Leave a few minutes early for your dance lessons and give yourself some time to warm up your body before class if its cold outside. Dance injuries happen usually due to the muscles not being warm before using them. It happens more easily then you think! Wear a sweater or light jacket to start the class off and take it off after you have warmed up.
"Practice makes perfect"
Well, I don't know about perfect but it sure helps the memory out. Even going through what you learned in class for 5 minutes ago, when you get home makes a big difference in remembering for the following week's lesson or social. Several times I have heard "well we can't seem to find the time together to practice during the week with our busy schedules". My response is "practice yourself." And secondly, attend some dances, if you don't already, that's where you can have fun socially with everyone from your group class plus get some floor time in. Who cares if you mess up, that's why everyone else is there too, for the practice!
"Should I be warming up before my dance lesson?"
Yes of course you should stretch before any kind of dance class or social. Muscles can be cold and tight and injured easily if your not careful. Five minutes to stretch your body a little should do the trick for dancing. Be careful with your body, it only takes leaving a few minutes earlier for class to give yourself enough time to stretch and warm up. Ideas for stretching include: rolling your head around to loosen up neck joints, rolling shoulders in a backward and forward rotation as well as pushing them down and back for a feeling of proper dance posture, moving arms up above your head and behind you, circling ankles in and outwards so you don't twist them, moving legs from the hip joint forward and back to loosen those joints up as well.
Footwork is one of the cornerstones of good dancing - but it doesn't mean only learning the steps, it's also where your feet go and in what manner. One of the coolest things appearance-wise to learn, is to dance with one's feet together instead of apart. Your feet should actually lightly brush against one another as they move. This means you have to develop a good sense of balance, because - let's face it - it's always easier to balance standing and moving with your feet apart.
Beginner Dancer's Tip
Try never to refuse a dance with someone who is asking you. It doesn't feel very good to be rejected. This tip is for the ladies and the gentleman, and a reminder to the Intermidiate/Advanced dancers as well. This is how we learn to be dancers; by dancing with lots of different partners and dancers of all levels.
Make sure you have strong basics in any dance you are learning, before moving up a level or learning new patterns. It will make the next level a lot more frustrating if you don't know your basics well enough. We all started at the beginning and repeated the first level a few times before moving up. Sometimes as intermediate or advanced dancers, its a good idea to refresh our memories by taking a basic class again, as a reminder of a few things we have forgotten about.