How Long Does it Take to Learn to Dance


A question many people have asked us is how long does it take to learn to dance?  This is a very important question lots of beginners want to know the answer to.  So what is the answer?


How Long Does it Take to Learn to Dance


We say 12 Weeks.  Let us explain.  There are many clever philosophical answers to this question but lets just say that learning to dance for some of us has become a lifelong passion and a journey that we cannot see the end of.  We might be teachers, but we are students first and the learning never stops.


We also want to say that this is a super subjective topic and everything we say here is really full of assumptions.  The safe, most common, and very true answer is “it depends”.


From a practical perspective however, this is an important question new dancers often want an answer to, even if it is only a rough estimate.


We would say that …

  • an average student
  • who has never danced before
  • is learning a partner dance style such as Salsa
  • is attending classes for 2 hours per week
  • is going to a social dance one night per week

… should achieve basic level of dance capability and confidence in around 12 weeks.


Defining ‘being able to dance’

At one end of the spectrum many people are quite happy to rock from one foot to the other in time to the music.  At the other end of the spectrum you have career dance professionals who can make you cry simply by the way they move their bodies.  So how do you define ‘Can Dance’?


We would suggest that it would be safe to aim for the following;

  • You can move on time in the correct rhythm
  • You can maintain a good basic connection with your dance partner
  • You can lead or follow at least half a dozen of the basic patterns in the style


If you can do all that we think we can put a big tick next to your name for ‘Can Dance’


Dance Style Factors

Dance styles all have differing levels of difficulty.  For example we think that Salsa is easier than West Coast Swing, which is easier than Argentine Tango.  It takes longer to reach a basic level of competency in Argentine Tango, that it does in Salsa.


In our Dance Style Guide you will find that each style has been rated on a ‘Difficulty for Beginners’ index.  We have consulted with dance teachers from all over the world, on all the styles in the Dance Style Guide and created this index as a rough guide for new dancers.  It’s not perfect, and once again it all ‘depends’, but it will give you some measure of how dance teachers rate the different styles.


Private Lessons

Private lessons are a great way to speed up the learning process but we would recommend you focus on classes for at least the first month.  You will get better value out of private lessons once you have established some basics.



Practice is a key factor in determining the speed at which people become proficient at dancing.  The best formula we can recommend is 1 hour of practice for every hour of class.


You don’t want to over practice things in the early stages because your technique will need to be adjusted a lot in the first few weeks.  If you over practice too soon it will be harder to correct your technique.


Social Dancing

Nothing will boost your confidence and capability in social dancing more than getting onto the social dance floor as soon as you can.  Even if you only know two moves, going to social dances and having at least a few dances will dramatically increase your learning rate.


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