Ballroom Dancing Pointers

istock_000002455320smallHave you been anxious about taking your first Ballroom Dance Lesson? Well don’t get too worked up before you have even tried it. Here are a few tips to help prepare yourself if you are planning to take a Ballroom Dance Class or have just started taking one.

1. Be Comfortable. Don’t think just because it is a Ballroom dance class that you have to come into class in your Sunday’s finest. You should wear clothes that are comfortable for you and allow movement. However, when it comes to shoes you may not want to be too comfortable. The rubber soles of tennis shoes tend to grip the floor, which is not ideal for dancing. Other shoes that are not ideal for the dance floor are flip-flops and sandals. Since a lot of movements in Ballroom require backwards movements, you can easily lose your shoe, trip, or even fall. You should be comfortable, but not risk injury.

2. Be on Time. Make sure you arrive a few minutes before your dance lesson starts. This gives you time to mingle with other classmates, get your proper footwear ready, and get settled before the dance class starts. Late arrivals usually miss the first couple of steps, which can cause them to be thrown off until they are able to catch up again. It is also somewhat of a distraction to the students and teacher who have already begun the lesson.

3. Practice. Everybody knows that practice makes perfect, well this applies to Ballroom dancing as well. It will help immensely if you practice right after your dance class or later on within the same day. If you have issues with remembering, then you can even take some shorthand notes to help you remember. But if you are a visual learner, that may not work for you. In this case you can have someone film you while you practice the moves you just learned right after the class, just make sure you have the instructors approval to stay later to do so. Another way to help you remember your dance steps is to teach it to someone. Whatever your preference, just make sure you get those moves down and don’t forget to practice.

4. Have Fun. This is probably the reason why you wanted to sign up for Ballroom Dancing Lessons in the first place. Just remember to have fun. Take a deep breath if you have to, but don’t be reluctant to shake things off. In time you will be able to get the dance steps, but until then relax and enjoy.

If you need to sign up for that first Ballroom Dance Lesson, come into Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona. Dance FX Studios offers Private Ballroom Dancing Lessons and Group Dance Classes. For more information, please visit .

(Dance Floor) Size Matters

istock_000004405376medium1Often, when you are learning how to dance in dance classes you get a large area to dance around in. Some people do not realize that you generally will not get the same amount of space when you go out to dance. Most likely, the dance floor will be crowded with other dancing couples, giving you a limited area to work with. This cuts down on some of the range of motion you have and combinations that you can normally do with a more open dance floor. Dancing in a crowded area may be a little out of your comfort zone, but there are some ways that you can adjust to your new dance environment.

When you take group dance classes, if the class is at full capacity, then you can get a feel of having a smaller space to work in. This is more realistic to a club dance floor or a dancehall. You may have a more difficult time adjusting once you get to a real dance floor if the size of the class is very small, giving each couple more room to work with, or if you take private lessons. Some instructors will actually give you a set space that you have to dance in, which will be smaller and a more accurate portrayal of what you will have to work with.

One hint to this situation is to take smaller steps. This will shorten your length of travel, hopefully preventing any run-ins with other couples. But the best way to learn what to do is just to practice. Come on in and visit Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona. We offer Private Dance Lessons and Group Dance Lessons that can help you get the practice and confidence you need for the social dance setting. We specialize on social dancing for adults, which is perfect for learning how to dance in real life situations. For more information about Dance FX Studios, visit

What HE Needs to Become a Great Dancer…

Ballroom dancing Mesa, AZ“He’s too strong!” “He doesn’t give me enough pressure!” “His arms are limp!” “He’s yanking me around!” “Well if he would guide me, I would be HAPPY to follow!”  We’ve heard it all over the years from our followers who are ever so patiently (yeah, right) waiting for the “perfect” leader to sweep her off of her feet. While those leaders do exist as a rarity, it is a “work in progress” for the average man who doesn’t dance 8-10 hours a day. So, girls, what do we do when he looks like prince charming, but dances like Kermit the frog? Let me give you a few of my favorite tips.

