If you are a social ballroom dancer, try country-western line dancing. If you are a swing dancer, experiment with hip hop. More “serious” ballroom dancers can try hustle or lindy hop dancing. If you participate in a lesson when you dance socially, but have not taken any regular group classes, this might be the opportunity you are seeking to learn a particular dance – or maybe some ballet, tap or jazz. Or, for any dance style, you might consider the one-on-one benefits of private lessons and/or competition. No matter what dance direction you choose, mix it up in order to keep it fresh and fun!
by Caitlin Rose Foster
Whenever we dance, we do something that is special, different and unique to ourselves that not a single person can replicate because only we can move that way. It is tremendously personal, yet is something that some people feel entitled to judge.
Our inner critic is probably the harshest one of all. We can always come up with ideas about how we might not be good enough. We can say that there are more qualified people who can do what we are trying to do, so we really should just leave it up to them right? Of course not!
Instead of picking ourselves apart, we should pat ourselves on the back for being brave and putting ourselves out there.
by Pattie Wells’ Dancetime
1. Rolling heel leads for forward walks: flex the knee and trace the floor with the toe until it is one stride length forward, then push off the supporting (sending) foot and do a quick flip of the foot to land with a soft heel lead. Roll from the heel through the whole foot until you reach the toe and repeat.
2. Use rolling count rather than straight count, e.g., &a1, &a2 rather than 1&2.
3. Use an action-reaction or initiate-respond technique for lead/follow. This means that the leader initiates the movement and the follower responds to the movement rather than doing it at the same time or trying to anticipate the movement.
If you get into the habit of dancing around at home in the spare moments that you’re listening to music,it won’t be long before you start to get the hang of things. After that. the more time you put in, the more you’ll refine your style.
1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! (Water is best.)
2. Take frequent breaks.
3. Consider bringing a change of clothing (especially shirt/blouse) – your partners will appreciate it!
4. For temporary relief, run cold water over the insides of your wrists and/or on your palms.
5. More than ever, stay away from scents (perfumes,colognes, etc.) – which are often magnified by sweating.
People dance because they are inspired to dance by a beat or rhythm. At its most basic form, a dance might start with a foot tap to a catchy rhythm, and taking the movement further, it becomes a dance.
To be a good dancer you need to be able to feel the music and express that feeling with your body.
For the beginner dancer, it is important to become familiar with the rhythm, so get your hands on some music related to your chosen dance style and listen to it at every opportunity. Try out a few basic steps in the comfort and of your own home to build up your confidence.
by Richie Kerwan (excerpted)
(Latin Dance Community)
Just because you can do a certain move with certain people doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to follow you. It’s really disheartening and frustrating to a follower if she/he has a lot of trouble following you just because you’re trying to show off and don’t care if she/he can keep up.
Start slowly – adjust to your follower’s level and you can still have a great dance.
This tip sounds like a no-brainer, yet many new dancers look down at their feet. Truly, there is nothing to be gained by looking at your feet AND you will miss out on the experience of the visual connection with your partner as well as everything around you.
Especially for followers: do NOT look at your partner’s feet. By the time that a leader moves his/her feet, it is too late to respond. However, if you are a follower who keys into your leader’s physical connection to you or, as appropriate, looks at your leader’s upper torso – and/or for dances such as west coast swing and salsa, look at your leader’s eyes – you will find it much easier to follow your leader.
by Cathy Knowlton and Steven Joanna Tango
In social tango, there is a special connection between partners because it is based on improvised movements. It is a conversation between partners, using the body instead of voice. Argentine tango is based on four pillars: walking, turning, stopping, and embellishments.
The dance is like a puzzle that gets put together different, each time. Individual dancers bring their own styles and embellishments to the dance, which contribute significantly to the excitement and unpredictability of the experience. Even though dancers follow certain conventions, they never quite know what will happen during the dance, leads, follows, embellishments or interpretation of the music.
The surprises possible within the dance are what make the dance so exciting – and, to some, addicting.
It really does take two to tango, because the dance isn’t just about a leader and a follower. both partners have important things to contribute – like all good conversations.
A group class is the most common place for people learn how to dance because it exposes you to lots of different viewpoints on dancing and new material, with the added benefit that you can meet fellow dancers. It’s also great for those who are nervous about dancing, as they are among fellow learners and can take comfort in just being another face in the crowd.
Many instructors have different ways of thinking about things and different ways of doing things. So, you might like some of your local scene’s teachers better than others and it might take a little shopping to find your favorites.
Also, different teachers will sometimes give contradictory advice. Some advice is better than others. Some is equal, but different. So, start from the beginning to think for yourself. Take classes, take notes, try out what instructors are asking and decide for yourself what you like best of all and, if something doesn’t sound right, investigate.
Finally, use classes for all their benefits, not just instruction. Meet people, hang out with them between classes, ask your partners in the rotation for feedback on how your dancing is feeling,or ask one of your fellow students to help you practice the material if you have a few minutes free after class.