In social partner dancing, great posture is everything! Learn few ways that your perfect posture will aid you in becoming a confident social dancer.

4 Must-Know Dances for Upcoming Holiday Parties

adult dance lessons arizonaThe 2016 holiday season is just around the bend. Can you believe it!? For most people, that means Christmas parties in the neighborhood, with close friends, and at work. Most likely, that also means live music and dancing, at least at your office party, right? Why not be prepared this time around by squeezing in some adult dance lessons before that chaos begins. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually ask that cute girl in the office down the hall for a dance or two? Maybe you can sweep her off of her feet and score yourself a date for New Year’s Eve. It’s not too late to get start taking beginner’s Country, Salsa or Swing dance lessons and get noticed this season.

What’s more is once you know how to dance, you’ll be ready for any future occasion. Valentine’s Day is just months away, and so may be those Spring weddings you’ve been invited to, so truly there’s no better time than now to start learning to dance.

If you do not have a spouse or steady dance partner, don’t let that hold you back from “cutting a rug” this winter. With Private Dance Lessons, you will learn to dance with your instructor first, so you can really shine on the dance floor when the time is right. Solo lessons are wonderful even if you are a part of a couple to get some great one-on-one tips for how to be an awesome follow for your partner.

Now that you see why it’s time to learn to dance, let me share with you those must-know dances to keep you on the dance floor all night long this holiday season.

Line Dancing

Line dancing is more popular this year than ever before. From the Cha Cha Slide to Copperhead Road, there are plenty of fun and easy Line dances to discover before those upcoming parties. Line dancing is also great for not having to worry about learning too much about partner dancing. You can let go, add your own personal flair to each dance, and even get some low-impact exercise in while you’re at it. I call that a true win-win!

Aside from the two Line dances mentioned above, I would take the time to learn the Wobble, Cupid Shuffle and the good ol’ fashioned Boot Scootin’ Boogie. These three will surely be played, and all offer something unique in terms of style. You can also learn to Dougie, if you’re so inclined. ;0) Undoubtably, you will use this dance at a future wedding in 2017.

Slow Dancing

There are several slow dances to explore, from the Foxtrot to the Waltz. Ask your instructor what he/she would do when the music quiets and you want to hold someone tight. I don’t recommend taking time to learn to Waltz because Waltzes are not played often enough on most occasions, but a slow Night Club Two Step dance would be in order, or a social version of Bolero, which would add a sexy and romantic element to your dance repertoire.

Most often, slow dancing is left to the side and written off as easy to learn, but there are some really cool moves that you can apply to your favorite slow jams that would be so much more fun to do than the ever-popular 8th grade prom sway, if you know what I mean. Take the time to learn a slow dance, and you’ll have all the right moves when you’re looking to get close to someone on the dance floor.

Swing

I’m NOT talking about Poodle skirts and suspenders here. With over 20 variations, I would put Swing dancing at the top of your list of must-have dances. You may not know this, but there’s a Swing dance style for music that ranges from Country to R&B, and oldies to Hip Hop. And pretty much everything in between! Swing dancing can be playful, sexy, flirty and most of all, fun! You can even use it to dance to Reggae music…How cool is that!? So while you’re getting started with your Private Dance Lessons, please request to learn to Swing dance if your instructor doesn’t mention it to you first. You will use it time and again.

Country Two Step

It’s undeniable, Country dancing is hugely popular these days! Even if you’re not in love with Country music, I do suggest you learn to Two Step dance. It’s super-easy, and you’re going to hear at least 5-10 Country songs at most events, so, in my opinion,  you have to know this dance.

Are you more excited now for your upcoming parties this season? What dance or dances excite you the most? Which ones do you want to learn first, and why? With all the many social dances to discover, you can really have some fun with this! And, once you see how much fun it is to learn to social dance, you may even want to make it your New Year’s Resolution to be even better in 2017!

 

 

3 Ways to Know You’re Ready to Join a Group Dance Class

adult dance lessons in ArizonaAre you ready to learn to dance!? Yay! That’s the spirit! Dancing is healthy, exciting, fun, rewarding, romantic, and a fantastic way to meet new friends. Now that you’re on board to explore Country, Latin and Swing dancing, you’ve got some choices to make. The first one is “where”? Where you choose to learn is key to sticking with your new hobby. To solve the question of where to go, I suggest looking up “local dance studio for adults” to see what’s available in your area. From there, try out a Beginner’s Dance Lesson and see if you feel comfortable at the studio you chose. If not, keep searching so once you get into the learning process, you can focus and feel relaxed.

Next, you must decide if you’re going to go the Group Dance Class route, or take Private Dance Lessons first. There are pros and cons to each, but I always suggest starting with Private Dance Lessons if you are in a position to set aside some time and finances. Like anything else worth learning that’s super-cool like dance, taking Private Lessons will help you to become competent and confident on the dance floor much faster. Without getting too sidetracked, with Private Country or Swing dance lessons, for example, you will give you the detail and technique needed to be successful while out dancing. Plus everything will be tailored to your learning style, assuming that you’re in a dance studio that customizes each lesson for their students.

Whether you have a partner or not, Private Lessons will also give you the chance to really learn to lead or follow, both very important when learning to partner dance. At any rate, you may be ready for Group Dance Classes. Here are three ways to know if that is the case…

You’ve already taken Private Dance Lessons.

Now that you’ve made the investment in yourself with Private Dance Lessons, and you know how to lead or follow,  how to hold your partner properly, and understand the timing of various dances, Group Classes are going to be great supplements to your Private Lessons. In fact, if you can still stick with your one-on-one lessons, you can learn a few new moves in a Group Classes and then bring them back to your instructor for refinement. That’s an ideal situation! Regardless, Group Dance Classes will offer you a chance to learn a different set of moves that you will be readily able to decipher because you have laid a healthy foundation in your dancing.

Group Dance Classes in Salsa or Swing will also give you the opportunity to meet new dance partners, or practice your leading/following skills with a new person. Even if you have a regular dance partner, this is a useful way to test out your role on the dance floor and make sure that you and your sweetie can’t just dance with each other and no one else. While that sounds like a good plan, it’s always nice to make sure that you can dance with anyone, should a situation arise where you may want to dance with someone else.

