Archive for the ‘Dance Tips’ Category
There are a lot of new students walking through the door. You all have the chance to develop some really good habits right from the start. To our veteran stu-dents… Re-member, it is NEVER too late to start picking up good habits. Group clas-ses are the key to successful… well… success in your dancing!
As a teacher, I am seeing empty group classes… Not altogether empty but 2-3 and sometimes as little as 1 per-son in these classes! Group classes are total practice time to help you hold your posture up and learn steps even quick-er. You have the opportunity to practice working on things that your teacher gives you on your own… If you can do it by yourself, you know you have it in the bag.
In the beginning, you hear us say that “these things will soon become muscle memory…” However, you also hear us recommend (strongly) at least one group to every private. After your first course, these become unlimited for you. You should take advantage of them. It could mean the dif-ference between taking 1-2 weeks to get something down or 1-2 months. We have the group classes for a good reason. Those of you who don’t come to your group classes probably have noticed a stand still in your learning… There’s
a correlation there.
In short, we want all of our students to always feel like they are progressing and we love seeing you guys! So check out the group schedule… There are plenty to choose from. Try and schedule it around a private lesson or make a date night (if you are a couple) and grab some dinner before or afterward.
Trust me when I say that you should start coming to your group classes as often as you can. No matter what level you are, there is always room for more group classes. This way you know that you are learning on a consistent basis. I will always stress group classes.
Next time, I will talk a little more about the benefits of the parties! Talk about one heck of a way to practice leading and following… Not to mention, what a fun way to meet some of the other students!
Learning to dance with your partner should be fun, easy, and stress free. That being said, there are times where, as couples, we tend to lose sight of what’s really im-portant— having fun! There are some things you should consider when learning with your partner. I have outlined 5 of the most important rules to remember when learning to dance with that special someone.
First… Make sure you don’t find fault with each other. Remember, the teacher is there to teach. Try and avoid pointing something out that the other is doing because, remember, they are learning too.
Second… It’s not how many steps you know— it’s how you execute them! Don’t get impatient… Make sure that you are both executing the original steps well before you try to take on too much too soon. It will make you much better dancers in the long run!
Third… Ease up ladies. In teaching couples, we have learned that men typically progress slower because they have more to do and tend to be more analytical or mechan-ical. Women, on the other hand, feel movement quicker and therefore it is critical that ladies don’t get too impatient with their partner.
Fourth… Keep your les-sons as close together as possible! Using your lessons in conjunction with group classes and socials is so im-portant to ensure you make speedy progress and gain confidence as soon as possi-ble.
Fifth… Communicate with your teacher! Make sure if something is feeling uncom-fortable or you are not un-derstanding something, ask your teacher FIRST before laying blame to your partner. This will ensure that the right solutions are being utilized. 9 times out of 10 it isn’t solely our partner’s fault— It takes two to tango…
All in all, we want to make sure that our couples have the most fun learning with each other. The most im-portant thing is that you are here to have fun. Remember, you don’t practice 9 hours a day training for a competition so you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourselves to do well. Like anything else, it will take time and it is a constant learning process. Dancing is like fine wine— It gets better with age… Just enjoy the journey because when you learn to dance with your partner, it should be fun!
As Gentleman, you have a certain job to fulfil on the dance floor— To guide the lady. We are here to take care of the lady so that she is free to dance to her full potential. We, as gentle-man, are the frame and the lady is the picture. Here are some basic etiquette rules to follow when dancing with your part-ner to ensure everyone has a good time.
First, and foremost, we always want to make sure that lady is comfortable dancing… So try never to dance her through things you don’t think she knows. Sometimes this is ok, but don’t use your knowledge to show-off in the wrong way. Dancing lady
through steps you don’t think she knows is not considered couth or gen-tlemanly. If you go too overboard with fancy steps, you may deter the lady from dancing with you in the future.
The second, under no cir-cumstances should you EVER dance an advanced dance with them if you haven’t before or if you know for a fact that they don’t know that dance. For example, Viennese Waltz. A dance like this is dangerous for both lady and gentleman if they are not used to dancing it with each other or dancing it in general. People can end up hurt if they try to do this dance too fast or with-out practice first. So be smart in choosing your partner for a fast Viennese Waltz. And, likewise, if
you do not know the dance, don’t attempt it without consulting your teacher.
The Third and final rule: NEVER LET THE LADY SIT OUT! This is more toward etiquette before entering the dance floor. This should be implied but, remember, traditional-ly, it is up to the man to invite lady onto the dance floor. So make sure you ask everyone to dance! (Ladies, in these modern times, you CAN ask gen-tlemen to dance as well.)
One way, and possibly the most obvious, is to pick your favorite and most comfortable dance. If you are a newer student and feel very comfortable with Fox Trot, go with that option. Your first routine should be fun and exciting— we can save the challenging dances for your later routines! Likewise, if you absolutely LOVE the Rumba, But you’re uncomfortable with it, choose that one to lift it to the level of your other dances! There is no rule to picking your first routine as long as it is an enjoyable experience!
If you are unsure, you can always let your teacher pick one for you. Your teachers know what dances would be spectacular for you for your first time out, trust them. They are here to help and they know what they are talking about— they will never steer you in a poor direction!
All in all, your first routine is an exciting time for you in the studio. It is almost like a rite of passage as we have come to know the first routine. Throw caution to the wind and have fun! You might be nervous but you will find that it is so rewarding!
Many students ask how to dress for their first event. This is an understandable question if you haven’t been to a showcase or DOR before. There are a few answers that come to mind that I have ranked most important. Let’s explore!
