Title: Ballroom Dancing-Ten Tips For The No vice Word Count: 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... Keywords: 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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