Ballroom dancing is a formal partner dance that is characterized by elegance and flow. It is performed and enjoyed around the world because of its entertainment and competition aspects. Many people secretly wish to learn how to ballroom dance but worry that it might be too difficult.
To avoid confusion with other dances, know that ballroom dance is an umbrella term for different styles of traditional dancing, which include cha-cha, Rumba, waltz, and foxtrot. All of these dances come from different parts of the world and from different ages.
Before you learn how to ballroom dance, there are a few basics that you need to address first. Here are they:
1. Choose a specific ballroom dance that you want to learn.
Watch different kinds of dances and figure out which one speaks to you the most. Among the standard dance styles are foxtrot, tango, waltz, and rumba. You can’t learn all of them at the beginning of your lesson, but mastering a few basic steps or core styles is necessary. Leave complicated dances such as pasodoble and bolero in the advanced stage.
2. Identify your goals for learning ballroom dancing.
There are different reasons why people want to learn ballroom dancing. Do you want to compete or simply enjoy a new hobby in social dancing? Is it for a special dancing event that requires you to dance a particular style? Always keep in mind your goals for dancing lessons and make them your motivation.
3. Enroll in a ballroom dance studio.
Do a quick survey of the best and most reputable dance studios in your area. Private ballroom dance lessons tend to be more expensive than lessons for a larger group. Discuss your goals to a dance instructor so you will know how he can help you achieve it.
How to Ballroom Dance
Enrolling in a ballroom dancing class is generally expensive considering the instructor’s fee, hourly studio rate, and attire. It is imperative to not rely only on your ballroom dancing class but to practice more at home too.
If you want to get a good performance on the first day of class, then you should start learning the basic steps now. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you jumpstart your ballroom dance lessons:
Step 1. Master the box step.
The foundation of all ballroom dances is the box step. It basically is done by moving your feet in a square. With your feet together and the weight on the right foot, step a little forward with your left leg and place your weight on it.
Move your right foot forward by passing through the side of your left leg. Your legs should have about a one-foot gap between your feet. Then, bring your legs together by moving your left leg closer to your right leg. This is the first sequence.
The second sequence involves the same movement, only backward. Place your weight to your left foot and move your right leg slightly in the back. Then, shift your weight and place your left leg back but to the side. Finally, move your right foot closer to your left leg to finish the square.
Performing a box step can be confusing at first, but practicing will help you get used to it. Keep in mind that it is always the outside leg that moves around the square you are trying to make.
Step 2. Continue your lessons by watching tutorial videos and articles at home.
If you are patient and gifted enough to learn through online resources, you will save a significant amount of money by skipping to enroll in a private ballroom dance class. You can just learn at home by yourself.
But then again, relying on videos and articles doesn’t replace the huge advantages in learning through a private ballroom dance instructor. This is especially true for beginners and for people who don’t have experience in dancing.
Step 3. Be more familiar with the rhythm of ballroom music.
Even if you are not practicing, play them in the background and listen. In this way, you will learn how to pick up the steps easily and count the rhythm. By listening, you can also imagine the movements associated with the music.
Step 4. Attend the practice sessions at the dance studio you are enrolled in.
Many dance studios hold practice sessions outside the dance class. In sessions like these, you will have more opportunities to learn and ask help from more experienced ballroom dancers.
Step 5. Look for a dance partner who you can practice with outside the class.
One of your friends may happen to be a ballroom dancer as well. You might be able to convince him/her to your new-found passion. Even though you both might have a huge height or body size difference, you can adjust your movements.
Ballroom dancing involves movements of polish, grace, and courtesy. To be a good ballroom dancing partner, you should dance at the same level as your partner. Avoid doing advanced stances. The dance should be fun and enjoyable for both of you.
Step 6. Dance in public.
Even after your very first lesson, you can actually practice your steps in social events. Learning at least a few movements can already set you to have a great time dancing in public. Beginners and advanced ballroom dancers will definitely help you improve your steps. As long as you don’t say no to dancing, you will improve and have fun.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Learning Ballroom Dance
As a beginner, it is important to avoid the common mistakes most dancers commit so you won’t develop them as habits. Here are the mistakes that beginners tend to do during a ballroom dancing class:
- Looking down
- Having weak arms and back
- Having tensed shoulders
- Making huge steps
- Feeling frustrated
It is also important to consider the kind of attire that you are going to wear in a ballroom dance class. This is to ensure that you feel comfortable and move freely without worrying that your shoes get left behind. You also don’t want to pull down your shirt or feel too warm while you dance. Be comfortable so you can focus entirely on the dance lesson.
The Final Words
Ballroom dancing might be easier than you expect. With constant practice, investing in a dance studio, and dancing in public, you will surely improve your skills while having fun at the same time.
Ballroom dancing has a lot of advantages including social connections and health benefits, so stop second-guessing and eenroll in a class now!