Dance Difficulty Scale

One of the first questions new dancers ask me is “Which dance should I learn first?”

This is a very good question.  There are certain styles that are definitely more difficult than others.  There are certain dances that you can get familiar enough in 30-60 minutes.  Some things to consider before selecting the first partner dance to learn:

1) Before selecting a dance, clarify why you want to learn to dance.
For instance, do you want to perform, compete, or just dance for fun.  There are certain instructors that are focused on performance and competitions.  These instructors will focus on more showy moves that may not fit on the regular social dance floor.   And other instructors that focus styles that work better on the social dance floor and will work with any partner.

2) Decide how you intend to practice between your lessons.
A student could not decide between East Coast Swing or West Coast Swing.  I asked him where he sees himself practicing/dancing. For instance:  Raleigh has lots of places to do West Coast Swing.  Durham has lots of places to do East Coast Swing.  His reply was: “I would never travel as far as Raleigh for a dance”.  East Coast seemed the best choice for him – because that is where he would practice his dancing.

3) If this is your first experience with dancing, then Single Step, Blues Dancing or East Coast Swing would be the dances to start off with.   It’s a little simpler to get started with these dances — although (as with any dance) there are advanced moves in any style.  It’s just you fill find yourself moving around the dance floor within 30 minutes with any of those dances.

4) If you are just starting out – my recommendation is to pick one dance and learn it well (versus trying to learn 5 or 6 different dances in 10 weeks).  By ‘well’ — I mean that you are able to dance it without thinking and without anxiety.  Once you have an intermediate experience level, then you can add your second dance style.  After you have at least 2 dances under your intermediate-belt; then you will find that all the other dances will fall quickly into place.  Many of the dances share the same moves and leads — with just a slight modification of their basic steps.

5) Sample dance difficulty scale (but not limited to) is something like this:
On a Scale of 1-10 (10 being the most difficult)

Sample Dance Dance Difficulty
Single-Step 1
East Coast Swing 2-3
Blues dancing 2-3
Salsa/Mambo 4-5
Line Dancing 4-5
West Coast Swing 5-6
Argentine Tango 7-8

Hope this has helped.