1. Encourage him to learn to dance with dancing lessons. Remember how long it finally took to get him to pull over and ask for directions? Multiply that by 1000 when it comes to asking for help on the dance floor! He would rather do ANYTHING over admitting that he can’t dance and that he needs help feeling cool. Dance lessons will empower him to KNOW what he is doing. For guys, that is a huge step in the right direction. Helpful tips and guidance from a professional ballroom dancing instructor is just what guys need to get their courage on. Until then, most men just feel awkward. With each dance lesson, though, his confidence will rise. In the meantime, you and your man will also get to spend some quality time out of the movie theater or off the bar stools and instead learning a new, romantic hobby that brings you closer together. It seems like an impossible thought that he would actually enjoy dancing one day, but it will happen as he starts to understand how this thing called “dancing” works.

2. Be supportive through the learning process. It takes men a bit of time to start getting their feet wet on the dance floor. Refrain from pointing and laughing even if he looks “cute” as he is learning. Believe it or not, this happens all too often and our leaders tend to feel embarrassed more often than adorable. Remember also to not help him by back-leading for him. Time, practice and the right kind of instruction is what guys need to thrive.

3. Be patient. Learning to lead is a lot of responsibility! Your good time rests in his hands and he knows it! He so desperately wants to please you and “be the man” but the body is still catching up with the brain. This is the BEST bit of advice that I can give to any couple. Ladies, acknowledge that he is working hard for you (and he is) and his confidence will soar. Soon enough, he will willingly dust off his dancing shoes for you on any occasion.

Group Dance Classes vs. Private Dancing Lessons at Dance FX Studios

As you already know, we at Dance FX Studios teach Ballroom dancing to adults, both couples and singles, who want gain confidence out on the dance floor at parties and other social events. One of the most common questions that we are asked is “Should I/we start with private dance lessons or group dance classes?” Let’s explore the main differences between the two at Dance FX Studios and we’ll leave the choice up to you. 🙂

Here are the pro’s of private dance instruction:

1. In one-on-one dance instruction, we can focus on specific dance styles based on your requests like Country Two Step or Salsa dancing or even the beautiful Argentine Tango. You can even work on all three different styles of partner dancing as each lesson is personalized just for you! If you are unsure as to what styles you may like, we can help to guide you as we get to know you in your Introductory Lessons.

2. Dance FX Studios is open 6 days/week for private classes. Scheduling is based on your availability so we can almost always accommodate you and your busy life.

3.  Every private dance lesson will be taught with your specific dancing goals in mind. If you’re getting back into the social dance scene after being “out of the loop” for years, we’ll show all of the most popular dances that would be useful for you.

4. We will work at your pace as we help to show you how learning to dance can be a fun and easy process.

5. If you are part of a couple, private Ballroom dancing lessons will become a romantic hobby that you can use everywhere from your living room to a cruise. You will develop a stronger connection both on and off the dance floor as you work together as a team to learn to dance and develop a partnership on the dance floor.

5. You can dance also directly with an instructor with individual instruction so we can readily correct any unwanted habits and develop healthy dancing skills from the start.

6. We can quickly adapt to the way that you learn and begin teaching you in the way that makes the most sense for you. For example, if you are a visual learner, we can draw out the steps as well as do the steps with you multiple times or even video record them so that you can see them over and over again as you learn to dance.

7. You will gain results in the shortest amount of time with personalized instruction which gives you more time to enjoy your newfound hobby!
The con’s of private dancing classes:

1. Quality dance instruction comes at a price. Whereas group dancing classes can range from $5 to $15/class, private dance instruction starts at $59/hour and goes up from there. Great dance teachers are hard to find. Knowing how to dance does not make a great dance instructor. There are many tools that great dancing teachers use to create a wonderful dancer in each of their students. We have the tools to make you shine on every social dance floor.
The pro’s of group dancing classes:

