How Bad Leaders Create Bad Followers on the Dance Floor

swing dance lessons ArizonaLet’s face it, when you go out Country Western dancing or Salsa dancing, it’s mostly the blind leading the blind, right? Unless you’ve taken adult dance lessons and you’re going out with friends who have also taken lessons, you’re mostly going to be dancing with others who have no idea what they’re doing. While I absolutely give these people credit for having the courage to “wing it” on the dance floor, there are a multitude of bad habits that are passed on from one untrained dancer to the next. Again, kudos to all that have the confidence to step into the dance floor, but yes, a bad leader on the dance floor can in turn create a bad follower. Here’s how:

  1. What we like to affectionately refer to the “Tug and Pull” is a perfect example of how a poor lead can create a monster on the dance floor. For example: You don’t know how to get her to go from point A to point B on the dance floor, so you “make” her go by ripping her arm out of the socket with one swift yank. She does what you want and all is well, right? Wrong! Now she won’t move until you tug and pull her around the floor, essentially manhandling her. Gentlemen, whether you’re Two Stepping or Swing dancing, a great lead is one that includes finesse and control. Make the investment into some Private Dance Lessons to discover how to get her to move without having to workout at the gym before you go dancing. She’ll soon feel light as a butterfly and you won’t need Advil for those sore muscles the next day.

2. Speaking of not having control on the dance floor, when leaders are all over the place and cannot contain their movements, we ladies tend to get dragged along for the ride, further developing the bad habit of sloppy movements that are not well-executed. Leaders, you can look and feel great to the women you dance with once you focus on my favorite concept on the dance floor which is “less really is more”. Formal instruction will help you to get the right information you need to have a successful night out Latin dancing, Swing dancing or Country dancing.

3. Lastly, and I’m not sure why, but there can be a lot of blaming involved when things don’t go right on the dance floor. People, it’s not easy to partner dance. No one is born knowing how to Tango. It does take time, training and patience. Not taking responsibility if things are not perfect is only going to add to the problem, just like it would in any partnership off the dance floor. So, when you’re learning to dance as a couple, please take responsibility for your part. It is a 50/50 partnership. Guys, take care of and protect your dance partner, and ladies, be kind, patient and please let him lead!

If you’re interested in starting with social dance lessons in popular dance styles like Country Western, Latin or Swing dancing, come try our Introductory Offer for beginner’s dance lessons at Dance FX Studios in the Phoenix East Valley. We’re located just off the 101 highway. When done correctly, social ballroom dancing is a blast! Let us show you how to strut your stuff on the dance floor.


Salsa dancing in Phoenix

How to Avoid Rejection on Any Dance Floor

Salsa dancing in PhoenixGuys, wouldn’t it be great if she said “yes!” to every dance? Sure it would! Getting a “No” is never fun, and frankly not even easy for us ladies, most of the time. So how do you get her virtually lining up to dance with you? Well, here are some of my top suggestions for how to avoid rejection on any dance floor.

  1. Smell great! A shower and fresh breath goes a long way. On the flip side, ladies, have you ever been out Salsa dancing and taken a whiff of your partner? He obviously did not prepare for his night of dancing because he smells like he’s not showered in days. How fun is it dancing with him? I’d venture to say “not very”. Now, let’s give this guy a small break and assume that he got sweaty Salsa or Bachata dancing at the Latin club. That does happen. To prevent stinking on top of being wet, using a deodorant for athletes is always a great plan. I personally love a little cologne too, but some girls don’t, or are allergic to it, so be aware of this, men. Conversely, an “un-fresh” breath is completely avoidable. Men, grab some mints or gum to put in your pocket so you don’t end up turning off your dance partners. She will remember you, so make a great impression.
  2. Don’t out-dance her. Men, the social dance floor is not the time to show off-especially when you’re dancing with someone new. Take going out Country dancing, for example. At least here in Arizona, tons of guys fling and swing their partners around like muppets in attempt to make themselves look cool. Here’s an important tip: if this is your first dance together, use this time to make her feel comfortable and safe. Once you know her skill level, try more advanced moves little by little to see how she reacts. That will be your gauge as to how far you can go with your partner on the dance floor. Keep in mind two things, guys, as you go through this process. 1. That you are on a social dance floor. Others are sharing the space with you, so don’t be a floor hog and, 2. Partner dancing is designed to show off your lady. If you are making her feel uncomfortable, she cannot and will not be able to relax and allow you to sweep her off of her feet. If you’ve danced with a controlling follower on the dance floor, re-read what I just wrote to see if this may be why.
  3. Don’t teach her on the dance floor. No one likes know-it-all. Leaders, don’t belittle us by trying to play two roles on the dance floor. Again, keep it simple and dance to her level, but please do not teach her how to do her part. It’s best that she invest in Private Dance Lessons for beginners to learn from us pros.
  4. Listen to the music. Last but not least, pay attention to the beat. If you’re a great Two Step or Swing dancer, and have made an investment in dance lessons for yourself, then you already know the importance of musicality as a part of your dancing experience. If not, dance lessons are perfect for helping you to identify what dance to do to what music, as well as how to stay on time. It is a great feeling when you are on time with the music, and a key piece of the dancing puzzle as a leader, and couple, on the dance floor.

