Bruce Nally

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.



Karen and Steve dancing together

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.


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 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!


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!



Brian and Robin dancing

Get out of Your Rut With Social Dance Lessons

adult dance lessons Phoenix ArizonaDo you ever get the feeling that you are up to your neck in bills, personal problems, and other stressful situations, with no end in sight? Do you often feel sluggish and irritable, or think a nap sounds better than a workout at the gym?  Are you exhausted, overworked, and burned out? Feelings like these are signs of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. While they are challenging to get through, there is a solution, and a fun one at that! Read on…

In our Western culture, we are encouraged to hurry about, with no end in sight. It’s so easy to wear yourself out from constantly being on the go. Some have been doing this routine for the majority of their lives, just begging for the day they can retire and catch a breath. While your first instinct may be to curl up on the couch with ice cream and your favorite Netflix series, getting off the couch and on to the dance floor could be just what you need! Social Dancing has so many benefits for you! Besides being an excellent form of moderate exercise,  it provides a challenging, stimulating, and positive hobby for adults, both singles and couples, of all ages.

First, you may be wondering, ” What is Social Dancing?”. Social dancing is what you would use if you were out with friends at a Country bar, at a wedding, or really anywhere where music is being played, like a Jazz club or restaurant. Social dances include Country Two Step, Swing, Salsa, Slow Dancing, and even Argentine Tango. The dances that you can use in real world situations, versus a competitive dance environment, those are social dances.

What’s amazing about Social Dancing is the numerous benefits that range from the physical to the social and emotional. Dancing is so healing, in fact, that you can also use it as a form of relaxation, and even couple’s therapy.

The release of endorphins that occurs after Country or Swing dancing can help you reduce tension, anger, depression, and loneliness that you may be feeling. That’s a great thing, right?! Not only do these endorphins help lower stress, but going out and being social will also have a positive influence on any negative emotions you may have.

While you should always consult a professional if you are concerned about your mental health, it has been proven time and again that dancing and physically engaging hobbies can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Regardless of your situation, Social Dancing will lift your spirits and add joy to your life – and it’s a wonderful, timeless hobby. Expand your social circle in a healthy and exciting way, just by learning to dance, and give yourself a chance to pick up a new skill that will forever enhance your life. Realize that when you learn to dance, you put yourself in a category that surpasses most. That’s a confidence builder! You will find yourself fearless in social situations as you will be in the minority among those who are actually running towards the dance floor. So what are you waiting for? Call your local dance studio for adults and get started with an Introductory Offer for Beginner’s Dance Lessons!

Instead of staying in and worrying and stressing over the problems in our lives, it is better that we go out, meet new people, and enjoy ourselves every once in a while. Dancing is an excellent social hobby to have, and our instructors will teach you the tips to stay safe and comfortable on any dance floor, avoiding yet another stressful situation. So if you would like to try this wonderful new hobby for yourself, feel free to give us a call at 480-968-6177 or visit our studio today. We will have you forgetting about your troubles in no time!


Come Country Dancing in AZ With Us!

country dancing in ArizonaHave you been thinking about going Country dancing? Well, what’s holding you back? Maybe you don’t know anyone else who enjoys Country music, or your friends don’t think dancing is cool. Well, they’re missing out!

You don’t have to put your off your good time Two Step dancing and Swing dancing, even if your buddies won’t join you. Come with us, the staff and students of Dance FX Studios, for a Night Out Country Dancing instead!

Dancing with others who are at all different stages of learning to Country dance is an awesome way to see what you know, and where you want to be, as a social dancer. You don’t have to be the best to go out and have a great time dancing. In fact, beginner’s dancers can make tremendous progress when they go out dancing earlier on, rather than waiting too long. The fear of not being successful on the dance floor can keep many newer dancers at bay while the only way to really become better is to keep going out dancing time and again. So, newer dancers are more than welcome to join us anytime! Of course, our staff loves taking out dancers of any level so that we can help to see what you need help on, and where we can offer you useful tips and advice, right there in a real-world environment.

Dance FX Studios’ Night’s Out are also wonderful for meeting other dancers. There’s no need to beg your circle of friends to go out Country dancing when you can meet new friends that you know love to dance! Plus, if they’ve taken Country Dance Lessons at Dance FX Studios, chances are, they know the same concepts and ideas behind being great leaders and followers on the dance floor. Fantastic! It should be an easy transition to dancing anywhere from there!

Socializing with others who share similar interests is an awesome stress reliever at the end of a busy week. With new connections, you can make plans to dance on future occasions, and even meet up with new friends at the studio.

