5 Simple Steps to Help You Learn to Dance

Crowd watching and cheering break dancers
Dancing is fun and not as hard as you might think. Hero Images / Getty Images

Would you like to learn how to dance? Although some types of dance don't require music, most dancing is done to music. Many people will admit to having a desire to dance, especially when they hear a familiar beat. So, how do you learn how to dance? 

Start here:

  • Find a type of music that is appealing to you.
  • Pick out a song that makes you feel good.
  • Play the song a few times, listening closely for the different beats, details and features of the song. You may also listen to the lyrics to find inspiration. 
Find the beat. Photo © Stockbyte / Getty Images

Learning how to dance begins with finding the beat of the ​music. The beat of a song typically determines how fast or how slow you should move your body while dancing. If your chosen song has a fast beat, be prepared to move quickly.

To find the beat of a song:

  • Listen closely for the strongest, heaviest beats.​
  • Clap your hands along with the beats to get a feel for the music.
  • Try tapping your right foot to the strong beats and your left foot to the weaker beats.
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Learn How to Dance With Your Arms

Move your arms. Photo © Ron Krisel / Getty Images

When learning how to dance, try moving your arms. When you think you can feel the beat, relax your arms and try moving them around in time to the music.

Some ideas:

  • You can swing your arms naturally with your feet, bending slightly at your elbows.
  • Raise your arms up above your head, then down again by your sides.
  • Don't be afraid to play with nonlinear and flowing movements, too. Experiment with different expressions and see what feels like it best fits the music, your own personal style and the feelings or message you want to share.
  • Don't forget that your arms are connected to your shoulders, back, and chest. Explore that feel like moving other upper body parts along with your arms. 
  • Remember: While there may be certain styles and techniques, ultimately, there's no right or wrong way to dance. It's a form of personal expression.
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Learn How to Dance With a Few Steps

Add a few steps. Photo © Andersen Ross / Getty Images

Learning how to dance involves learning how to move. Now that you have your arms moving, try adding a few steps with your feet:

  • Pick up one foot and then the other, sort of like marching in place.
  • Bend your knees in time to the music, taking small steps forward and backward with both feet.
  • Let your feet carry you around the floor in small circles.
  • Consider other ways to enlist your lower body, including your hips. 
  • As with your arms, don't limit your movements to front and back. Explore all planes of motion, such as circles and diagonals. 
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Learn How to Dance By Using Your Head

Use your head. Photo © Andersen Ross / Getty Images

Dancing includes your head, too. You need to add a little bit of movement above the neck. (If you hold your head still and stiff, you will look like a robot.) 

  • Softly nod your head to the beat of the music.
  • Don't go crazy with the nodding. Just move your chin up and down to the beat, somewhat like gesturing the word "yes."
  • To make the action appear more natural, let your head nod up and down, as well as from side to side.
  • Think about your neck as an extension of your spine, and allow it to naturally respond to the other movements of your upper and lower body. 
  • Relax. Now try to feel the music, without overthinking it. It may help to close your eyes. It may also help to watch yourself in the mirror to gain body awareness. 

At this point, your entire body should be moving in time to the music. Learning how to dance can be simple and a ton of fun.