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Modern Jive Beginners Survival Guide

So you're new to this thing called Modern Jive but you've heard about it from your friends, you've seen it on this site and it looks like fun. The only problem is that you have all of these reasons and lame excuses for not going floating around in your head. Well whatever excuse you can come up with the chance of it being original is almost nil so its time to put you're best foot forward (even if they are both left) and go try it.

The first obstacle anyone who goes dancing has to over come is quite simply going for the first time. While some people are quite willing to throw themselves straight in and go with the flow others are a little more unsure. Men especially tend to find going dancing for the first time awkward  because, as most of them freely admit, they don't usually hit the dance floor until they have had a few drinks.

Here are some of the main concerns that newcomers have and the reasons why you shouldn't use them as an excuse not to try.

I haven’t got anyone to go with.
Don't worry the teaching method ensures you will dance with many different people of varying abilities, see 'Dancing With Others' below, some there for their first time and some more advanced who will help you and speed up your learning process.

I have two left feet.
As we said above you will meet and dance with lots of people, it won’t be long before you find someone with two right feet to compliment you perfectly. Don't assume that everyone else is going to be better than you.

Everyone else knows what they are doing, I'm the only beginner here.
Because of the way Modern Jive is taught it means that you do not have to book a course of lessons which start with the basics and proceed from there. At most venues there are at least a couple or more newcomers every week so it is highly unlikely that you will be on your own. Even if you are the only new person that week  there will be the people who were new last week or the week before. Because there are approx 21 beginner moves for the teacher to choose from and only 3 or 4 moves taught in the beginners class each week it is more than likely that last weeks newcomers will be seeing all of this week moves for the first time and are in the same boat as you .

I'm to old for all that.
Rubbish, you are as old as you feel. People of all ages enjoy Modern Jive from 16 and upward with many people way into their retirement enjoying a social life that is better than it has ever been. I heard of one dancer who was 102 years old, he used to love dancing the only problem was he could never remember where his venue was and he could only dance half a song before he had to leave his partner and go to the toilet.

I'm a bit unsure I think I will watch for a while.
All of the crew at any decent Modern Jive night will be aware that when people walk in for the first time they may have no idea what will happen. It is more than likely that someone will be on hand to explain what is going on and what to do. Probably the best thing to remember when you start is that its not rocket science, just go with the flow and you will fit straight in no problem. When the class starts the teacher will get everyone up on the dance floor and make sure that you have a partner, again go with the flow, the partner that you start the class with will only be with you for a few minutes before you change to the next one so don't worry about a personality clash just be ready to join in and the teacher will sort everything out so that you are ready to go. Because of the way a Modern Jive night runs you will be far more conspicuous if you stand around the edge watching, so join in, some of the people you dance with in the class will be better than you and some will be at pretty much the same level, learn from them as well as the teacher.

What if the blokes at work find out.
This one is obviously just for the men but like it or not ladies it is one reason above all others why the men who do go dancing love it. It doesn't matter what Modern Jive venue you go to 9 times out of 10 there are more women than men. Usually the numbers are not that uneven and due to the constant rotation of people during the classes this does not present any inconvenience at all, however, when the classes are done and you get to the part of the evening called "freestyle" where you put into practice what you have learnt, a good male dancer will never be short of a partner. In fact, in some cases, it is fair to say that you will be hotter than a fire walkers verruca and eventually be begging to be let off of the dance floor. As soon as the blokes at work find out that you spent the entire evening dancing with a host of different women they will soon realize that their life spent in front of the TV is the odd one.

Dancing with others
When you first go to a Modern Jive venue the last thing on your mind is that you may actually be asked to dance by a complete stranger but be ready for it because this is the way this kind of dancing works and is one of the main attractions. Being asked to dance when you're not expecting it usually prompts one of two thoughts depending on if you are male or female.

1. If you are female the first thought is "Is he trying to pull me or what"
2. If you are male the first thought is "Wey'hey I've pulled." 

Sadly in most cases you would be wrong. The whole point of going dancing is to be sociable, the more people you dance with the better you get and the more fun you have. Don't be afraid to dance with others and if there is someone you want to dance with don't be afraid to ask them, in my experience you will rarely be refused.

The Beginners Survival Guide Top Ten Things to Remember

1. Don't give up on your first week
If you make the effort and go for the first time you have already won half the battle of learning to dance. Even if the first week doesn't go quite how you would have liked give yourself another couple of weeks to get the hang of it before deciding whether or not it's for you.

2. Its not rocket science.
Even if you have trouble with the actual dancing the structure of the evening will be pretty self explanatory

3. Go with the flow.
Join in and try not to be too self conscious. It is highly unlikely that you will be the only newcomer there and even if you are no one will take any notice of the fact because there are new people starting constantly. You will be more conspicuous if you stand out than if you join in.

4. If you don't understand ask.
If there is something in the class that you don't quite get then ask one of the crew when the class is over, they will always go through it with you. Also don't be afraid to ask the teacher questions when they have finished their classes as they will usually take you through any problems with the moves one to one.

5. Ask people to dance.
Don't be shy the more people you dance with the quicker you will learn and the more fun you will have.

6. Arrive for the start of the beginners class.
Because there could well be a large number of people in the class the teacher will not be able to go back to the beginning just for you.

7. If something goes wrong, Don't Panic.
If you forget something while doing the class or something doesn't go quite right then don't worry about it. The whole point of Modern Jive is that it is fun and not a school of perfection, no one will mind, we were all beginners once, simply try again and don't give up

8. Men lead and ladies Don't.
If both of you try to lead neither of you will win and you simply won't be able to dance.

9. Have fun and socialize.
At least 50% of the enjoyment of learning Modern Jive is having the opportunity to meet new friends and have a fun night out. If you join in and try your best without taking it too seriously you will almost certainly have a great time.

10. It could change your life.
Here at the crew have been to at least four weddings that have been the direct result of people meeting at Modern Jive nights. (now there's something to think about)