In October 2016, on the 8th to be precise, we will be heading out to San Tan Flat Saloon and Grille in Queen Creek for our next Country Dance Night Out.  There is a nominal event fee, which will give you access to the private room that we rented just for our group (Space is Limited). Your first drink at the bar is also included (from a pre-made list) for a little liquid courage to kick off your night.  Other goodies will be included, but you’ll have to come to find out what they are! Remember…Club FX Members get $5 off.

San Tan Flat has live Country music on the weekends, which is super-fun to dance to. What more can you ask for on a Saturday night!? Reserve your spot today for this upcoming event by clicking here. Be sure to scroll to the correct week on the calendar so you can find the event easier. From there, you’re just a few clicks away from setting up an awesome night of dance! We can’t wait to see you there. 🙂

Salsa dancing in AZ

Beat The Summer Blues and Dance!

Salsa dancing in ArizonaPhoenix, AZ guys and gals…How excited are you that 115 degree weather is fast approaching? If you’re anything like me, you’re less than thrilled that you are going to be spending the majority of the next five months indoors. While swimming and heading up north to hike are always options here in Phoenix during the way-too-long summer months, I want to do something locally that keeps me moving and having fun to avoid my summertimes blues (which are usually gained from 100+ days inside wishing that I could simply take a leisurely stroll with my dog from my home to the mailbox without becoming drenched in sweat). My solution in the summertime to avoid that sad state of extreme, unavoidable heat? Why dancing, of course!

With cool Country Two Step dance moves and sassy Salsa steps to bust out on my next Latin dance adventure in Scottsdale, my summer suddenly looks a ton brighter! Aside from finding a creative way to exercise this summer, social dancing offers so much more! Here are my top three favorite benefits to knowing how to social dance any time of the year:

1. Social dancing is a big-time stress reliever! There’s no better way to free your mind of life’s challenges than by putting on your favorite jam and letting loose on a dance floor! In fact, forget the dance floor and get down in your kitchen, living room or even in front of your bathroom mirror. Why not!? Just knowing that dancing is healing on so many levels makes it worth it to bust a move, even if the kids and spouse are watching. 🙂

Better yet, escape to a Swing dance lesson or give the Tango a try at your local dance studio and see how satisfying it is to invest in yourself with a skill that is so useful and fun!

2. Dancing is great exercise! When you can go out and make a night of it, or even after an hour in a private dance lesson, you better believe that you are using muscles that don’t usually get worked out! Social dancing is a wonderful way to get fit while having fun…and so much less monotonous than the gym.

3. Social dancing leads to new friendships. With a hobby that requires you to pair up and meet others, Country, Swing and Latin dancing is an exciting way to expand your social circle. Meeting new friends with the same interests is a really cool thing, making dancing that much more enjoyable.

Beat the heat this summer in Arizona, with social dance lessons for you or for you and a partner. Beginner dance lessons for singles or couples will give you a chance to let go, stay in shape and make those summer months fly by before you know it!

For more information on how to get started with dance lessons in Arizona, view Dance FX Studios’ website. We are located in the Phoenix East Valley, just off the 101 highway for your convenience. We hope to see YOU this summer.

couple country dancing AZ

Dancing…So Much More Than Just “Steps”

You did it! You began the summer by fulfilling a resolution that took you years to get up the nerve to do. You went for it and signed up for dance lessons! How exciting! How glamorous! How…SCARY! Now, literally steps closer to the dance floor than you have ever found yourself since prom 20 years ago, there is still one thing holding you back… that dreaded first step on to a “real” dance floor. Suddenly, the tapes that have been “dancing” around in your brain all of these years are being put to the test. “What am I doing out in this Country bar? I can’t dance!”, you say to yourself. Even with 30 plus hours of private dance lessons under your belt in the last few months, you have the biggest hurdle in front of you yet…YOU! The fear of failure, looking stupid or drawing a blank is right in front of you and the pressure is on. Thanks to Nike, telling yourself to “Just do it!” does build some confidence, but becoming a great social dancer is more than just knowing your steps. Getting over that psychological hump of not feeling good enough is a process that everyone goes through when they are first learning how to dance. If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. The good news is that, because you’re not alone, we have developed tools and tips just for you to put those jitters to rest once and for all.

1. Remember that fear is normal and healthy. Now let’s put this fear thing into perspective. While dancing may seem as scary as jumping out of an airplane or swimming with sharks, it is actually a lot easier, (and much safer) than both. First, you can burrow yourself and your partner in the middle of the dance floor if you truly choose to go unseen. This will surely easy the fear of being watched. Also, keep in mind that at one point or another, every person in the Country bar or at your cousin’s wedding has had their first time social dancing too. In other words, you’re not alone. In fact, some of those very same people may be experiencing their first time social dancing on the same night that you are! See…you can do this! Just get out there and give it a try.

