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A Beginner’s Guide to Ballroom Dancing

The elegance and grace of a ballroom dance can seem intimidating for the untrained, but even a novice dancer can master the steps with some ease.

Ballroom dancing is the category that includes dances that glide across the floor. The dances are smooth and graceful and require strong use of the feet and close proximity to your partner. The romantic nature of ballroom dances makes them the most popular for weddings and anniversaries.

Dances in this style include:
Fox Trot
Viennese Waltz
Argentine Tango

Best Dance for Beginners: The Slow Waltz

One of the best ballroom dances to begin with is the slow waltz. The slow waltz is a beautiful dance with an emphasis on the rise and fall technique as you move across the floor. The main characteristic of the dance is the iconic timing of 1, 2, 3.

Musically, the slow waltz is generally danced to music in a 3/4 meter between 28 and 30 measures per minute (84.0 and 90.0 beats per minute). This includes popular songs such as “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones and “Open Arms,” by Journey.

Where Should I Start?

Ballroom dancing is one of the easier dances to learn due to its rhythmic nature.

Let’s get this out of the way: no one has two left feet when it comes to dancing. The idiom is a myth for those who feel like they lack coordination or grace. These two qualities can be learned with enough patience and practice! Don’t be concerned if you stumble or start off by stepping on your partner’s foot; both things happen and can be resolved with proper technique. Think of dancing like riding a bike: no one is perfect at it when you first start, but the more you practice, the better you get.

Make Dancing a Pleasurable Experience

Dancing should be a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Since dancing involves close contact, proper hygiene should be one of your top priorities.

Make sure that you shower and apply deodorant on a regular basis. Brush your teeth and please don’t eat too much garlic before hitting the dance floor.

Lastly, avoid using excessive amounts of perfume or cologne. If these rules of etiquette are adhered to, dancing for both partners will be much more pleasant.

Techniques to Start Practicing

You should begin by practicing two things: your hold and your posture.

With most forms of dance, perfecting the hold on your partner is a good first step. In a closed dance hold, such as with ballroom dancing, the woman is positioned slightly to the right of the mand and your steps will be offset from your partner’s. If done correctly, you should not hit your partner’s knees when moving. You should be looking over your partner’s right shoulder and they should be doing the same to you.

In ballroom dancing, your posture should be straight at all times. You can practice this by starting with your back against a wall. Take a few steps forward and try to maintain a straight spine. A good posture, mixed with a good dance hold, should give you the appearance of regality before you even take your first step!

Dancing Equipment

You won’t need to purchase anything special for ballroom dancing. All you need are shoes that won’t slip and a professional dance studio to help you perfect the steps.

Choose the Right Ballroom Dance Studio

Dancing is a physical art form that cannot be replicated through reading or viewing; you must experience it for yourself to know if it is right for you. Arthur Murray Dance Centers offer students of all skill levels an experience that is unlike any other and classes are interactive and enjoyable to attend.

The Arthur Murray Studios, which is the second oldest dancing franchise in America, teaches on a scholastic basis and degrees of dancing achieved are varied. Their courses are designed for people desiring instruction in either social or competition styles. Additionally, they utilize a comparative style of teaching called the Arthur Murray Method, which enables students to learn the skills needed for dancing in the most efficient way possible. Their goal is to help you get out on the floor dancing as soon as possible.

Their basic introductory classes with emphasis on foot position, rhythm and timing, and leading or following. They also offer full programs for novice to advanced students who wish to perform. Instructors are highly knowledgeable and trained to assist everyone.

Lastly, just remember that there is nothing holding you back from becoming a ballroom dancer.
The worst thing that can happen is you will schedule an appointment or reserve a spot in one of their free lessons, learn how to dance, and find that you don’t enjoy that particular style of dance. If this is the case, there are hundreds of dances you can choose from!

With risks like that, isn’t the leap to becoming a dancer worth taking?

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