Practicing Great Dance Etiquette

West Coast SwingDancing is, and should be many things—fun, exhilarating, graceful, and much more. In order for it to be these things, everyone involved must work together, and that means more than learning the right steps. People must be mindful of one another, supportive, and work to create a safe, pleasant space to dance and learn. There is such a thing as dance class, and general social dancing etiquette. Most of this etiquette is common sense, but here are a few reminders of what you can do.

Greet Others, Be Kind, and Smile

Pleasantness and a smile go a long way, particularly when you start with them. Try to start with a kind “Hello” and a smile; you could find it impacts every meeting positively from that point forward.

Try to Be on Time

It’s hard to get everything from a dance class if you’re late. Plus, it disrupts your teacher and other students, and someone else might be left without a partner. The best thing to do for you and everyone is to always do your best to be on time. Everyone understands that traffic can be terrible and there is nothing you can do about it (particularly in Houston), so others will probably be forgiving, too.

Practice Patience

Learning takes time and practice, for you and everyone else in the class. Anytime you learn something new, it can be frustrating. It’s important to practice patience. Be patient with yourself and trust your teacher to help you. Be patient with your fellow classmates, too.

Remember that You’re Learning, Too

If you’re dancing with a partner who is newer to the dance than you, or is learning a little more slowly, it could be frustrating. Don’t try to teach, however. You might not realize you’re doing it, and it can make things uncomfortable for your partner. Trust your teacher to help, and be patient.

Be Encouraging

Positive energy and encouragement go a long way for everyone. The polite thing to do is take a moment to be encouraging sometimes to your partner and classmates. Everyone needs to be reminded that they’re improving, or will.

Listen Well

Your teacher knows the dance and how to teach it, so listen to what she or he has to say. When you dance with your partner, listen to that person, too. Dance is largely about communication, even when it’s not verbal. Listening and paying attention are keys, and being polite.

Be Open to Partners

When you’re in a class, you never really know who your partner will be. You might get someone familiar, and you might not. You might be partnered with someone who knows as much as you, and you might not. Be open to new partners; dancing with them is the chance for new learning experiences.

Admit When You’re Wrong, or May be Wrong

If you step on someone’s feet, always apologize. If someone steps on your feet, never assume it’s their fault. Learners will make mistakes, even as they get better. Practice good etiquette and be willing to apologize.

Be Thankful

It’s important to have a partner when you’re learning. When someone dances with you, learns with you, and they’re kind, patient, and have all-around good dance etiquette, that’s worth being thankful. So, thank your dance partners after each dance.

Great dance etiquette is more than just politeness; it makes the entire dance class experience better for everyone. It’s much easier to learn when everyone is pleasant. Come to Dance Passion Studio to enjoy learning to dance.

Food for Dance Fuel

Delicious  portion of  fresh salmon fillet  with aromatic herbs,Health is important for everyone, no matter what they do. Of course, if they’re active, sometimes they need a little extra boost to stay that way. To keep your body strong enough to dance on a regular basis, you need good nutrition. Food is fuel; get the right stuff to keep you dancing.

Before beginning any new health routine, whether it involves exercise or changes in your diet, remember to consult your doctor. Once you have done that, consider these nutrition tips. They could give you the boost your body needs.

Protein

Protein is an important part of keeping muscles strong. This doesn’t necessarily mean consuming large amounts in all forms—meat, supplements, etc. That is primarily for those who want to build a lot of muscle. To be active and dance, you just need to help your muscles grow and strengthen enough to keep moving. Lean protein is the best way to do this—very lean, low cholesterol meats like chicken, turkey, and salmon are great. Remember to eat in moderation and consult your physician about any health concerns you may have when it comes to increasing protein.

Water

Your body needs plenty of water; you probably know this. The more you are active, the more water you need. There is such as thing as drinking too much, so don’t overdo it. Talk to your doctor about how much you drink. If you find yourself with increasing thirst, that could be a sign of a medical issue, and again, you should talk to your doctor. Otherwise, just make sure to drink some water before, during, and after activity.