First off, “what do I wear?” comes to mind. Well, if you are coming for an all day event, you should dress accordingly. Should you be dancing in the events, wear comfortable clothing to the event and change into whatever clothes you will be dancing your first dances in. 9 times out of 10, you will be dancing smooth first. For Ladies, we encourage you, at an early level, to wear a nice top and a skirt that flows well. Our newbies should be focusing on the dancing more so than the costumes at this point, after all! For our ladies who have gotten a little more used to dancing, we encourage you to dress to the nines! Ball gowns, cocktail dresses, etc… If you need help finding budget costumes, let us know! For our Gentleman, we have an easy job! At any level, we can always get away with the handy, yet traditional, vest and tie— bow ties or neck ties will be perfect! If you want to go tails or dinner jacket, make sure you have ones that are made for dancing as others will rise up….Again, if you need budget options, let us know! To stay safe, however, I always recommend a good vest.
Latin is next!!! This is a great way to let off some steam! Ladies, you can opt for a slightly shorter dress or comfortable pants and a top that suits. I always say, “dress as if you were going on a sexy vacation”. Again, for the newer students, conservative is best. For our seasoned veterans, go with the costumes if you can always adds a nice touch! Always opt for nice color schemes! Gentleman, again, we have an easy job! You can never go wrong with basic black or white. Unless you are wanting to match your partner perfectly, go with black basic or dance pants and a black button down with the collar undone and the sleeves rolled up (or not rolled up). Black tees work as well! If you want to go the costume route, ask one of us to help you pick something great if you are having trouble!
That was the dancing aspect. Now, if you are wondering about the Gala Ball, I always recommend formal somewhere between black tie and not. There is no dress code per se, but you want to make sure you are dressed for a night on the town! Ladies, a nice cocktail dress, suitable to move and dance… Gentleman, a nice suit can be a dinner suit or a regular business type suit. A tie for gentleman is not required but always a nice touch!
I hope that this has helped in some way, shape, or form. Remember, if you have questions on how to dress, ask us that is why we are here! And, as always, whenever picking any type of costume or outfit, make sure you go with something that will best show you off. Stay away from anything too skimpy, in Latin especially. Remember, costumes are there to accentuate your performance… nothing else too over the top. After all, the Ballroom and Latin world is still a world we wish to keep classy. Don’t take tips from the girls you see on TV who show more of their assets than their dancing… If you know what I mean. And gentleman, make sure you dress the part you are there to treat lady with respect and beauty. Stay away from jeans unless dancing Country Western!
It’s sure to be a brilliant Showcase this year! I can’t wait to see all of you there!
Many people come in to our studio with the direct interest of learning the Tango. However, more times than not, they have a certain type of Tango in mind. Sometimes it is the sharp, powerful Tango… And sometimes it is a more soft, romantic type of Tango. So, what are your choices? Let’s find out!
Argentine Tango, as we know it, originated toward the end of the 19th century in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This dance encompasses very soft and subtle motions, peaked by the occasional sharp hit. The signature of Argentine Tango, of course, are the intricate foot & leg amalgamations. These would illustrate how couples would flirt on the dance floor by intertwining their legs around each other. HOT!
American Tango, as we know it, came to life in the early 20th Century in the New York, USA area. This dance features much more sharp, staccato actions. This gives us
a much more powerful look. American tango is much more apt to be devel-oped into a social dance standard.
As you can see, both of these dances have their strong points and both are fun to learn and dance! There are actually between 10 and 15 different types of Tango. All of which are amazing to watch and even more amazing to dance!
There has always been re-search having to do with pre-venting Alzheimer’s. This disease effects brain, memory, thinking, and behavioral functions, to name a few. It is certainly something to try and avoid through keeping the brain active.An ongoing research relating Alzheimer’s and Ball-room dancing has continuously confirmed that this form of exercise and hobby is a deterrent for this disease. “Ballroom dancing lowers the risk for Alzhei-mer’s by as much as 76 %”* studies have shown.How does this hobby do this, you may ask. When we learn something new, in this caseBallroom dancing, we use parts of our brain that we sometimes are not used to using. We are using the part of the brain that helps us remember certain things. Exercising the brain is just like exercising the body— the more you use it, the morehealthy it will stay!
If we keep using that brain to remember our techniques, steps, styles, and dances, we increase the chances that we will have a healthier brain for a much longer period of time.Make sure you keep dancing, not only for the ex-cellent physical benefits, but for the added mental effects as well. The brain should be treated as a muscle that needs to be worked out to stay in shape and what better way to do it then dance the night away!
Private lessons are and always will be the foundation of your learning… Just like a healthy diet, however, we have our foundation and we have supple-ments to improve our health. Think of group classes as the vitamins and supplements to improve your dancing faster!
Many times, students can’t do more then 1 or 2 lessons per week— even 1 or 2 lessons per fortnight. The cure to forgetting, is attending groups. In order for you to make the most out of your time in the studio, you should get to these groups to practice technique, step knowledge, posture, etc… Just because a teacher is work-ing on one step doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on your technique while dancing them.
Not only will you find yourself remembering steps, but dancing them much more comfortably and confidently. We know, as teachers, that there is nothing more frustrating than not re-membering— GROUPS WILL HELP DRASTICALLY! Don’t underestimate them and use your time wisely. Listen, Practice, and Learn. Don’t just do the steps, dance them. You have the opportunity to take advantage of unlimited groups for your program– Use them—it will be worth it.