2.  Set yourself up for success. If you’re learning to Country Two Step or Salsa dance just for the fun of it, then there’s no need to stress yourself out on your first night on the dance floor. For your first few times out, choose a less crowded night, usually a weeknight or a Saturday, to go dancing. Why put yourself out there with the seasoned dancers when you are just getting your feet wet? Take the pressure off of yourself and plan ahead to get the most out of your first few times social dancing.

Another way to set yourself up for success is to be patient. Have a drink, relax and wait for the right song to come on before jumping out there just to get it over with. In fact, find a few songs that you have practiced to at the place where you take private dance lessons and request those songs throughout the night. That way, you’ll be even more comfortable and relaxed when it comes time to hit the floor and take off dancing! 🙂

3. Focus on your frame. As you have hopefully learned by this point in your dance lessons, your footwork is not nearly as important as a solid connection between you and your partner. Scan the room for the good leaders or followers, the ones that look like they are well-connected and moving as one. If you are coming in with your dance partner for the first time, then make your frame a priority over reviewing steps. Just feeling the connection and supporting each other in that way will ease the tension of having to be flashy simply to fit in. You have all the time in the world to go show off after you feel good about navigating around the dance floor without freaking out.

Becoming a confident social dancer is a process. If you’ve ever learned a second language, remind yourself how you felt going to that other place and giving it a whirl. It was a bit rocky at first and then, before you knew it, you were fluent over time with practice and effort. Going out dancing can feel bumpy the first few times, but my advice is to stick with it so that you can make the most of your investment. There’s no real point to paying for dance lessons if you aren’t going to apply your skills along the way. In fact, applying those skills will enhance your lessons and bring more value to them. Remember to let your instructor know when you plan to go out and once you have gone out so that you can both prepare and review what happened. Then, you can get ready for your next outing! Before long, your social calendar will be filled with dancing and fun!

For Arizona residents, let us at Dance FX Studios show you how to be a comfortable and confident social dancer with our New Student Offer. We are located in the Phoenix East Valley, but residents from all around town come visit us to prepare for upcoming weddings, date nights and the like. Our certified instructors will show you how fun and easy it can be to learn to dance! With the holidays approaching, as your loved ones for a gift card to Dance FX Studios for Country, Latin, Swing, Ballroom or Argentine Tango dance lessons. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Country dancers

What Are Your Summer Plans?

DSC03606As the Arizona summer approaches, we are all looking for cool things to do to beat the heat and still have fun in the coming months. While the movies seem like a great go-to idea, turning into a couch potato is not all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, being sedentary is never ideal, even if it is 100+ degrees outside. So how else will you fill your summer months? We have the perfect thing for your to do that is just perfect for all Arizonans… Country dance lessons! That’s right, what better way to spend your summer than to discover a new hobby that you will use for years to come!

Country dancing in Arizona is as popular as ever. Arizonans love to boot scoot their nights away at Country bars including Whiskey Rose Saloon, Burbon Jacks and the ever-popular Toby Keith’s, I Love This Bar and Grill.

We at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, AZ are here to give you the skills to hit that dance floor with confidence. We love Country dancing, and even more than that, we love teaching others to Country dance so that you will always have a fun way to stay cool in the summertime. A great deal of our students come to our studio with the hope of learning something new that they will have for a lifetime. With Country dance lessons, you will soon replace those nights on the couch with evenings filled with laughter, fun and meeting new friends. In fact, knowing how to dance will also be a great source of stress-relief and even a romantic date night opportunity. Become a competent dancer and discover for yourself how to really heat up those summer nights.

The most popular Country dances are the Two Step and Country Swing, but we also teach many other dance types. it’s normal to be unsure as to what dances go with what songs, so here is a small guide to some popular Country music that may be helpful.


She’s Got it All – Country Two Step

Big Star – Country Two Step

How Forever Feels – Country Two Step

Ain’t Back Yet – Country Two Step

Guitars and Tiki Bars – Country Swing

Ain’t That Love – Country Swing

Living in Fast Forward – Country West Coast Swing


To start your summer journey now,  come try our Introductory Offer for Country dance lessons. Whether you are single or will be bringing a partner, the Introductory Offer is perfect to see what dance can do for you. We are open for lessons weekdays from 12 to 8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm to schedule your first lesson today. Contact us today and get ready for an exciting summer in 2014!