I hope these four tips help to give every man the courage to ask any lady to dance, and to know that by following these guidelines, that she will have a great experience. Social dancing, be it Country Western, Latin or Swing dancing, is an incredible outlet for meeting new friends and relaxing after a long week of work. Make the most out of each dance with these helpful hints. 🙂

Couples Country dance lessons AZ

Tips for A Successful Night of Social Dancing

Couples Country dance lessons ArizonaIn social dancing, the BIGGEST secret to success is to make your partner(s) happy. Dancing is an exciting and special relationship between you, your partner and the music. But there are other factors involved, especially in social dancing, like being mindful of the other dancers around you.  Once you are able to successfully navigate the dance floor, your popularity as an awesome social dancer will greatly increase! Here are a few, VERY important tips to remember when leading your lovely lady out on a social dance floor:

1. Create a comfortable lead: A follower doesn’t appreciate having her arm cranked or jolted out of her socket in order to make her turns. Pushing and pulling to bring her where you want (as well as other forceful leads) are not appreciated. Here at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona we teach how to create an inviting space for the follower that is both comfortable and communicative. We teach you how to execute moves well on the dance floor and help you to become confident so, when you go dancing, you will be able to WOW your partner.

Ladies, when you ask or accept to follow someone in a dance, you are agreeing to let THEM lead. This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything perfectly. Sometimes you don’t understand how the move is being led, but a good leader can turn any misunderstandings into a new move. Don’t worry about being perfect, as long as you do what your partner is asking, you will both have a good time. Back-leading can be disrespectful and is very disturbing to your partner because you are rejecting their contribution to the partnership. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t embellish a move or add your personality into the dance. The instructors at Dance FX Studios help both parties understand what it means to lead and follow. We give constructive feedback and tips that make following (and leading) easier.

2 .Protect your partner: This goes for BOTH leader and follower, however, it is more important from the leader’s perspective. There are two important aspects: anticipation and observation. By anticipating movement of other dancers (and onlookers), you are able to match your movements to the space that is on the floor (and can even create some extra space). The most important piece is not to run your partner into other couples. Not only is this jarring for you and your partner, but also for the other couple. Observation allows you to know where other couples are and, if another couple executes a move that puts your partner into danger of collision, think quickly to either absorb the blow in a spot that doesn’t create a large injury or keeps your partner safe. In the partnership, each person is the eyes in the back of their partner’s head – you keep an eye out and if someone is approaching the blind spot of your partner, keep them safe! As a follower, a small pressure on the leader’s shoulder or hand can warn them of a possible collision and give them a heads up.

3. Entertain your partner: Both of you are out to have a good time, MAKE it one! From Salsa dancing here in Phoenix to hitting the Country bars, dancing is a great way to shake off your week, get some great exercise and let loose. Dance at an appropriate level that makes it enjoyable for both parties. Evaluate your partner’s capabilities and make sure to keep the dancing comfortable while adding in some fun moves as well.  At Dance FX Studios, we teach you how to make cool combinations of moves, blend movements together to make the dance smooth, and how to keep time with music, which is also a big part of keeping the dance fun! It is also important to maintain a good sense of humor if something goes wrong – NOBODY is perfect! 🙂 Own up to mistakes if necessary, but don’t dwell on it. Lightheartedness and playfulness goes a long way. Make sure to SMILE at your partner and focus on what makes them comfortable and happy.

4. Appreciate your partner: By combining all of the above, your partner should feel like you are there to dance with THEM (even if it is only for one or two songs). The most popular dancers are those who make it clear to their partner that their company is appreciated and enjoyed! Most people would rather not dance with someone who acts disinterested or bored, no matter how amazing their dancing is.

Overall, the most important take-away is: dancing is a partnership – you are happiest when your partner is also happy. Come learn how to become confident in your dancing skills at Dance FX Studios. Our New Student Offer for beginner dancers is a great place to start your journey as a dancer!

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!