General Dance Discussion > 30 year old too late to learn dance?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by rika, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. rika

    rika New Member


    This might be a little long to read, just a heads up. I haven't looked through all the posts though I tried to find something similar - if anyone would like to link something which already covers this, please do and I will definitely read.

    I'm a 30 year old woman from Asia and I have always been fascinated with dance (Western dance I mean). I mention where I'm from because the community I grew up in sees dancing as a waste of time and unimportant (that might be true in the USA as well, I don't know - and this is obviously not true for all of Asia, just the particular place I am in). Of course there are people who dance, but often it is traditional Eastern dance (which is nice but it doesn't really appeal to me - you can only do it as a serious career in itself and people spend years on it doing nothing else). I don't personally know anyone who knows modern dance or salsa or anything like that. There's club dancing but I don't even like going to clubs (they're loud and you get all kinds of hostile attention).

    I also grew up as a timid kind of person on the outside and very body conscious because I was taught to feel ashamed of myself/my body. My height/weight is normal but I have large breasts and I used to hunch for many years to hide them. Even the way I used to walk was a kind of shuffling self-conscious thing which was my attempt to say 'please don't look at me'.

    The main way I could express myself and all my thoughts and emotions was through writing, and I realized (and many people told me) that I AM a creative person.

    In the past 2 years though I have begun to rediscover myself and accept myself and also my body. It is a tough process because of years of seeing myself a certain way, but something that helped me was that I started learning to swim a year ago. I absolutely love it - it made my body stronger, and the strength made me feel really liberated as a person. This might sound crazy but while I am in the water, I feel more like a human-fish and I forget everything else and just enjoy the movement in the water. With daily practice for months, I've even been getting compliments from serious swimmers on how well I swim. It made me realize that even at 29 years old I could learn something new that I love so much.

    As I said in the beginning (sorry it took so long to get here :)) I secretly loved watching dancers and although I didn't even dare to think that I could dance, it was definitely a dream for me. I started trying to dance on my own a little bit, and it felt WONDERFUL. I see it as a kind of expression basically, and it makes me very happy because I feel that the few minutes I spend dancing is a few minutes I spend loving life. If I can be allowed another crazy example to explain this, the way we stroke a cat to express our affection for it, the same way I see the movement of the body and limbs as a way to express our affection for life. I just feel much more connected with everything around me, whether it is furniture or the walls, or even my shadow.

    Of course I don't know how to dance at all. I also don't know about lessons - because even if I can find some, they will be for students and children and professionals I imagine. Also, what dance would I learn? Could anyone suggest something that would suit me from reading this?

    With swimming what I realized is that I can play around in the water, but actually learning to swim - which allows me to swim a thousand times faster and better, that has so much pleasure in it, the way you interact with the water. That's basically what I'm looking to achieve with dancing as well - if it's not too late to learn.

    So to summarize this ramble, I don't know where to go to learn - can I learn on my own? It's not that I mind learning with other people (I did it with swimming so I know when I really want to I won't let myself care enough to stop me), but I don't know if there is anything. The things I looked up in my area sound very fitness oriented (zumba) - and what I want to learn is something expressive. (I forgot to add - because of my large breasts and also not being very athletic - I do swim a lot but it's only now that I have built it up to a high level, so I don't know if I have the right muscles - I'm not sure which dances I can even learn without it being uncomfortable?)

    I would love it if someone could advice me on any of this. Even if I can learn and practice a little bit every day, in a year I think it would be beautiful to actually live my dream.

    Thank you so much for reading and any suggestions!
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    we have MANY threads on this...and I would suggest that if you don't have the patience or will to do a search you are lacking some critical skills necessary for learning to dance which have nothing to do with age...and I don't mean that with even the slightest bit of crabbiness...
    samina likes this.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    find a studio...learning on your own is a very limited proposition ...flashdance notwithstanding
    chomsky likes this.
  4. rika

    rika New Member

    Thanks for the reply - I understand your point about not having checked the site properly. I did look through a bit (obviously not enough), from a new person's point of view there IS a huge amount of stuff on here (a lot of it dealing with professional dancing). I asked for links to facilitate the research process, not replace it! To someone who has been here a while I guess it looks like 'yet another thread on the same old thing' - I'm sorry about that.

    The other thing was that the threads I saw were asking if they were too old to learn dance professionally (if their body was still flexible) - I'll check more though. My other main question here was what type of dance I should learn (if anyone can make that out or has any suggestions).
  5. sudoplatov

    sudoplatov Member

    I don't think you are too old to learn. I started at 65 (after retirement.) I do not intend to dance in competition, but it's fun socially.
  6. Borazine

    Borazine New Member

    Yeah, thirty is just fine. I started at 24 and (like many) wish I'd started younger, but there's nothing to be done about that. Really I think that learning at a young age is only important if you want to make it into a professional ballet company or win a world championship. For those of us with more modest goals, it's really not a problem.

    I would bet that most people in the ballroom and Argentine tango communities started learning above age 30, for what it's worth.

    I would suggest that you don't worry about deciding yet which style of dance is right for you and just try something. I say that largely because my own interests have shifted so much - As a newbie dancer I was more eager to learn salsa than anything else. As it turns out... salsa and I just don't mix well. It's been a constant struggle, while I'm able to pick up other styles much more easily. In the meantime I've fallen in love with west coast swing, a dance I didn't even know existed back then.