Tight on finances.

If money is short, Group Country, Swing or Latin classes are a great way to get social, connect with others and burn off some steam after a long day at work. While I still recommend saving for Private Lessons and taking those first, Group Classes will help you to maintain your dancing long after your initial larger investment, and for much less. Generally speaking, Group Classes can run anywhere between $10-15 per class, per person. Packages or membership discounts may also be available if you plan to attend class on a regular basis, which is great for continuing to grow in your dancing while saving you money in the meantime. When the time is right, you can always go back to Private Dance Lessons for a brush up, and to push your dancing to the next level in a short amount of time.

Ready to ask someone new for a dance.

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to ask someone new to dance for the very first time, you may be filled with both excitement and fear. The possibility of looking and feeling as good as you do when you dance with your instructor is what you’re shooting for, but know that most of the people that you dance with in the “real world” are not going to make it all look so easy. My advice for easing into social dancing for the first few times? Group classes!

While Group Classes are not by any means like dancing in a crowded Country bar or Latin nightclub, you will get a better sense of what it means to navigate around more people that you would when you’re in your Private Dance Lessons. You will also get a chance to dance with other newer dancers who may be just as nervous and can relate to your experience. That would be a relief if you didn’t have to go it alone for the first few times. He/she may also be at a similar skill level, which could be great for seeing what you know, and what hold need to be filled in your leading or following skills. Remember, as long as you have your one-on-one lessons to go back to for questions, you’ll be able to iron out any mishaps that pop up throughout your night out dancing.

Social dancing is such a blast, and it’s wonderful that you’re interested in giving it a shot! As I mentioned, whether you have a partner or not, you will be gaining a rewarding new skill and hobby that most people only wish they had.

Be patient with yourself as you discover what I call the “language of dance”. Think of how much time it might take you to learn to speak French or Spanish. What are the steps you’d go through and how often would you need to practice to become proficient? It could take months, or depending on how often you study, even less. Either way, it will take time. With structured guidance by a professional instructor, though, you will develop fantastic habits that will last a lifetime. Then those Group Classes you attend will keep you plugging along, giving you a chance to dance for years to come!

Check Out These Top 4 Social Ballroom Dances

dance lessons for adults in ArizonaAre you thinking taking beginners dance lessons for adults? What an awesome idea!! There are so many fun social dance styles to explore from Country to Latin, and Tango to Swing.

If you think about it, no one is born knowing how to dance-especially partner dance. So lessons are virtually a must if you want to be confident and look good in any social dance situation. What’s great about needing to learn to dance is that you will have a skill and a hobby that most people would love to know how to do well. You’ll be the envy of anyone who watches you, and your confidence will go through the roof. That would be great, right? I would say so!

Knowing how to social dance will benefit you in so many other ways too-ways you’ve never thought of! For example, did you know that you can ward off dementia by learning to dance? It’s so true! In a  21-year study of people aged 75 and older that was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, dancing proved to be the greatest risk reduction for warding off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.

Another tidbit of information that I love to share is that social partner dancing is heart-healthy. At the Flagstaff Medical Center, for example, they use monthly ballroom dance classes as part of their Cardiac Rehabilitation program. Heart patients benefit from ballroom dancing through aerobic activity to help improve their balance, stamina, and mental acuity. Love this!

Beyond the mental and physical perks, social ballroom dancing is incredible for the spirit and social aspects of your life. You can meet new friends, use Salsa, Swing or Country dancing as a means to relax after a stressful week at work, and discover new and healthy ways to express yourself creatively.

The advantages of knowing how to dance as an adult are truly endless, and I could go on, but now it’s time to discuss what dances I recommend for you. The “you” I’m referring to is anyone from 25-90 years old who wants to be able to fit in comfortably, whether at a Country bar, wedding, or a Latin nightclub. So, if that’s you, keep on reading to see what’s hot today!

Country Two Step Dancing

Country dancing is as hot as ever! If you’re planning to head out to a Country bar, throw on those boots and be prepared for an evening of FUN, and learn to Country Two Step dance. This dance is what you’re going to use 60-70% of the time out Country dancing, so make the investment in Country dance lessons…you’ll be glad you did!

With Country dance instruction, you will learn how to Two Step with ease. If you’re like most, you want to look natural, smooth and rhythmic out there on the dance floor, so Country Western dance lessons will really come in handy, rather than trying to figure it out just by watching. Speaking of which, that’s a great way to pick up some really bad habits. With lessons, though, you’ll be dancing correctly and with self-assurance before you know it.

The best part of Country Two Step dancing is that it’s easy to learn! There are no “shaking of the hips” involved, like in the Latin dances, and you get to shuffle along to your favorite Country music. It’s a win, win!

Swing Dancing

Swing dancing is a must for anyone who wants to go social dancing. There are so many exciting turns and twists to learn, making Swing a heart-racing good time for all! Swing dancing, for instance, is a major calorie burner and even aids in cardiac rehabilitation. Fun fact: According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, social ballroom dances, including Swing, can lower your risk of coronary heart disease and decrease blood pressure. Pretty cool, right?

With 24+ variations of Swing dancing, you’re sure to find a style that suits you. You may not know it, but Swing dancing can be sultry, playful, bouncy and even sexy! In fact, Swing dancing is so versatile that you can use it everywhere from a Country Western venue to a formal wedding.

Swing dance music is multifaceted too. From Michael Jackson to Frank Sinatra, you will find many Swing dance songs to love. Of course you know I’m going to recommend Swing dance lessons for beginners to get started with healthy habits on the dance floor. Even the most basic of Swing variations can be tricky at first so be patient with yourself as you discover this must-have style.

Salsa Dancing

Oooh la la! Salsa dancing is steamy, thrilling and super-fun to do! Upon learning to Salsa dance, you may even discover and inner diva that you didn’t know you had. Or, why not develop one and really watch your confidence soar!?