Carbs

Carbs have long been the subject of debate among dieters. Some say avoid them more than anything, while others say you need them more than anyone is willing to say. Ultimately, it’s usually find as long as you practice good portion control and eat more of the right kind of carbs. Carbohydrates are classic sources of energy–good calories that give you the energy to do more. Talk to your doctor about what kind of carbs you should eat, and how much.

Eat smarter and you’ll feel better during activity. Get the right food for dance fuel with the help of your physician, and come take dance classes with us at Dance Passion Studio.

Following Gracefully in a Dance

Woman Performing Tango With Man In RestaurantYou know that dancing calls for two people—one leads and one follows. It’s true that leaders have a lot of control in the dance, and that they must be strong sources of command in steps. The follower is just as important. In order for the two to move gracefully together, the follower must be able to do more than be lead. That person must be secure in the steps, strong in form, attentive to a lead’s movements, and flexible enough to move with changes in the dance.

A lot of people have to work at this. In their everyday lives they work to stay in control; following in a dance calls for some control, but also letting go. It is a combination of the two and calls for practice. After all, the person following is doing almost everything that the leader does, but with added spins and turns, or even dancing backward. Just because it is called following doesn’t mean that it is easy, but it can become second nature to you with some tips and plenty of practice.

Maintain a Strong Frame

Just like the leader, a follower must have a strong frame. If the leader has a weak frame, it makes staying in connection and sensing movement more difficult for the follower. If the follower has a weak frame, it harder for the leader to hold on, stay firm, and serve as a physical guide in movement. You do more than follow when you’re not the lead; you help both of you stay connected and strong.

Avoid “spaghetti arms” and keep your back straight. Imagine you’re connected to your partner with an invisible string tied at the chest and core, and keep that core firmly tucked in.

Learn to Let Go

When you’re in the early stages of learning, you will make mistakes. You may have some insecurity and it will cause you to fumble. That is natural. It takes time to become comfortable with the steps. As you do, you stop thinking quite so hard about them. Then, you can let go.

To be a good follower in dance, you have to relax a little and let yourself be flexible to your partner’s movements. If you’re too stiff, or you think too much, you will falter more. It will also be harder for your partner to lead you when you’re stiff; your movements will also be rigid and spasmodic. A good connection to your leader is strong and firm, but adaptable and graceful. Two people “flow” together better when you, as the follower, relax and let the steps, and your leader take you.

Trust Your Leader

Finally, to let go and follow well in a dance, you have to trust your partner. Even if that person is someone you generally trust in life, trusting them in dance takes a little time and practice; it’s a different sort of trust. But keep trying and you will get there.

Learn to surrender and follow in a dance gracefully at Dance Passion Studio. We can help you stay strong, and learn to trust and let go for the most graceful dancing experience.

How to Get Your Wedding Guests to Dance

beautiful bride and groom dancingYour wedding is one of the most important, if not the most important day of your life. You want it to be beautiful and special, and not just for you. You want your guests you be happy for you and have a great time at your celebration. Dancing is a very important part of most wedding celebrations. Fathers dance with daughters, mothers dance with sons, and then guests join in for all sorts of dancing. Of course, there are bound to be a few people reluctant to join in. You can encourage all your wedding guests to dance.

Take Song Requests

You can ask that people request songs when they RSVP, or take requests during the reception. However you do it, letting people have a chance to choose the music may make them happy enough to get on the floor. The more they love the music, the more likely it is that they will dance. Since it’s your wedding, you’re not obligated to play anything you don’t like, but you might be surprised at how much you like some of the requests.

Plan a Group Dance

There are many types of group dances, like line dancing, that call for everyone to join in. Of course, there may be some people who don’t know how, but don’t let that stop you from encouraging your guests to do it. You can start by adding a note on your invitations, or sending out a mass e-mail to your guests. Let them know there will be dancing, and that there will be group dances. Encourage them to learn and send them information on great dance classes like those at Dance Passion Studio. Then, when the time comes, hire or ask someone to lead the dance and teach new dancers.