1. Group classes offer an opportunity to meet new people with the same interest in learning to dance.
2. Group dance classes give you the chance to lead or follow a variety of partners which strengthens your skills on the social dance floor.
3. Group dancing classes are an affordable source of fun and excitement.
4. Group lessons are a great way to learn new dancing steps without much commitment or financial investment.
Con’s of group dancing lessons:
1. Since you are sharing your time with up to 40 people in a group class, it is challenging to progress as rapidly as you would with one-on-one instruction.
2. It can be frustrating to dance with people at different skill levels and with different abilities in a group dance setting.
3. There is not always a guarantee that there will be an even amount of leaders and followers in every group dance class. Although we make a point of evening up the ratio of leaders to followers before the group dance courses begin, we cannot control someone getting ill or not being able to make a class for whatever reason.
4. If you are a newer dancer, group dancing classes expose your weaknesses. It is a challenge to teach technique in a group setting with all different levels of dancers so newer dancers tend to focus on their footwork instead of their lead or follow. (See blog named “Dance Dance RevelAtion” as to why that is not a good thing.)
Our summation:
While group dancing classes are fun and a great social outlet, you will be a better and more confident social dancer in a much shorter amount of time though individual dancing lessons. Yes, you will invest more into your new hobby, but the required dancing tips and techniques that you can only get through private instruction are what will help you to enjoy your dancing skills anywhere.

Dance Dance Revelation #1!

How to Ballroom danceWhile you may have heard of the popular dance video game “Dance Dance Revolution” which keeps you grooving along as you stomp on lit up feet to get to the highest score (a modern twist of the old electronic hand-held game “Simon”), we have some dancing revelAtions that are sure to rock your world!

Today’s dancing revelAtion: Are you ready for this? (Feel free to sit if needed, this is a biggie.) Here it is… Your feet are the LEAST important part of partner dancing. Let me explain as you marinate in the possibilities of this being your new truth. In partner dancing, we have A leader and A follower, right?  One sends the information (the leader) and then one receives it (the follower) and responds according to what they feel. The question is, then, where is the information sent from? The answer: his torso. His torso, which is connected to his arms, which are touching her torso (and right hand, of course) in a dance frame. The body leads and the feet respond. This is why the feet are much less important than how he guides her within his frame.

Have you ever wondered why learning to dance from following footsteps is nearly impossible? While you may know where to place your feet in a particular move, you (leaders) certainly won’t understand how to affect her (or LEAD her) through the move. Remember that her feet are not touching yours, guys, so your focus must be on a solid frame and use of the body to guide your follower.

Think of a puppet as you begin to prioritize what part of your body to focus on while learning to dance. If you hold a puppet’s body and move it around, it’s feet will stay under it’s body naturally. If you hold it’s feet, the body will flop over. Think of your follower as a puppet (with a nice dance frame) and guide her from the torso. Then, you will notice that as she begins to feel your guidance, she will relax and LET you lead! This is the ultimate goal of dancing right? He gets to be in charge and she gets to enjoy the ride! A great follower comes from knowing that she can trust that her partner. And so a partnership develops!

Next time you’re taking a dance lesson or you’re out dancing, leaders, focus on the frame, NOT the feet, and see how it affects your dancing. The results may surprise you!

Sniff Out Your Next Dance Partner (Literally!)

Salsa, Swing, Tango, or Two Step. They all have one thing in common… a partner!  Couples, you have a built in partner, but for singles, partner dancing is not so simple.

For followers, it can be very intimidating to go out dancing alone.  “What if I go and nobody asks me to dance?” she may be thinking. Or maybe she’s  just looking to dance and the guys who ask her to dance are looking for more. That’s never fun (and it can be quite uncomfortable). Many followers (and leaders for that matter) are simply looking for a practice partner.

Leaders have it a bit different because they get to ask followers to dance. “What if she says no?” or she says yes and then you have to impress her with your leading skills.

There are also clicks of people who have been dancing for a long time.  They dance with each other because they are used to the partnership they have developed.  It can be hard to get in with these groups as they are very tightly knit.  One reason is ego.  If I know how to lead/follow and I dance with someone who doesn’t, it makes me look bad.  This is more common with the male ego… go figure.  There are exceptions to this rule.  Some people are very nice and accommodating to new dancers.

Here are some tips to finding a dance partner…

1. Don’t be afraid to ask. Leaders and followers can both ask for dances- it’s rare to get a no.

2. Sharpen your skills. A leader who has worked hard on his dancing won’t dance twice with a follow who has had only a couple of group classes.  An experienced follower feels like she’s a beginner in the arms of a weak leader.

3. Stick around the dance floor. Standing close and looking interested in what’s happening on the floor is far better than sitting down at a table.

4. Smell good. Proper hygene and clean clothes go a long way.

5. Have Fun! Try not to make dancing only about how well you do. Simply enjoy the music and keep it simple.