Salsa dancing is medium to fast paced, and amongst the most popular of the Latin dances, making it one that you need to know if you love Latin music, or have always wanted to try something outside of your comfort zone. Salsa dance lessons will be great in helping you to understand how the whole Latin dance thing works, as well as how to learn some kick-butt moves to look your best out there on the dance floor.

Slow Dancing

Finally, the underrated Slow Dance. Oftentimes Slow Dancing is taken for granted and overlooked when it comes to exploring social ballroom lessons. Anyone can do it, right? Just rock back and forth like you did in 7th grade. Boring! There are slow dances these days, like the Night Club Two Step/Bolero fusion dance that we have developed at our local ballroom dance studio, that will give you a sexy-looking, smooth and romantic way to sweep any woman off of her feet on the dance floor. Now wouldn’t that be a little more appealing than bobbing in one place to your favorite song? I say yes.

Slow dancing is also great to learn for formal affairs, when you want to connect with someone new, when you want to re-ignite that flame with your special someone and when you feel like grooving to your favorite slow jams. Keep a slow dance in mind when you take lessons so you can be prepared for any tempo of music that is being played. 😉

Are you ready to give these dances a try yourself? If so, don’t wait! Yes, the holidays are coming, and if you learn now, you may be able to do a move or two before those Christmas parties start filling up your weekend schedule.

What dance are you most interested in exploring first? There’s no rush to get them down pat, but keep in mind that when you do begin with adult dance lessons, you will need time to reach your goals. Be patient, have fun and enjoy discovering the coolest hobby out there!

 

5 Tips for a Successful First Dance Routine

wedding dance lessons arizonaYour big day is fast approaching. The flowers are ordered. The cake flavor has been chosen. You have the most amazing dress ever. What’s left? Only one of the most important elements that will tie your entire reception together…the perfect wedding dance! Oh yes, your first dance as a bride and groom is a key component of your wedding day. If you’re looking to nail your dance with ease and peace of mind, and I know you are, here are a a few tips  on how to have a successful first dance routine.

Seek professional instruction.

Forget YouTube and those ballroom dance DVD’s your future mother-in-law bought for you when you got engaged. It’s time to put this project in the hands of professionals. My first tip is to contact your local ballroom dance studio for adults to sign up for Wedding Dance Lessons.

With every studio you visit, you will encounter a different approach to your wedding dance. Some will promise you unrealistic results, others will give you too little. Think about how much time you have to accomplish your first dance and work backwards from there. With a limited time frame, realize that you will end up with a more basic routine, unless you can come in daily leading up to the wedding. On the other hand, for those planners out there, the sky is the limit (with some exceptions) if you start taking Wedding Dance Lessons six months to a year in advance.

What is primary, though, is that you feel comfortable in the place where you are investing in lessons. If you’re casual people, you may not feel comfortable in an old-school ballroom. And, if you’re thinking about doing something on the trendy side, look for a place that specializes in the style of dance you like. For example, if you’re having a rustic wedding and you want a Country Two Step or Swing dance for your wedding, again a traditional ballroom will not be a good fit for you. Instead, seek out a social dance studio.

You see, there are two kinds of “ballroom” dancing; social and competitive. Most people do not want to look like competitive ballroom dancers on their wedding day, rather they want to be confident, maybe even elegant, but they certainly just “don’t want to look stupid” in front of their loved ones. With a qualified dance instructor by your side, you will surely give your guests a dance to remember.

Find a song that moves you.

Now that you have found the right studio, it’s time to pick the right wedding dance song. Again, your dance instructor will hopefully give you their honest opinion on whether the song you chose is danceable, so that you can have the perfect first dance routine.

When considering your first dance song, discuss with your fiancé what route you want to go first. Do you want to incorporate your dance into an overall theme, like a Salsa dance song at a Latin oriented wedding, or are you trying to make the dance a stand alone part of your affair? Does the song only have meaning to you, or will your guests love it too? (More on that in a moment…) Does that even matter to you? Do you want to dance as if no one is watching? It’s up to you! This is your wedding day.

Decide on what you want your guests to feel.

Being that you’re essentially performing in front of everyone that you love, think about what or how you would like your friends and family to interpret your wedding dance routine? Are you looking for a tear-jerker with a romantic dance? Would you like to put on a comedy skit, so to speak, with a slow dance that leads into a Hip Hop number? How about a dramatic Argentine tango dance to knock the socks off of your guests? Leaving a lasting impression is what it’s all about, so do consider how everyone will feel as you do the most important dance of your lives.

Dress appropriately.

If you have been to a wedding where the bride’s dress lifted midway through her dance, or, worse yet, she “popped out” of the top part of her dress on her first dip? These mishaps are totally preventable with the right dress. If you’re open to changing dresses for your first dance, please mention this to your instructor, so he/she can plan accordingly. Ideally, they would make this suggestion to you if you were dancing an out-of-the-box first dance. It’s best to be prepared for anything, so think about what you’re wearing and if it works with your wedding dance choreography. If nothing else, an alternate dress means that you get to go shopping for your wedding one more time. Yay!

For the ladies who are wearing form-fitting dresses, a change of outfits may be right for you too. Something to consider when you’re pulling off this special dance.

Plan ahead. It’s never too early to start.

Lastly, why put off one of the most important aspects of your reception? Social ballroom dance lessons with your fiancé builds confidence in you as a couple. Through the experience of taking lessons together, you will learn how to work as a team, trust each other on a new level and develop a hobby that you will use throughout your lives together.

Couple’s dance lessons also gives you a fantastic way to de-stress under the immense pressure of planning a wedding. Who doesn’t need some of that?!

The key factor here is giving yourselves enough time to learn to shine on the dance floor. Learning a wedding dance routine is like learning to play an song on a new instrument. Please plan ahead so that you can go through the process of learning the steps, then your choreography, then making it look nice and polished. Step by step, lesson by lesson, it will all come together if you allocate the right amount of time.

So the big questions are: “How often should we come in each week?” and…”How soon should we start?” Start right when you get engaged. There’s never enough time to get it all in, plus lead your day to day lives, and set appointments for wedding vendors, etc.. With more time on your side, the worst that could happen is that you look really, really good and feel extra comfortable by your wedding day. With less time, you’re just rolling the dice. Why take a chance?