Spread the Word About Dance Class

Even if you don’t have group dances or take song requests, you can still encourage people to participate in dances at your wedding. Make a point of letting them know in your invitations that there will be music and dancing, and that you hope they will all join in the fun. Then, make a recommendation for a local dance studio where they can take classes if they feel they need them, or might enjoy them.

In fact, you can arrange for everyone in the wedding party—and even more, if you want—to take dance classes together. Special group classes like this make sure everyone is ready to dance and have a great time. They also give you a chance to come up with fun ideas for what you can do on the dance floor at the reception.

At Dance Passion Studio, we know how to get people dancing. Send your wedding guests to us, and ask us about how we can make your first dance as a married couple perfect for you.

Find the Best Dance for Your Personality

If you dance, or you want to dance, you know that there are plenty of dances from which you can choose. You also know that you could enjoy dancing any one of them. Have you ever wondered which you might enjoy most? Like any other art, dance has the ability to reveal a part of your personality, and there may just be one that is the best dance for your personality.

The Waltz

Beautiful couple in active ballroom dance, indoorsDo you love Victorian romances? Do you enjoy classical music and the idea of grand ballrooms? Perhaps, you’re even addicted to historical dramas on BBC. If these sound like you, then you might just be well-suited to the Waltz. This dance is a well-known classic, and many people consider it the one of the most important dances for a beginner to learn. It has been danced for centuries, and was even once considered risqué by some societies since it involved men and women dancing in one another’s arms. If you love the idea of glamorous dresses floating and spinning on the floor, you may be thinking of the Viennese Waltz—the version in which the dancers spin on the floor gracefully. It is suitable for almost any occasion; you would have plenty of opportunities in your life to dance the Waltz. It is also a graceful dance, and a great way to get a slice of that classic romance you love so much.

The Tango

Do you love passion and flairs of drama? Does Latin influence in music excite you? The Tango might be a great dance for you. This Latin dance is a popular and dramatic dance full of passion. It is punctuated with sharp movements, in time with staccato music, and is a great way to learn leading and following better. The two dancers must be well-tuned to one another and anticipate movements well because they’re so sharp and sudden. You could have a wonderful time with this exciting dance.

Are you interested in what other dances might suit your personality, or the many aspects of it? Come to Dance Passion Studio. Let us get to know you and we can help you find and learn the perfect dance style for you.

Tips to Help You Lead a Dance Like a Pro

Professional ballroom dance couple preform an exhibition danceWhen two people move together well during a dance, it’s a beautiful thing to watch; it’s almost seamless. To achieve this, those two people need practice together to learn more than the basic steps. They have to learn how to step with one another, to communicate without words, and grow accustomed to one another’s individual personality in movement. Leading involves some additional responsibility for helping this connection happen and go well. So, here are some tips to help you lead a dance like a pro.

Practice Strength of Frame and Surety of Steps

A strong frame is part of what holds dancers together as they move, making it an important thing. A weak frame, like drooping arms and shoulders, can make it more difficult to stay connected smoothly to your partner, particularly when you move. When your frame is steady and strong, your connection to your partner is stronger. That person has something steady onto which she or he may hold, making it easier to sense the next movement and follow.

When it comes to steps, accidents will happen, particularly in the early stages of learning. What makes a great leader is certainty in steps—meaning, a lack of hesitancy. When you’re hesitant, you’re more likely to make mistakes and step on your partner’s toes. The first step to overcoming this is learning the basics. Then, you practice.

The ability to lead like a pro can only come with time and practice. With each correct step, you build confidence, which is essential for leading well, too. The more you practice, the better your steps and confidence, and the easier it is to focus on the surety of your steps and strength of your frame. Better posture, level arms, shoulders rolled back, and a firm core throughout the dance—all parts of a strong frame—need practice, too; your body has to become accustomed to staying in this position over time.

At Dance Passion Studio, we will do more than teach you to dance; we’ll teach you to lead a dance like a pro, and follow just as gracefully. Sign up for classes today.

