it's a second language, you need to constantly think about what you're saying during the translation process… and it's exactly the same thing with dancing.
Final Stage: Natural Use
This is the most fulfilling stage. It's when you can dance a pattern and not think about the timing or the lead or follow, but somehow, it all just happens without much thought process involved. That's the most exciting part of your learning process, when these things come naturally.
Now it's important to remember that your dancing as a whole will not be in one of the above stages… it’s everything in-between, all the steps and patterns within each dance.
So, your Foxtrot promenade may be at a conscious use stage, your Rumba underarm turn at an awkward use stage, your Cha Cha basic at a natural use stage and maybe your Tango posture at the initial stage.
For as long as you learn, you'll always be at some point within this curve of learning. That's life and that's why learning is so exciting. We're always being challenged... so don't ever be disheartened and don't ever give up!