I often get, “Well, I’ve danced my whole life, so we just need a few lessons. He can pick things up too, since he’s played sports for forever!” Yes, you may be coordinated and even more comfortable in your own bodies as compared to the everyday person, but that does not mean that you can lead or follow just yet. Developing a partnership does take time, attention and effort. Ballroom dancing is quite different from tap, jazz or ballet.

Finally, ensure your success by coming in at least several times a week. Clear your calendars. I promise, this will all be worth it once you give them a kick butt dance! Even for those looking for a sweet and simple first dance, get into that dance studio and practice, practice, practice. You’ll be surprised at how much there is to learn!

I hope this information has helped you to prepare for the best day of your lives when it comes to your wedding dance. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me through our website, or leave me a message below. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Until then, happy dancing!

 

5 Ways to Prepare for a Night of Country Dancing

country swing dance lessons arizonaWould you like to make plans to go out Country dancing in the near future? Sounds like a great plan! Country dancing is super hot right now, so why not join in the fun?! You can always head out to your local Country dance venue and check out the scene, but preparing is nice too-especially when it comes to delving into something new, like dancing.

Here are just five ways to prepare for an night of Country dancing.

 

1. Get some good rest!

Sleep is so underrated. Overlooking it all week and then expecting to be fresh and alert on your Friday or Saturday night out dancing is simply unrealistic. Instead, plan accordingly. Take a nap prior to venturing out to your favorite Country bar, or go to bed the night before you expect to be Swing dancing and Two Stepping into the wee hours. Country dancing can be taxing for newcomers, as you will be using muscles that you may not even know that you had, so do yourself the favor of getting some good rest in advance.

2. Take Swing Dance Lessons!

How great would it be if you knew how to Country dance before you went out Country dancing with your friends? What I’ve noticed is, more often than not, people need to go out dancing a handful of times before they break down and realize that formal instruction would really help. Private Country Dance Lessons at your local dance studio for adults are amazing for building your confidence and giving you the tools and tips that you need to really look and feel your best on the dance floor.

Have you considered playing 18 holes of golf without one lesson first? Most people would say no. Dancing requires very much the same skill level as golf. Now before I go on, don’t let that detract you from learning to dance. Any skill worth having takes time. And, once you know how to Country dance well, your nights will be filled with laughter, fun, new friendships and time off the couch! Netflix can wait, people. Dancing will keep you young, healthy and keep your spirits soaring-it’s a fact!

3. Be open to new experiences.

Country dancing can be intimidating. You may go out dancing one night and bomb on every dance. It may be the people you’re dancing with, or you could be feeling “off”. Regardless, go with the flow. New experiences are bound to arise that you may not expect-especially when you’re out Country dancing! One thing that comes to mind is being dipped or flipped without permission. To avoid this, ladies, please scope out the dance floor before accepting a dance from anyone you don’t know. While I suggest staying open to new adventures, you never want to be moved in a way that requires lots of practice with one particular partner without having that time in advance. Surprise dips usually don’t end well, so put your safety first while without sacrificing your good time. 🙂

New experiences, though, may include joining in on a Line dance or two throughout the evening for the first time. Line dancing is super-easy to catch on to, and you can stand in the middle so you always have someone to watch as you’re learning. Plus, no one can see you when you’re in the center of the floor, you no worries on being spotted as a newcomer.

4. Find the right venue.

Not every Country dance venue is the same.  Some have a dance floor that is the size of a postage stamp. Some dance floors are really slippery, or are covered with sawdust or peanuts. If you’re going strictly to dance-especially for the first few times, check out the floor ahead of time. Maybe grab a friend and have a drink, then go back and dance on another night. Or if the floor looks good, go for it! Make sure you’ve got enough space and that you’re comfortable wherever you end up. Then you’re sure to be able and relax instead of freak out when it comes to getting out there and Swing dancing for the first time.

5. Bring your boots!

Boots are kind of essential when it comes to Country dancing. Again, going back to the golf analogy, you wouldn’t want to golf with a stick, right? Then please don’t plan to go out dancing in flip flops, tennis shoes or high heels. Leave those for the beach or the Latin club you may want to attend when you’re going out Salsa dancing next weekend. When you’re out Country dancing though, boots, and comfortable clothing, are all you need. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona with me, there are several good boot stores to check out, including Boot Barn and Saba’s. Then you’ll be go!

Country dancing is truly a blast! I hope you set up a beginner’s Country dance lesson so you can see all the fun you’ll be able to have once you feel more self-assured in your Two Step and Swing skills. From there, you can bet you’ll be having lots of fantastic experiences out around town.

If you are thinking about going out Country dancing for the first time, I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. What is something you have thought about that would make your first few times venturing out even easier? I’d love to get your feedback below!

4 Deplorable Dance Mistakes

swing dance lessons at Dance FX Studios in Mesa AZWith the presidential election just days away, I thought I would tie in the big word of the last few weeks (deplorable) to my blog! Just being playful here people… Anyway, there are a few nasty habits in the social ballroom dance world that I would love to bring to light. Hopefully, if you stumble across this, you will find these predispositions to be something you can avoid, or even adjust (if you’re guilty) on the dance floor to become an even better Country, Latin or Swing dancer yourself. 🙂

“Deplorable” Mistake #1: Taking Big Steps

The dreaded BSS (Big Step Syndrome)! While this is usually a guy thing because their strides are generally longer, women are also caught taking big steps on the social dance floor. Why this is so “deplorable” (not truly) is that on a small, crowded floor, your big steps will end up on top of other’s feet if you’re not super careful.

