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!

Top Three Most Useful Dances in Arizona

Get ready to have some fun with dance lessons in three of the most popular social dances in Arizona! “What are those dances that no AZ resident should live without?”, you may ask. Three must-have dances for couples or singles who live in Arizona include: Salsa, Swing and the Country Two Step. Yes, it’s true, gone are the days where ballroom dancing, like the Foxtrot or Waltz are in style simply because they can make you feel elegant or debonaire. Today, social dancing is all about having fun, fitting in with the local cultures and enjoying what you know by taking it to parties, weddings or even on cruises! Let’s explore these three key social dances and why YOU should learn them to have a great time dancing anywhere in Arizona.

1. Salsa Dancing: Because we live in the southwest, Latin influence is prevalent in more than just the food in Arizona. Salsa dance lessons are a great way to burn off those yummy tapas and enjoy a sexy and passionate hobby! Along with Salsa dancing in AZ, you must learn to dance Bachata, Merengue and Cha Cha for the full Latin effect. Then, you will be prepared for any Latin club with confidence.

Latin dance lessons are great for couples to spice up the romance, but singles, do not shy away from learn to Latin dance. Salsa, and the other Latin dances mentioned above, are not only a great workout, but they are amazing for exploring a different side of your personality. There is an inner diva or Latin lover in there somewhere just waiting to come out. Give yourself a chance to get those hips moving the right way and watch your confidence, and social calendar, improve by the minute!

2. Swing Dancing: Swing dancing in Phoenix, AZ is another must-have dance. What we love about the swing is its versatility. Learn to Swing dance and enjoy all fast-paced music in style from Country to Rock and Roll, Big Band and other classic and fun oldies. After a few Swing dance lessons, you will be able to hit any dance floor with fun and impressive turns that will keep you on the dance floor all night long.

As if you needed more reasons to learn to Swing dance, keep in mind that you can burn over 400 calories an hour while Swing dancing. It is a high-energy aerobic blast that will keep you smiling as your endorphins soar. Give yourself a boost of energy and excitement with Swing dance lessons.

3. Country Two Step Dancing: Need we say more? In the land of the cowboy here in Arizona, Country Two Stepping is essential to know if you plan to wrangle the cowgirl of your dreams. Country dance venues are popping up on every corner around in the Phoenix metro area, so no need to wait on this fun and popular dance with Country dance lessons today. (By the way, check out Spurs Saloon in Chandler, a new Country dance bar that recently opened. They offer a nice dance floor and live music for your Country dance pleasures.)

If you haven’t learned to Salsa, Swing or Two Step in AZ yet, it’s never too late. For dance lessons as a couple or a single in any of these popular dances and more, give Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona a try. We offer both group dance classes and private dance lessons to Phoenix adults who want to learn to dance. For the last 12 years, we have created thousands of amazing social dancers– you can be next!  Conveniently, we are located just off the 101 highway minutes from Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale, AZ. Make the drive and come check us out, you’ll be happy that you did!


History of Salsa Dancing

about salsa dancingSalsa dancing is one of the most popular social Latin dance styles world-wide!  People from all walks of life enjoy the energy, passion and party-like feel of the dance.  But where did this dance and its music come from? Let’s explore….

“Salsa” is a partner dance form that corresponds to Salsa music.  Musicologists and historians have very diverse opinions on how Salsa dancing came to life.  Most seem to believe it was born through many decades of dancers gradually accepting the name as many styles of music and dance steps became melded together. Others learned that “salsa” music began centuries ago in the islands of the Spanish Caribbean, in a context of slavery and colonialism.  Yet, no one will deny that Salsa dancing is connected to 20th century New York City and the growing, thriving Latino community there. As the Spanish American war of 1898 ended Spanish colonial rule, displaced Puerto Rican agricultural workers migrated from countryside to town, and from island to island.  The transplanted workers from Havana, San Juan, Santo Domingo and other areas brought all of their traditional sounds to New York City.

Because of this “mixture,” the word “Salsa” was eventually adopted.  Salsa is the same as the Spanish word for sauce – or in the case of dance music – flavor or style.  The very first time the word was heard on the radio was in a composition by Ignacio Piñeiro, dedicated to an old African man who sold butifarras (a sausage-like product) in Central Road in Matanzas.  The song is titled Échale salsita.  The major chorus goes “Salsaaaaa! échale salsita, échale salsita.”  During the early 1950’s, DJ “Bigote” Escalona announced tunes that were danceable with the introduction:  “The following rhythm contains Salsa.”

Styles of music travelling from Cuba and Puerto Rico fused their African, Cuban and other Latin-American rhythms together as they migrated into New York between the 1940s and the 1970s.  There is a debate as to which country originated Salsa – Cuba or Puerto Rico.  Since Salsa is one of the main dances in Puerto Rico and is known world-wide, many people give Puerto Rico the credit.  However, the dance steps currently being used to Salsa music come from Cuba.  Those steps, though, were influenced by many other Cuban dances such as Mambo, Cha’, Guaracha, Rumba, Yambu’ and others.  Thus, the debate continues.

With the combined elements of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, African and other music styles, Salsa music can typically be recognized by the complicated percussion rhythms and the faster tempos.  The sounds are vibrant and inviting and attract dancers of all levels straight to the dance floor.

Salsa dance is exciting, full of variety and appealing to almost any social dancer looking for fun and exhilaration.

YOU can learn how to Salsa at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona.  We offer both private classes and group lessons, teaching dancers the spicy flavor of this hot Latin dance.  Phoenix offers many Salsa venues so you’ll be able to take the skills we teach you into any real-world situation with confidence!