Learning A New Skill Is Hard Work – But Rewarding!

So you have an idea that you want to learn a new skill? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a performer? Perhaps you want to work behind the scenes making costumes or what if your new skill is something, er, skilled, like belly dance, circus training, pole work, sword fighting? Well, it’s not the skill part that’s necessarily the most important part, it’s your enthusiasm, and the willpower to stick to it even when the going gets tough...

A new skill can really enhance a burlesque performance – and for those reading this from the non-burlesque perspective, it can enrich your life. Going to a class is a great way of making friends and varying your everyday life, and just getting out there and doing ‘it’ will put you in a positive mindset. Every little goal will give you a sense of achievement…

Get Out There! 

So you’ve decided on what you want to learn – perhaps it’s something you’ve been wanting to try for ages? Perhaps it’s a skill you once did years ago but ditched and now is the right time to pick it up again? We can often lose the will to do something if we wait for others to join us – after all, how many times have you asked a friend to do an exciting class with you only to find they are not as keen as you so you reluctantly decide not to bother? Just remember, there will be a class-load of like-minded people who you don’t know yet, who could turn into a new social group. Time to take a deep breath and go alone – you won’t be alone for long and usually the other class members have all be in the same boat and will welcome you with open arms!

Don’t spend a long time looking online…

We’re all guilty of ‘researching’ the said skill online – whether it’s looking for classes, watching ‘how to’ clips on youtube, researching costumes (which are waaay down the line in terms of needing to buy one!), buying books… All this research is another form of procrastination! Just get out there to a class! A good teacher will have a great knowledge on the subject, and unlike how to clips, will be able to correct you when you are doing things wrong. Which leads us to the next point…

Don’t give up when you go wrong!

Never be ashamed of going wrong. Everyone makes mistakes and making mistakes is a great way of learning (as long as they are not dangerous mistakes – no one wants to set fire to their own face to learn that fire work is dangerous!). If you can learn from your mistake, you can proceed in the correct way and move on…

Learn a small bit at a time…

We know that when you first pick something up, it seems there’s a lot of information to take it. With a dance form – such as belly dance, great for keeping up those burlesque bump and grind moves! – there are a lot of moves and to try and absorb them all at once will seem impossible. So try and concentrate on a few moves at a time. Take a couple from each week and practise them at home before your next lesson. Before you know it, you will have quite a collection of moves… But remember, stick to the basics first, learn to do them well, as once those are comfortably under your belt you can move on to harder stuff; running before you can walk can be frustrating and is one of the reasons why people give up on a skill.

Stick it out… 

Yes, the first few lessons will be hard, as you are learning something unfamiliar to you… but if you are just going to a weekly hour-long session, you can’t expect to know everything there is to know in under 5 weeks (that’s just 5 hours when you look at it that way!). Apparently it takes six hours to really feel you have an understanding of your chosen skill – and if you practise what you learn in the class at home, you will have a great head start and won’t need a refresher every time you hit the class.

Practise… 

What we just said above – but tenfold! If you really want to excel at a skill you will need to practise – and just an hour a week learning will not be enough. Practise as much as you can! The more you go over something the more you are able to perfect it – after all, do you really think most performers who hit the stage got there after learning something and then just doing it? No, they practise routines/skills/etc to make it look as effortless and as though it comes naturally.

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