Think about it. If the floor is packed while you’re out Country Western dancing, for example, or even Salsa or Swing dancing, you can’t afford to take large steps. You’re lucky to get to use the space that you have while just standing there in most cases, let alone finding a place to move into on a social dance floor. And, if you are a traveller on the floor because you haven’t yet learned to stay in one tiny space, you’ve got to navigate around a ton of novice dancers, all headed in different directions, scurrying about. Unlike in a controlled dance environment, like a ballroom dance competition, for example, social dancers rarely come to the show up as trained professionals. Rather, they are every day people trying to blow off some steam and have a fun time on their weekends after a crazy workweek. Can you blame them? Absolutely not! Country dancing is an awesome way to spend a Friday evening! However, less is more when it comes to the size of those strides, so please, please, take tiny steps on the dance floor-your partner will thank you for it later. 😉

“Deplorable” Mistake #2: Adding Arm Styling

You may not know this, but there is a difference between social dancing and competitive ballroom dancing, and this is one of them. “What is arm styling?”, you ask. Arm styling is what you see when trained ballroom dancers want to pretty up their movements instead of letting their arms dangle by their sides as they dance (makes sense). If you have ever seen an episode of Dancing With The Stars, you’ve seen lots of arm styling in action. It makes for an awesome look on a stage or at a competition, but not while you’re out social dancing. Think of how it would feel to get whacked in the face while Salsa dancing, or hit with an elbow Country dancing. It’s really not that fun. Bottom line, for those of you who have had formal dance instruction, that’s amazing!!!, but leave the big arm movements off of a packed dance floor.

“Deplorable” Mistake #3: Dancing off Time

I discuss this “deplorable” offense often. I can’t help it! As a follow on the dance floor, it’s so much more fun to dance on time with whatever song is being played. If you’re a guy who can’t hear the beat, that’s totally OK (for now)! Go ahead and take some Private Dance Lessons to learn how to count out the music in your head-no “1,2,3” out loud as you’re dancing! It’s a wonderful feeling to know if you’re on tempo, so don’t hesitate to seek help in this area.

Plus, know that with each style of dance, there are many sub-dances, if you will. For instance, Latin music does not always equate to Salsa dancing. The Latin dance music you’re listening to could be a Bachata, Merengue, or Cha Cha. It’s key to go out onto any social dance floor with confidence, so discover through your Private Lessons which songs fit with which dance.

“Deplorable” Mistake #4: Getting Carried Away

Honestly, I can think of no better hobby than social dancing. It’s relaxing, yet exciting. Challenging, yet fun! It is possible, though, to go too far out on a social dance floor. Imagine 50 couples sharing a 20×20 space. You’re virtually crammed in like sardines! This would not be the best time to pull out all of the fancy tricks you learned at your last dance class. While I’m not saying to just stick with the basics, though there’s nothing wrong with that, please don’t attempt lifts, dips and the like on a jam packed dance floor.

A few years back, I was out at a local Country bar with my husband (date night!). The couple next to us were getting a bit wild, which we expect when we go Country dancing here in Arizona. But what I didn’t expect was that he would end up grabbing her by her long ponytail and dip her…by her ponytail! Her head nearly hit the floor, and before we knew it, she was back up in his arms. He had no grip on her neck and no support under her body. He simply took her hair and down she went. A sigh of relief came over me when she returned from her dip in one piece. Not just for her safety, but for the safety of everyone surrounding them. I was actually frightened, and I wasn’t even the dipee! I can’t imagine how she felt! My point is…there’s no reason to get carried away just because you want to let look and you know a few cool moves. Have fun, be safe and be mindful of others.

Have you learned something new through this blog? If so, please share in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your take on the social dancing scene in your area. What’s hot, what’s not, and what you see when you go out to dance.

 

 

4 Underused Techniques When Country Dancing

Country Swing dance lessons ArizonaCountry dancing, especially here in Arizona, is a such a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night! From awesome music to time with old and new friends, where else would you rather be that Two Stepping and Swing dancing the night away at your favorite Country bar?

There are a few aspects to Country dancing at the bars, though, that as a trained dancer, I would love to change. Not because I think that the everyday person needs to look like a professional, but because having the right techniques, whether you’re Country Western dancing or Latin dancing, matters. “Why?”, you may be wondering. Simply put, the experience of dancing with someone is so much better when they know what they’re doing. Here are some of the most underused techniques in the Country dance scene today.

A Proper Dance Frame

Frame. Frame. Frame. I can’t say it enough! If you want to lead a lady on the dance floor, please know how to hold her properly. Have you ever heard the quote, “Dancing is just a conversation between two people”? This line says it all! On the dance floor, he the lead. He communicates to his partner through his dance frame. This is how he tells her if he wants her to turn, where to step, and even which foot to step with. If his frame does not offer support, how will she know what he is “asking” of her. This non-verbal communication is everything, so that she knows where to go and what to do, without having to to be manhandled, or yanked, as is commonly the way I see a lot of Country dancers communicate to each other today in the Country bars.

The last thing you want to do is go take Private Country Dance Lessons for beginners just to end up looking like a Ballroom dancer. So make sure that whatever local dance studio for adults near you that you attend, you clarify that you want to fit in socially. It seems obvious, but most ballroom dance studios train people for competitions, not social dancing, so clarification is a must.

Connection

The concept of connection is another biggie when it comes to underused techniques while Country dancing. Connection on the dance floor between two people is really the core of ballroom (or social partner) dancing. Think of it like this. If you’re on the phone with someone and you have a bad connection, you can’t understand what the other person is saying. It’s the same on the dance floor. The good news is that a proper dance frame helps two people connect almost instantly. So do other points of connection, which can vary from dance to dance.

When two people are truly connected, they move as one on the dance floor. That is a super-fun experience, versus being tossed around because you don’t know much more that cool moves that you saw online. Instead of being that guy, dance lessons will surely help you to understand how to develop a connection with anyone, and be the best lead that you can be while out Country dancing.

Timing

Timing is so essential, yet I rarely see it adhered to when it comes to Country dancing in Arizona! Rather, I do see a lot of Cowboys doing the same moves, to the same tempo, whether the song is fast, medium, or slow. Again, to a trained dancer, this makes absolutely no sense. How can the same dance apply to such wide variety of beats? Simply put, it doesn’t.

There are different dances for different speeds of music. For example, a song with 3/4 timing is a waltz. And if it has a Country vibe, it’s a Country waltz. Plain and simple. On the other hand, if the song is up tempo, it is most likely a Swing. Country Swing dancing, however, cannot be used to all up tempo dances, which is why there are others to choose from, like the West Coast Swing and the Country Two Step. Even a Night Club Two Step can have an upbeat feel, depending on the song. The point is that there are specific dances that you can learn to fit certain tempos so that you can be a versatile dancer.

