In this article I am going to take you through some of the key steps that you will need to go through to be able to ballroom dance. I am going to assume that you currently do not know how to and then tell you how you can get to the standard that you’re interested in. Note that you do need lessons to actually dance. This article focuses more on how you choose lessons and how you can ballroom dance to the best of your ability.
What is it?
You probably have a clear idea in you head of what ballroom is. However, before we go too far it is wise to ensure that we are both on the same page. Ballroom dancing is a type of couples dancing or partner dancing. The dances that are most typically associated with ballroom are Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango (English or American; not Argentinian) and Quickstep. Some people will include the Latin dances such as Samba and Rumba and Chacha etc. Others will also include the street Latin such as Salsa and Argentinan Tango. At times people will say they are all ballroom and the dances such as Waltz, Quickstep and such are part of the modern group within ballroom. Then there is Swing. Swing is like the other great tribe of partner dances. Still, some people will think of Swing as ballroom because it is a collection of partner dances. Within this article Ballroom will be viewed as any partner dance. The reason is that the way you learn to do one is the same as the way you learn to do the other. They really aren’t that different and people just like to make out that they are by using different names and categories.
How to best learn
You have three basic approaches to learning ballroom dancing:
1. Private lessons
2. Group lessons
3. Video lessons (online, DVD etc.)
The first is the most expensive, but the fastest way to learn. As you go down the list the cost drops but the speed of learning drops. In fact, not matter what method you use the cost for a certain amount of progress will probably be about the same.
If you really want to speed things up and keep your lessons cost effective, then use a mix. Rely on privates mostly first to get the fundamentals and then move over to group and video as you become better informed of what ballroom is and how it is danced.
Nevertheless, you can take any path you like, just understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Ballroom dancing is very much about the connection and relationship between men and women. This means that you can’t be too much of a prude and you will need to let go of some inhibitions. I know people who had to overcome their issues with being close to others and some couples have never been able to go to group classes or ever see their partner dance with another person. This is an aspect of Ballroom that many people do not fully appreciate before lessons. Contemplate this before you start learning and you can choose the right type of lessons for yourself.
Training the body for ballroom
Ballroom should not be too hard. I once recall someone saying that in ballet we make the difficult look easy and in ballroom we make the easy look difficult. This means basically anyone can do it, and so you can too. However, some of us have not been very active for much of our lives leading up to our efforts to learn ballroom. This can make some of the dance moves difficult. If you do have troubles moving in ballroom, then give thought to some basic fitness improvement. Anything that helps general all over body movement and a loss of weight will help your dancing tremendously.
However, you will probably still need to work on your posture and there will be some movements that are just plain hard to master.
Musicality in ballroom
Can you count time in music? If not, then this is something that you will need to work on. At the very least you need to hear the beat in the music and know when the bars start. There are plenty of articles and books around that will help you with that.
If you can hear the beat, then you’re part way there. You still need to express the music in your dance. This is true musicality: when you change your dance to suit the feel of the music. If you feel that you’re not so great in this, then there some articles about that cover basic musicality that you can use. However, you might want to work on what some people call music appreciation. You can also simply notice the feelings that seem to come from you when you listen to the music and then let that guide your dance technique.
How good do you need to be?
It is important that you know what you want from your ballroom dancing efforts. Do you want to simply know how to dance with someone or do you want to move into dance sport? It doesn’t matter what level you want. Just know what you want and let that determine how you go about learning. This will also determine how much effort you put into building your attributes such as your body movement and musicality. If you take your lessons seriously, and you work on your attitude, physicality and musicality, then there’s a good chance you can get to any level of ballroom dancing you want.