There is much confusion amongst the general public about how you can learn to dance. It seems that everyone wants to learn to dance. How many people when you ask them the things that they would like to learn one day mention dancing? From my experience pretty much everyone. But how many people go through the effort to learn?
There is a myth out there that all dancers were born with the gift of dancing. My take on that is this: all dancers were born with the gift of dancing, and we were all given that gift! There are those who seemed to just drop out of their mother's womb dancing. However don't let the tears well up if this is not you, there is a dancer in everyone and it is something that can be unearthed.
The baby dancing on arrival in the world is a good analogy. A baby probably won't be able to talk for the first few years of its life. Then the words come out one by one, then sentences, and then absurdities on arrival of the teenage years. If I told you that I knew a 5 year old who could talk, would your face transform into an expression of surprise? (I'm hoping you answered 'no').
You give a baby as long as it needs to learn to talk or walk because you know that it will learn. With dancing it is just the same, it may seem unnatural at first, but with a bit of practice you can dance pretty well. And it won't take you as long as it took you to learn to talk!
The transition from walking and moving about normally into dancing is not as huge as it is made up to be. It is a case of making certain simple movements gestures, linking them up in interesting ways and making it look good! Of course when it comes to learning routines and choreography, that's another skill in and of itself!
So what's the answer to the golden question? How do you learn to dance? Well there are many ways. You could learn by copying your favourite artists such as Janet Jackson, Usher or J.Lo and studying their music videos. In fact, this is the way famous MTV choreographer Wade Robson learnt to dance. If you are naturally a good dancer, this could be a good approach.
Another way you could learn is to make friends with people who are good dancers and either copy them or try and get them to show you how to do a few of their moves. This is great, especially if you spend a lot of time with these friends.
The easiest way you can learn to dance is to join a dance class. There will usually be at least a couple of these in your area, maybe even a dance studio offering a variety of different classes from different teachers. If you are not naturally a dancer, joining a dance class or series of classes is probably the best option for you. Even if you can dance and learnt on your own, there are still plenty of things you can learn from joining a dance class. If you are at all serious about dancing as a profession, you should definitely be going to classes unless you are privileged enough to be the son/ daughter of a talented dancer or have lots of great contacts/ dancer friends.
The good thing about dance classes is that they are usually grouped into rough ability levels so if you are a beginner you can find a class at your level until you get better. Even so, it can feel as if you are throwing yourself in at the deep end when you begin, but nonetheless, just like you did with the walking and talking, stick at it. You will get better.
As you go to more and more classes, you will start to build up the pieces of the puzzle of that style and soon you'll be dancing more confidently. The important thing (and I'm not just copying someone's words) is that you enjoy yourself regardless of your standard. It may seem difficult to comprehend (or maybe not) but the people who get good are usually the people who enjoy their dancing the most, even when they did have 2 left feet! Of course, be self-aware where you need to improve and work at it, but by all means, ABSOLUTELY NOT do not beat yourself up. If you need help, concentrate on the music in class and try and enjoy that!
If I were to give out one piece of advice (this changes with time, but here's my favourite advice I'm dishing out at the moment), it would be...to go out and dance. Now you may be saying "but I can't dance." You know what you need to do then! Start trying to copy what you see in dance videos and find out about dance classes you can go to. And then go to the dance classes that interest you. And then get better. And better. And better still.