With Private Dance Lessons, you will discover what dances fit what songs, and why. It’s actually really cool to know, and very empowering for a lead on the dance floor. Why go out Country dancing as a one hit wonder when you can enjoy several styles of dance? This way, you’ll never be bored and neither will she! Now that’s a great thing!

Shaping

Finally, Shaping. Shaping is a technique that I pretty much never see at the Country dance venues I attend. This approach to dancing is even sometimes left out of trained dancer’s bag of tricks, but is a wonderful feeling when it is included in a dance. In layman’s terms, Shaping is what you do with your body to make it more comfortable for your lady to move from one space to the next on the dance floor. Without it, she can certainly go places, but with more effort on your part, which is never ideal. It’s the difference between inviting someone to walk through a door and pulling them through it.

If you’re currently one of those Country dancers who hasn’t received any formal training, what’s one technique that you could improve upon? Keep going out dancing and, from one weekend to the next, schedule some dance lessons to become an ever better Country dancer. You’ll surely learn these techniques and more, which will make going out Country dancing even more exciting! Start with an Introductory Country Dance Lesson and take one step at a time towards your goal, you’ll be so glad you did!

 

 

8 Cringe-Worthy Habits of Untrained Social Dancers

adult dance lessons in arizonaHow many times have you gone out dancing and been stepped on, kicked, pushed, or simply disregarded on the dance floor? If your answer is even once, that’s one time too many. These days, it can be not only intimidating to go out social dancing, but downright dangerous! In this blog, I’d like to share my opinion of some of the most cringe-worthy behaviors of social dancers, and what you can do to change those habits if you happen to be guilty of them yourself.

As has always been the case, the majority of those who go out dancing, be it in Country bars, Latin dance clubs or even at weddings, are untrained dancers. Let’s face it, the average person does not invest in Private Dance Lessons before they go out dancing, which is why many mishaps occur in the first place. A least they’re going out and having fun, right? Agreed! I give anyone who goes out dancing major props for having the courage to step on to the dance floor without any experience. It’s scary to even ask someone to dance, let alone be expected to know what you’re doing…and it takes a lot of gumption to try something new.

The thing is, when you’re dancing in a social setting like a bar or party, bad habits can develop, mainly from what I call “the blind leading the blind”. Example…A couple tries something they saw one time on YouTube that looks “so cool”. The twosome watching from the sidelines wants to look awesome too, so they copy couple #1. From there we end up with the trickle down effect where everyone is simply mimicking each other, yet no one has a clue how to do the dance move correctly. Following others, especially in partner dancing, without training and practice can lead to trouble, big time!

This is just one instance of a bad behavior gone wrong. Let’s go into some other acts that may cause you to cringe too. Starting with…

Stepping on other people’s feet.

Ouch! Who likes to come home with high heel marks on the top of their feet after a night out Salsa dancing? What about a Cowboy boot landing on your toe? That hurts like no other. Trust me, I speak from experience. Being stepped on is unfortunately a common experience when you’re out social dancing. It can be avoided, though, if you keep a proper dance frame when you are leading or following. If either person’s frame is not in tact, you will inevitably drift too close together, putting those precious toes, and your pedicure, at risk.

You can also avoid stepping on other dancers by keeping your feet underneath your body. Social dances like Country Two Step, Swing, Salsa and Argentine Tango are done most often on a crowded floor, so if your feet are up in the air and not tucked underneath your body, you may end up injuring someone. In Private Country, Latin or Swing dance classes, you will learn helpful tips like these to make social dancing that much more fun!

Not dancing on time with the music.

How frustrating! Your favorite tune comes on. The tempo is obvious and clear, yet he is dancing to the beat of his own drum, so to speak. It is the man’s/leader’s responsibility to listen to the music and keep you as a couple on time, so guys, ask your dance instructor for ways to hear the music. That way you can begin enjoying dancing to the music, and not fighting against it. It really does make quite the difference, especially when you’re dancing with someone who feels the beat.

Yanking instead of leading.

Did you know that leading a lady on the dance floor involves finesse? The lightest of touches can give her just the right cue to get her to go where you want her to be. In a previous blog, I go into the “Less is More” concept behind being a great lead on the dance floor. Check it out. Yanking her arms out of their sockets like you may see often in the local Country bars can not only be unsafe, but it is truly unnecessary (not to mention rude). Think of “inviting” your partner, not “making” her go. It really will make all the difference in her experience, and hopefully get you another dance with her later in the night.

Expecting him to do all the work.

As a woman, this bothers me. Ladies, we are not meant to be limp noodles waiting to be tossed around. We have a role on the dance floor too. That is to maintain a proper frame-even in social dancing-and make sure that we are lead-able. OK, that’s not a word, but you know what I’m saying, right?? Don’t make him work so hard. Partner dancing should be fun and relaxed, not work in the traditional sense. Remember that ballroom dancing (including all partner dancing-Salsa, Swing, Two Step, etc.) is a conversation between two people. One of you can’t be yelling while the other one has her ears plugged. Acting and reacting, non-verbal communication, that’s what it’s all about.  Again, you can learn more about this with one-on-one dance instruction. These concepts are integral to being a self-assured social dancer.

Not asking for a dance, and not saying “thank you” at the end.

Communication. This is what dancing is about, as I said. Please don’t feel that, because you’re a good dancer, you can grab any woman and starting spinning her around. Ask her first, and let her accept before bringing her on to the dance floor. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and just pull someone onto the floor, but it’s much nicer to get her permission first.

Ladies, please thank him for the dance, even if you didn’t have the time of your life. It’s scary to ask someone to dance, and then try to recall the moves you know. The first few times he tries, he may freeze up and blank out. That’s normal, so girls, be kind. You may be his first dance ever. What an honor, rather than a punishment. Your “thank you” will go a long way.

Appearing to be bored by him.

