I suggest you first reseach the different forms and styles of dance so that you can become better acquainted with the tempo, movements, and character of the dance technique. Maybe go on youtube and search for something like: ballet dance, jazz dance, lyrical dance, hip hop routine, acrobatics, latin jazz,or ballroom. You can also look for contemporary and modern techniques such as Jose Limon, Martha Graham, or Horton.
Looking at some videos will probably give you a better insight into what you can see yourself doing and what you connect with. Also think about the music that usually inspires you to dance. Is it soft or emotional (lyrical)? Fast or pop (Jazz) or classical (ballet)? Of course those are all very vague but you can use it as a brief guide. You can also consider taking a modern class, which I recommend for a beginner dancer.
You should try to focus on ballet technique as an origin for your dancing. Ballet will give you a strong and excellent foundation for whatever type of dance form you determine to continue to pursue in the future.
Most dance teachers tend to instruct choreography and movement visually, by showing the movement and having the students watch, or orally by pronouncing the movements which are to be executed.
To learn faster find out how you learn best. Visual learners learn by seeing and have good visual recall and photographic memories. Auditory learners learn by listening, and are good at repeating back, and recalling lectures. Kinesthetic learners learn through actions and experiences, and are good at recalling things they have experienced first hand.
Which one are you? If you don't know, try the learning styles as you're learning, and determine which one helps most. Maybe you actually need to try the movements full out before the exercise begins, or as the teacher is showing you in order to do it properly.
Also keep in mind that constant training and vocabulary are not only important but necessary when learning. Our students have mid-term and year-end exams to insure that they are progressing with their technique, learning their ballet vocabulary, and polishing their dancing.
The longer you work on your extensions, the more likely it will be that you will see progress.
The first question to ask yourself is how often you already stretch or work on strengthening your extensions in class or during the week. If you don't do it very often, then you will need to work on your stretches longer and more often.
Our students take a daily 2 hour ballet class in which they often work on their extensions and flexibility for about 30 minutes, and I recommend that you begin working on the following:
1. With something similar to a barre, or at a barre, both hands at the barre, lift your leg to the front to. Make sure your hips are down, that the hips are square, and you are turned out. Lower the upper body into the leg, and make sure the back is stretched over as much as possible. Hold for about 1 minute. (You may also do this with an empty wall, just attach the working foot to the wall for your support.)
2. With a barre, or something you can slide on, both hands at the barre/support, lift the leg to the side, place it on the barre/support and slide down, first turned out for your strattle, and then in parallel or forward instead of side for your split. Do about 5 slides.
3. With the help of a friend, parent, or teacher, lift you leg and have your helper push it to the desired goal. Do it to the front, side, and to the back. Make sure you remain turned out and with the hips square, and to let your helper know when to stop lifting. (Listen to your body, it will let you know when it is too much). Hold 1 min.
4. Using an empty wall space, standing, back to the wall with the heels touching the wall, lower the upper body into a cambre foward, and place the hands on the floor. Lift one leg back into the wall, and push yourself in to the split. Hold as necessary to feel the stretch.
5. Standing and Holding a support or barre, lift the leg using your hand, same arm same leg, straighten both knees, keep the hips down, and bend your elbow to bring the leg closer to you. Practice to the front and side.
6. Splits, with hands off the floor or up in 5th position. 1 min each.
7. Elevated splits. Start slow, maybe with one or two books or something not too far from the floor. Place the front foot on top of the books. Gradually begin using higher objects to enhance your stretch. This will especially help you with big jumps. (Also practice elevated strattes) 1 min each or more.
8. Strattle on the floor. sitting, spread the legs apart as wide as you can. You want a straight line, not a pyramid. Lean the body completely forward, arms extended out in front of you, try to get the stomach on the floor. Hold 5 minutes.
9. Go through the strattle on the floor. Climb on top of the strattle trying to keep the pelvis as close as you can to the floor, and go through it to close the legs behind you.
10. Strattle on the wall. Find an empty wall space. laying on your back, slide in to the wall and open the legs into a strattle. Make sure your bottom and entire leg is touching the wall. Again work towards opening the legs to a straight line. 5 to 10 min.
Try to do the stretches as often as you can to achieve the maximum and best result. Keep in mind that you will be sore after completion of the exercises and I suggest that you continue stretching out your muscles to diminish the soreness. Practice these stretches in the supervision of an adult or a teacher and with your safety in mind.
Stay positive and realistic, and although I'm sure you can greatly increase your flexibility with thorough hard work, keep in mind that flexibility has a lot to do with anatomy, and your own body. There are many fantastic professional dancers who are not and will never be super flexible because of their anatomy and bone structure, and that's fine. You don't need to be "super flexible" to be a great dancer. And if this super flexibility is not your thing, work hard on your other strengths so that you can polish them and make yourself a stronger dancer.
Remember that dance is a beautiful art form because the dance is nothing without the dancer, and the art is nothing without the style, emotion, performance and character we give to it, and that is all more than enough- splits or not.