Practice Makes Perfect Dance

Dance classes have a great deal to offer you. The more you dance, the better you will become, and the more you will benefit. Of course, you cannot take classes constantly, and your busy life may not allow you to take more than one or two per week. So, what can you do to get the most from what you learn in your classes? For the perfect dance, it is helpful to practice outside of class.

Start by practicing what you know.

Dancing FeetYou can practice anything you learn in class. All you need is space and a way to view what you’re doing, like a mirror. It also helps to have a partner who knows at least as much as you do, but it’s not necessary.  Even just practicing your footwork on your own can be very helpful.

Take your at-home practice one step at a time. Start by practicing the dance one part that you can remember at a time. If you have forgotten any part of the dance, the chances are that your memory will be triggered when you practice the parts you do recall. So, it makes sense to start with what you know.

Be patient with yourself; in the beginning, it can be difficult to remember your steps, but all the classes and private lessons are structured in a way to help you start remembering your steps. So, after a few lessons, you will be able to practice your steps outside of those lessons, or classes.

Talk to your teacher about how to practice.

In private lessons, your teacher can guide you. She or he may have tips on where to begin and how to proceed. You can find out what areas are best for your focus, and more than just general ideas. Your dance teacher may know the best things to help you, specifically, based on your performance in class. She or he may also prefer that you practice according to certain teaching methods.

You don’t have to lose any of what your learned in dance class. Practice dancing at home to make it perfect. Come to Dance Passion Studio and get started today.

The Path to Competitive Ballroom Dancing  

A passion for dance can strike anyone, and at any time. A person can know from the time they are small that they want to dance. Others may find themselves with that desire, even obsession later in life. Whatever the time, and whatever lights the fire, dance can grow into an all-consuming, life-long passion. This is true for all types, including ballroom dancing. Sometimes, dancers approach their teachers with questions about how they can take their love of dance further, even into competitive and professional realms.

True competitive ballroom dancing is a commitment; it’s more than the average hobby. It may be disappointing to some to find that their current lives simply don’t accommodate that sort of commitment to something outside their normal careers and lives. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it’s impossible to dance competitively, or that they can’t continue dancing, even if competition isn’t really possible. Anyone who loves dancing can do it; anyone interested in dancing competitively merely has to look at what it takes to do so, and decide if they are able to commit to it.

Training

Ballroom dance classes are great places to learn and to improve. As a student, you can get better and enjoy dance more than you ever thought possible in a dance class, in fact. However, you need more training for competition. The type of training someone needs for this comes from a private, professional dance instructor. This person might also teach dance classes, but your lessons would be far more intensive than those classes, and even more than standard private lessons.

Beautiful Latino dancers in actionThis training would have to happen more often, too. While one dance lesson once, or twice per week would work well for someone with general interest, a person with competitive ambitions will need a strict, more thorough training schedule. Even with that training, it can still be quite some time before you will be ready for a professional competition. It is important to establish a reasonable time frame and expectations with your instructor.

Costs

The costs to pursue professional goals will be more significant than normal dance classes and lessons. Those costs could be well-worth it; it is important to make sure that you’re ready to spend the money. A professional instructor will be the first major investment. You can certainly do some investigating and find the right instructor for the right price for your needs. Then, you will want to invest in good dance clothing and your instructor can help you make the best choices. Once you begin competing, you will need costumes. You will also have to learn to dance in costumes since they can be elaborate. So, you will need prepare for those costs, too. Talk to a dance professional about the specifics of costs and do some budgeting. Hopefully, you will find a way to afford your dream.

The path to competitive ballroom dancing requires a lot of training, hard work, time investment, and monetary investment. If it is your dream, then go for it. Start by taking some classes or lessons at Dance Passion Studio, and then ask any questions you may have about taking what you learn as far as you can.