To follow up from my previous point, ladies please do not roll your eyes if he does the same three moves over and over again. Please do not stare off into the crowd like you can’t wait for the song to be done. I can assure you, he’s doing the best he can. If you’d like him to want to improve, look for something to compliment him on. It will mean a lot and most likely motivate him to want to lean more. You never know. You could run into him six months later, and after some dance lessons under his belt, he could come in and sweep you off your feet! How exciting would that be?!

Wearing the wrong shoes.

Looking your cutest does matter, but if you’re planning to cut a rug, put on the proper dance shoes for the occasion. Latin dancing requires a heel with a strap around the ankle so your feet are protected. Country dancers, throw on a pair of boots and you’ll be good to go. Flip flops and sandals do not make for good dancing shoes and can detract from your cuteness in no time flat.

Doing the same dance to every song.

This is different from above, where I wrote on being off time with the music. There are many dancers out there that only know one dance. Country Two Step, for example. Suddenly, every Country song, be it fast, slow or medium tempo, is a Country Two Step. That’s just not the case. If Country dancing is your thing, great! Explore 4-5 main Country dances in your lessons so that you can be prepared for any speed of music that is played.

Same with Latin dancing.  Merengue music and Bachata music are both Latin based, but are very different in terms of feel and speed. Therefore, learning several Latin dances will only be to your benefit when going out social dancing, so all of your bases are covered.

If you’re guilty of any of the above mishaps on the dance floor, it’s OK, you’re not alone! Now that you know better, you can do better, right? Dance lessons will help to iron out a lot of common mistakes, and get you on the right track to becoming an awesome social dancer. So, contact your local dance studio for adults to get started. In the meantime, which one of the above can you improve on? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Dancing With Someone New

private dance lessons for couples near youGoing out social dancing at your local Country bar or Latin club can be quite intimidating. Never mind the amazing dancers having a blast out on the floor, looking like they’ve been dancing all their lives. You also get to contend with loud music, tons of people in a small, crowded space, dims lights and flowing alcohol. It’s easy to become overwhelmed very quickly, so let me help you ease your fears when it comes to choosing a dance partner with a step-by-step guide to dancing with someone new.

How many times have you joined friends out at a Country bar, a wedding, or a Latin dance club only to spend the entire night babysitting the purses at the table while your buddies are out Two Stepping or Salsa dancing? You want to join in the fun, but it’s scary out there and you don’t have a partner.  If you’ve felt this way before, it sucks! Let’s change things so your nights out can be filled with excitement, meeting new people and fun. Sound good? Great! Let’s start with Step 1….

1. Be prepared.

The best way to get ready to dance with someone new is to become a good dancer yourself. Who doesn’t want to dance with someone who can lead, or who follows like a dream? Most people gravitate towards the better dancers, subconsciously or not, so if you can become one of those people yourself, you’ll be ahead of the game.

“Learn to dance” sounds like a “Duh!” piece of advice, but what most people don’t discover until after they’ve gone out dancing without success over and over, is that it actually takes time to learn to dance well. Those couples who look awesome on the dance floor have put in hours and hours mastering their skill, believe me.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, know that no one is born knowing how to dance. There’s also not a pill (yet) that you can take to learn to dance overnight. In other words, there are no shortcuts. But, like most really cool things out there that you can discover, your time and financial investment towards learning to dance will be so worth it. Before you know it, you will be walking taller, feeling slimmer, and moving through life with more confidence than ever before.

So to get the ball rolling, sign yourself up for a beginner’s dance lesson to take your first step (pun intended) towards being a great Country, Latin or Swing dancer. And let’s not leave out the ever-so-sexy Argentine Tango! If you’re looking to explore an intimate and passionate dance with someone new, give the authentic Tango a try. you won’t regret it!

Regardless of the ballroom dance style you choose, the absolute fastest way to become a self-assured social dancer is through Private Dance Instruction. Working one-on-one with a professional will expedite your training time, ultimately saving you both time and money. Plus, you’ll be on that dance floor sooner rather than later because you have received details, tips on how to lead or follow, and proper technique that you can only get through Private Dance Lessons. Then, like a magnet, you’ll draw in the better dancers without even thinking about it.

2. Find the right place to dance.

What kind of music do you enjoy? What’s your “scene” when it comes to going out with friends? Do you like the club vibe, a Country feel, or a chill type of setting? A Swing dance lounge is very different from a rustic Country bar, for example. Finding the right place to try dancing with someone new for the first time will ease your nerves.

I suggest heading out to a venue that you’ve been to before. You will be able to settle in better and be comfortable with your surroundings, which will give you one less thing to worry about. If you do find the courage to dance at a new place, though, good for you! Once you know what you’re doing on the dance floor with dance lessons, you’ll be able to go anywhere and bust a move!

3. Dress for the occasion.

Please take this step to heart when planning out your evening. Ladies, keep in mind that sleeveless shirts or dresses may be uncomfortable for the guys you dance with, as your sweat could end up on their arms. This could be very unattractive to a new dance partner, and could deter him from dancing with you again. Guys, do NOT douse yourself with cologne before going out dancing. She could be allergic to certain scents, and you could ultimately be a real turn off, even if you are fun to dance with. Both parties may also want to consider the obvious shower and shave before heading out, so you’re putting your best foot forward for newcomers.

Consider your footwear, too, before leaving the house. A pair of Cowboy boots or high heels with straps around the ankles are good solid options for dancing. With the right shoes, you can really shine on the dance floor, instead of getting distracted. Oh, and please leave your flip flops at home. They aren’t great for any style of partner dance really, and could hold you back from feeling and looking your best.

4. Scope out the room.

This may sound a bit creepy, but seeking out the better dancers will only ensure a more exciting night on the dance floor for you. Don’t get me wrong here. Please always be kind and ask the newbies to dance as well. After all, that is how they become good leaders and followers themselves. Remember that you were also a beginner dancer at one point, wishing you could join the cool kids out there. Now that you’re one of those cool kids, be kind to others. 😉

In any case, observing the dancers will give you a feel for who you’d like to dance with throughout the course of the evening. Again, because you’ve taken the time to be a great dancer yourself, you will have naturally attract others who have put in their time learning.