    So just find something and go for it! You'll figure out in time if there's something else that's a better fit for you.
  7. Dots

    Dots Active Member

    I started at 30 and had a blast, so I would not worry about your age. Dancing also has a large social component, so I would suggest going out there, learning and making friends all at once! ;)
  8. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Hello rika

    In Berlin many people start social dancing around the age of 30. You are not too old to have fun at dancing - not for a long time.

    It’s difficult to suggest a dance to you without knowing any of your preferences. Is there any kind of music or movement you like particular?
  9. alexis9000

    alexis9000 New Member

    It's never too soon nor too late to start dancing. You start whenever or wherever you wish. I started at 26, I'm 27 now (so it makes one year I'm on my dance group), but if the plan for me was to start dancing at 30, I would do exactly the same as I did with 26!! :D
  10. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    You're so lucky. I wish I started dancing when I was 30 instead of waiting till my 40s.
  11. alexis9000

    alexis9000 New Member

    Well. There are things in life you gotta wait unfortunatelly. I wanted to be a singer like Michael Bublé is for example, but you know, I cannot go to a casting these days you know why? Because of my father, he wants me to give up my dream because he wants me to work (I already told him I would do voluntary if necessary, but he doesn't believe me). But I won't give up. Sometimes it's better to start singing at 40 years old than to start at 14 for example you know? If you launch a career at 14, probably many people would say you're just another Justin Bieber. You wouldn't want that I guess. :) But as I'm busy on my dance activities I cannot go anywhere because I'm going to Brazil on September on a show (yes, I will perform there). And when I return it's already October (probably 14th). So, I guess I'll have no choice but pray for a chance later than that to appear.
  12. anntennis

    anntennis Active Member

    I whish I were 30 when I started... You are so lucky!!!!
  13. alexis9000

    alexis9000 New Member

    About dancing. Yeah, probably. But I want to sing. Singing is my priority, I'm just dancing only meanwhile I cannot travel for a singing casting. Or for an opportunity like that... Got it? So you can consider me lucky for dancing soon, but it's not enough for me I'm afraid...I love to dance...but I want more! I want to fulfill my dream.

    P.S: All my dance mates with no exception are below 30 year old, so actually it was a surprise for me to see two replies telling me that I'm lucky. I mean I've seen already so many young dancers on this planet already.
  14. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    30 is probably a little late for break dancing, you simply no longer have rubber for bones.
    Other than that, if you're a swimmer, you shouldn't have any trouble with the more energetic stuff, like Jitterbug, VW, Samba or Polka, and the rest (ballroom, Latin, etc.) is just E-Z.
    Hostile attention in night clubs? What kind of 'hostile' attention do women receive in night clubs?
    Maybe you mean 'unwanted'.
    Men are the ones who get the hostile attention.
  15. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    fellow asian here. i grew in the US, but I do understand how native ethnic/cultural values influence the perspective that pursuing something "artistic" is generally seen as being frivolous.

    you have lots of choices. given your enjoyment of swimming, you may discover that you prefer to dance individually (without a partner), in which case you have choices such as jazz, ballet, hip hop, etc. or you could study a martial art or something like tai chi.

    if you seek partner dancing, you have dances that have varied degrees of interactive/more spontaneous choice of movement vs. doing dances that have a pre-set or called series of moves such as in certain folk dances or contra-dancing. otherwise, the choice of dance is generally influenced by your musical tastes. if you don't like to listen to salsa music for example, it won't make much sense to learn salsa dancing. ditto for swing music.

    regardless of your location, i'd suggest doing some sort of internet search to find if dance classes are available where you are. avoid making substantial financial commitments up front if you are not sure that the dance style in question is something you really want to pursue long term.
  16. dncergrl

    dncergrl Active Member

    If you are absolutely new to the dance world, I suggest you google dance in your city and see what is available. Then go to studios and if they allow it , see if you can watch a class before you take the first leap. Or you can start with community center classes which are less expensive. It is never too late to start to dance. But every studio, center, class or instructor has their own vibe or personality, so don't give up until you find something that is a pretty good fit for you. Then give yourself time. Learning to dance is harder than it looks because dancers hide the sweat and hard work and train to make it look easy. But it is totally worth it. Good luck.
  17. I don't think it's too late at all. I took my first real partner dance lessons at the age of 32, although I had taken some other dance classes before that.

    By the way, I liked your human-fish description. That makes me think you would enjoy dancing if you tried it. For me it gives me a way to be that is different from my usual way of being.

    I agree with what some others have said: see what's available locally and maybe try a few different styles. If you could say something about what types of music you like, that would help too.
  18. This is true to an extent, but there is a twist: learning to dance to a certain type of music can change how you hear it. There was a time I actively disliked salsa music. By the time I tried salsa lessons, I was at best neutral toward it. I had warmed up to it a little after hearing it in the context of Puerto Rico Day Parade in Philadelphia, but I wouldn't say I really liked it. After minimal salsa lessons and watching a couple dance it in a club I started to love a lot of the music.

    To a lesser extent, taking a jazz samba class prior to my involvement with salsa made me more open to samba, bossa nova, and ultimately some other Brazilian music.

    So while maybe it doesn't make sense to take lessons in a dance featuring music you really hate, I'm not sure even mildly disliking the music should stop a person from trying.
    aurel likes this.
  19. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Well, I sure hope you did decide to start dancing, and found some wonderful times in your life as a result. If you read this, I hope you will come back and tell us how you progressed.
  20. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Since OP rika has not logged into the forum since August of 2013, we likely won't hear from her.

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