Ballroom Dancing-Ten Tips For The Novice by NiceTime

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									Title:
Ballroom Dancing-Ten Tips For The No
vice

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1398

Summary:
1. Just do it! Too many would-be da
ncers have convinced themselves, or
 let others tell them, that they 'j
ust can't dance', so they never eve
n attempt to learn. If you can walk
, you can learn to dance. Ballroom
dancing is composed of steps, forwa
rd, back, to the side, and in place
. It's the combining of these steps
 in different ways that creates the
 pattern of a dance. The steps are
learned one at a time, just like wh
en you were two and learning to wal
k! Don't let anyone disco...


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Article Body:
1. Just do it! Too many would-be da
ncers have convinced themselves, or
 let others tell them, that they 'j
ust can't dance', so they never eve
n attempt to learn. If you can walk
, you can learn to dance. Ballroom
dancing is composed of steps, forwa
rd, back, to the side, and in place
. It's the combining of these steps
 in different ways that creates the
 pattern of a dance. The steps are
learned one at a time, just like wh
en you were two and learning to wal
k! Don't let anyone discourage you,
 you CAN learn to dance!

2. Choose a studio carefully. All d
ance studios are not the same. It h
as been my experience that the best
 value for the money is with a loca
lly owned, independent studio, rath
er than one of the nationwide chain
s. This is not always the case, but
 I've found it to be true more time
s than not. I would also strongly s
uggest that you find a studio that
caters specifically to ballroom dan
cing, not one whose primary interes
t is ballet, tap, jazz, with only a
 couple of ballroom classes added a
s an afterthought.

3. Sign up first for a beginner gro
up class. I recommend this for seve
ral reasons. Group classes are usua
lly quite reasonably priced so ther
e is no huge initial outlay of cash
. Everyone in the group is just lik
e you, a beginner, so there's less
chance of feeling silly if you miss
 a step or two. (And you will, but
so will everyone else. You'll quick
ly learn to just laugh it off and k
eep going.) Whether or not you have
 a partner will not matter in a gro
up class. Most instructors will rot
ate the partners in a class, partia
lly to take care of uneven numbers
of men and women, but also to impro
ve each member's ability to lead, i
f you're a man, or follow, if you'r
e a woman. There's a lot of joking
and laughing during group classes a
s everyone learns new skills and ma
kes mistakes doing so. They're alwa
ys a lot of fun, and you'll be surp
rised how quickly you begin looking
 forward to the next class. Classes
 generally meet once a week, usuall
y for an hour, for a period of 6 or
 8 weeks, at which time you can cho
ose to continue with that class or
choose another.
4. Don't get discouraged! You'll pr
obably come away from that first cl
ass feeling a bit overwhelmed and l
etting negative thoughts invade you
r head, telling you that you'll nev
er get it right. Simply not true! Y
ou fortunately can't remember back
when you were two and first learnin
g to walk. How many times do you su
ppose you fell on your tushie befor
e you actually made it all the way
across the room?
What if you had told yourself to ju
st give up, this is too hard, I'll
never learn this? I guess we'd all
still be crawling! No, don't give u
p. When you get home, try to repeat
 at least some of the steps you lea
rned during that first class. Even
if you can't remember them by the t
ime you get to your car, the next c
lass almost always starts with a re
view of the last class. If you'll s
tick to it for the duration of the
6 or 8 week session, you'll come ou
t on the under end with the knowled
ge of some basic moves under your b
elt, I promise.

5. What should you wear to class? T
he attire worn to ballroom dance cl
asses is as varied as the people wh
o attend them. Some wear jeans or s
lacks, some women prefer to dance i
n skirts or dresses. Wear clothes t
hat are comfortable, perhaps a litt
le loose, to give you the freedom t
o move without constriction. Anothe
r thing to consider when choosing y
our apparel is temperature. Most st
udios are kept a little on the cool
 side, so you may be tempted to wea
r a sweater or long-sleeved shirt.
I would advise against this. Believ
e it or not, your body temperature
will increase as you dance, to the
point that some people actually per
spire. A short-sleeved, lightweight
 shirt will serve you well. Be clea
n, casual and comfortable.