5. Wait for the right moment.

Timing, as they say, is everything. Never demand a dance, or as for a dance by pulling on someone’s arm. He/she will be available at some point in the evening. Find that time and proceed to Step 6…

6. Go in for the kill.

Finally! You’ve placed yourself in the right place at the right time, and you’re even wearing the right attire, so why not ask him or her for a dance? If he/she has done their homework, they already know they’re going to have a great time dancing with you, so don’t concern yourself with getting rejected. If you do, that’s ok too. You can’t win every dance! The point here is that you have earned your right to be a confident dancer, and that is a wonderful way to approach someone new for a dance. Notice I said confident, not cocky. We all know the difference, right?

Bottom line, you’re now able to dance with anyone, anytime, just by following these six steps! If you’re a newer dancer, where are you getting caught up when it comes to dancing with someone you haven’t met? Comment below. I’d love to hear about your dancing journey!

Top Five Secrets of a Great Leader on the Dance Floor

country dance lessons in mesa azHave you ever wondered what makes someone a great lead on the dance floor? Did he start dancing as a toddler? Is he just a “natural”? What is it that gives him that look of ease and effortlessness? Well, great social ballroom dancers, like those who love to Country, Latin and Swing dance, have put in their time, no doubt, when it comes to looking so good. That’s what makes them so fun to dance with, right?!

Did you know that you too can be one of those incredible dancers, like the ones you see at the Country bars, or Latin clubs? You absolutely can. First, keep in mind that no one is born knowing how to dance. No one. While it is true that some people pick up movements quicker than others, dancers of all styles, from Salsa to Swing to Tango have learned at some point along the way, somewhere. Now that you know that, let me share some of the best kept secrets that leaders have when it comes to shining on the dance floor.

Secret 1: Make her the star.

Being a great lead on the dance floor can be very empowering for a man, as it should be! Very few guys take the time to learn how to lead well, so why should they not be proud of their good work? In partner dancing, though, the woman, or follow, should be the focal point. Think of all of the turns and twists he can lead her through to make her the center of attention. It’s pretty fantastic!

An awesome lead truly shows off his lady and makes her the star of the show. A guy who knows what he’s doing on the dance floor will highlight all of her assets and skills by dancing to her level, and making her feel and look her best. Like I always say, he’s the frame, and she’s the picture, so all eyes should be on her. For most guys, this is a relief. They can still have all the moves, but not all the attention. It’s a perfect pairing!

Secret 2: Less is more.

Personally, this is my philosophy on many things, and especially on the dance floor. Over the last two decades, I have trained thousands of men to be confident leads, and I have told each of them the same thing: Less really is more! What I mean by this, for example, is that there’s no need to yank her arms out of their sockets to turn. Have you ever seen this happen in a Country bar or Salsa club? The guy is literally tossing her around very aggressively just to get to her to move. Top leads are gentle in their “invitations” to get her to go exactly where they want her to be. Doesn’t that just sound better? Would you rather be invited into a space, or pulled and pushed to go through it? I’ll take the former please. This style of leading will basically guarantee that she will want to keep on dancing with you as you simply know how to treat a woman. It reminds me of a t-shirt that we will have in our retail shop that states “Handle with care.” It’s made for the ladies to wear to remind those aggressive guys out there to easy off on their lead. Less is more.

Secret 3: Rhythm is king.

This is a biggie! Let me explain. So many newbies think social ballroom dancing is about memorizing patterns and footsteps above understanding how to move with ease and naturalness. They get caught up on exactly where their feet should go instead of thinking about the space they have to work within. Think of how this plays out on a small, crowded floor. You’re busy running her through your steps, and she’s going along for the ride as your follow. Your patterns don’t fit into the circular dance floor and now, because you’re stuck in your routine of doing the same moves in the same order, she’s being banged into walls or run off the dance floor! Just knowing and executing your patterns can really get you in a lot of trouble.

If, on the other hand, you’re able to focus on a variety of rhythms that you’ve learned through Private Dance Lessons, and not just steps, your rigid and set movements will become fluid and easy to use anywhere, anytime. Yes, I did sneak in the fact that you will to invest in one-on-one instruction in order to be a great lead…because it’s true! That’s what it takes to get the details that you need to succeed on the dance floor. More on that later… Anyway, the point is that an emphasis on rhythm over memorized patterns is what makes a wonderful lead as a dancer. This little known fact is truly what sets the good apart from the great.

Secret 4: Mix it up.

There’s nothing that she wants more than to let loose and have a good time when you’re out dancing together. To piggyback on Secret 3, don’t get stuck in your routine of doing the same three moves over and over again. You’ll become predictable and she’ll be bored in no time! With Private Dance Instruction, you will learn what we at our studio call the Rules of Variation. With this very key secret, you’ll be unstoppable when it comes to sweeping her off her feet!

Secret 5: Let the music be your guide.

Finally, there’s one more very big secret that I want to share. (More tips to come in future blogs…) Secret 5…Let he music be your guide. Please, for the love of who knows what, do not do the same dance steps, at the same tempo, regardless of the song that is being played. If you’re into Country music, for example, not every some is going to be a Country Two Step. Two Steps are generally mid-tempo-not too fast and not too slow. You are not meant to Two Step dance to every song that is being played in a Country bar. Some Country songs are Waltzes, some Swing, some Nite Club 2-Step. Each of these dances has it’s own style and personality, so use the right dance to the right music and you’ll be on your way to be known as a fabulous lead on the dance floor. One step beyond this, which I will cover in a future blog, is how to interpret the music to have your dancing reflect the highs and lows within the song itself. This is a super-cool way to stand out, in a good way. 🙂

There are so many more tips that I would love to share with you! Most of all, I recommend finding a local adult dance studio near you and getting signed up for an Introductory Dance Lesson. It’s OK if you don’t have a particular event coming up because when you do, you’ll know exactly how to be an awesome dancer! Remember that anything worth learning takes time and effort, so be patient and enjoy the journey of learning how to social dance.

Check out future and past blogs to discover more about the wonderful world of social dancing. What is one thing you would change or add to your lead to make you an even better social dancer? Comment below. I’d love to hear from you!