Making a Daughter’s Dance with Her Father Even More Special  

If you’re getting married, you have probably considered that first dance with your new spouse. You have wondered what song to choose, what sort of dance is best, and you have probably considered taking dance lessons, or even having your dance choreographed by a professional. All of these things are wonderful and you should do them. However, have you considered the daughter’s dance with her father that is common at weddings?

The Classic Father and Daughter Moment

BLD021637It’s a very special moment for fathers and daughters at weddings who are close. The father and daughter dance is symbolic of a major change in that relationship; the father is “letting go” of his daughter so that she may start life with someone else who will take care of her. It can be very emotional and a beautiful moment. So, why not make it even more special with dance lessons, or even a little choreography?

The father and daughter dance is a chance to create a memory worth saving for the years to come. It’s a moment worthy of cherishing. You could rock back and forth on the floor to a song that moves you and your father, and it would still be very sweet. However, imagine if you took some extra time to not only choose that perfect song for the two of you, but you learned to dance together, too.

Make Learning Part of the Memory

First, the process of learning a dance together, whether choreographed for you or not, is a wonderful way to connect with your father before you get married and things change. You can make your dance lessons part of the wonderful memories, and spend a little extra father and daughter time together. Your father may love getting a little more attention before the big day to remind him that some things between you will never really change.

Dance Something Different with Dad

The dance itself could be extra special, as well. There are no rules that say you and your father have to dance slowly to a very nostalgic song. You could learn any dance that pleases you both. Weddings are often emotional, and there will probably be a few tears no matter what you do. However, you can make your father and daughter dance whatever you want. If you want to commemorate this moment with your father with something high-energy, do it. You could have fun showing off your new moves, and even have something a little wild choreographed for you, if that’s your style. Of course, if you still want something slow and moving, you can have that, too. With the help of your dance teacher, you could choreograph a dance so moving there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Your father and daughter dance is a special thing. Make a daughter’s dance with her father even more special by taking it to another level. Enjoy dance lessons together, create something suited to you and your relationship, and make that day about change that isn’t necessarily sad. Come to Dance Passion Studio and let us help you and your father have the best dance.

Make a Date Out of Dance Class  

Young couple in loveFirst dates can be nerve-wracking; everyone wants it to be special. Of course, many dates end up on fallback activities, like a simple dinner, if only to make it something that you can get out of easily if things go wrong. It doesn’t always have to be this way, however. There are many activities that make for great first dates, and if you are looking for something that qualifies, make a date out of dance class.

Dancing is almost guaranteed to make things fun.

Everyone likes music of some kind. Most people like dancing. While a few people might be nervous about learning to dance, going to a dance class is a great way to move past that nervousness together. Between learning something new, making mistakes at which both of you can laugh together, enjoying the music, and all the other things that come with dance class, you will be having fun in no time. All that first date nervousness goes away, and you have a fun, original first date.

In fact, dance class is a very unique first date idea.

Why spend money on something that you and the person whom you’re dating could do at any time? You can go out to eat anytime, anywhere. How many times do you go to dance class, however? If you’re looking to impress your date with something new, dance class can be just the thing. It’s not easy getting to know someone new, and the distraction of dance is a great way to take the edge off the nervousness, giving the two of you a chance to get to know one another in a fun way, and possibly learn more than you might have on an average first date. Choose dance classes for your date, and you are likely to get some extra points for a unique idea.

You get more for your money.

At a restaurant, you get food, and maybe some conversation. If you’re lucky, you generally like each other and want to go out again. At dance class, you get much more, and all for a reasonable amount of money. You get a new experience, social interaction, to learn something new, a chance to have fun, and more. You get all this, plus the chance for romance with your date. Even if you don’t click with that person as you hoped, you may find yourself clicking with the dance lessons, and coming back for more of them. It may even become your favorite date activity to impress your future partners.

A date is a chance at romantic happiness. Go all out; make a date out of dance class and improve your chances of everything—fun, romance and a second dance, learning something new, finding a great new activity, making new friends, and much more. Bring your date to classes at Dance Passion Studio. We love to make your dance class experiences the best so that you’ll want to come back, with or without your date, time and time again.