So, it’s your first African dance class and you are not sure what to expect.

Breakdance freestyles?

This dude?! The heck?! No, I wish.

Chill. It’s not that crazy. It’s way more fun! But before you step in class with heels for a beginner West African dance class in your finest gown, know what to expect.

1. Attire

You may notice some students in African print skirts. It’s up to you and your thoughts on cultural misappropriation (I’ll leave that to you). I wear basic workout tights and a black shirt (to mask the copious amounts of sweat). Others may wear sweat pants or shorts and a tee. If you are going to wear a skirt, please be aware that there may be a warm up portion that could require leg lifting. You might want some shorts under them skirts. But whatever you wear, make sure you can freely move!

2. Footwear 

For the most part come as you are, barefoot that is. No tap shoes, heels, sandals, or sneakers required for many traditional African dance classes. Socks? I suppose, if you like. Foot condition and you need dance shoes? Talk to your teacher at a convenient time (read: not in the middle of teaching).

3. Where to position yourself in the room

If you are new to this, you might want to hang back so as to view other seasoned dancers in case you miss a step. Place yourself at the front at your own risk. Be open to the realization that the teacher may reposition you for reasons, such as making sure everyone has a clear view of themselves in the mirror or spacing, or even to catch the footwork of an experienced student. 

4. Be aware of your space

There are few things more irritating than a space invasion. No hitting. It’s not nice. Don’t block another student’s view of the mirror as much as possible. Stagger yourselves. Disperse!

5. Water

Come hydrated. Have a water bottle. Towel optional if you like to pat away your sweat. 

6. Have fun & try your best!

Don’t just quit and stand to the back. You need to show up for yourself. Enjoy the movement, sounds, and energy! Be the good vibes you hope to receive.