6. Your choice of shoes can make th
e difference between enjoying ballr
oom dancing and not being able to e
ven master the steps. Please don't
make the mistake of wearing rubber-
soled shoes. They don't offer the p
roper traction for sliding, spinnin
g or turning. A loafer-type is good
, or any shoe with a smooth sole. F
or women, a shoe with a heel makes
for attractive movements, but certa
inly isn't a necessity when you're
first getting started. Later on, yo
u may want to consider purchasing a
 pair of dance shoes. These are spe
cifically designed to be worn on th
e dance floor and nowhere else. The
 soles are suede, allowing them to
slide easily, which makes turns and
 spins almost effortless. Some stud
ios offer dance shoes for sale, or
there are many sites online from wh
ich you can order. I also don't rec
ommend wearing open-toed shoes, suc
h as sandals or flip-flops. Remembe
r you're in a beginning class, and
there is always the possibility of
someone accidentally stepping on th
ose toes!

7. Arrive a few minutes before the
time the class actually begins. The
re is typically a sign-in sheet and
 many studios give out name tags to
 help you learn your fellow dancers
. If you have dance shoes, you'll n
eed those extra minutes to change f
rom your street shoes. Arriving ear
ly also gives you the opportunity t
o mingle a bit with others who are
there for the same class. Nothing d
isrupts a class more than someone r
ushing in late while the instructor
 is demonstrating a new step.

8. Commit to practice. You will nev
er become proficient in ballroom da
ncing, (or anything else, for that
matter) without practice. If you're
 having a problem with a particular
 step or pattern, it's perfectly ac
ceptable to hang around a few minut
es after class and go through it a
time or two with your partner. Prac
tice the steps at home once or twic
e a day, you'll be amazed how much
better you retain them throughout t
he week and it will make the next c
lass just that much easier. This is
 another benefit of arriving early
for class, it affords you the time
to practice those steps once more b
efore the instructor begins. Most s
tudios also offer a 'practice party
' or 'studio dance' weekly or month
ly. These are excellent for praacti
cing what you've learned as well as
 seeing the more accomplished dance
rs, which is what you're striving t
o become! I can't emphasize enough
the importance of the studio dances
 and the role they play in honing y
our dancing skills. Make plans to a
ttend whenever possible, even when
you're new and just starting out. M
aybe even ESPECIALLY when you're ne
w and just starting out! The season
ed dancers are always happy to help
 a newcomer and the dances provide
a perfect complement to your classes.

9. Enjoy all the non-dancing benefi
ts of ballroom dancing. Through you
r dancing, you will find a boost in
 self-confidence, an increase in ba
lance and an improvement in posture
. Through your dancing, you will ra
ise your heart rate, thus improving
 your cardiovascular health. Throug
h your dancing, you will meet new p
eople, make new friends, improve yo
ur social skills, and possibly esta
blish new business contacts. The da
nce floor is a great equalizer. In
a beginning class, everyone is a be
ginner, whether they're a doctor or
 lawyer, a construction worker, wai
tress or school teacher. For that h
our each week, the stresses of dail
y life simply melt away as you imme
rse yourself in learning the steps
and listening to the music and conn
ecting with your partner. It's grea
t therapy and a lot cheaper than a
psychiatrist!

10. Most importantly of all, HAVE F
UN! It's not a race or a competitio
n, everyone arrives at the same pla
ce eventually, dancing with their p
artner and having a wonderful time.
 You may experience moments of frus
tration with yourself or your partn
er, but don't let that overshadow a
ll the benefits of becoming a ballr
oom dancer. If you find you're not
enjoying what you're doing, conside
r a different dance. Perhaps the fo
xtrot or waltz is not your cup of t
ea, try the cha-cha, tango or the s
wing. Given time, you'll find your
favorite and you can focus on that.
 My guess is that you'll wind up li
ke most ballroom dancers, loving th
em all and not wanting to stop unti
l you've learned them all!

Welcome to the magical world of ball
room dancing!

								
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