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Sunday, 19 April 2015

May I have the Pleasure of this Dance?

 I implore you to adorn your sweats, grab a pair of soft soled shoes and sign up to a  Ballroom and Latin class!

There are known health and well-being positives to Dancing:

As well as improving posture, coordination and spacial awareness. Dancing boosts self-esteem and aids in weight loss too!

Why did I start?
I started Ballroom and Latin dancing a year ago not for the above reasons but just for the pure simple pleasure of dancing to 'old style'* music. I have always danced: ballet, tap, modern, character-dance...I thrive on the structure and discipline of this genre of the Arts. 

For me dancing has become a necessity to my life. I have come so far in a short space of time and want to continue to learn new figures and grow in confidence. I'm a younger sister and have always felt overshadowed by my older sister in terms of musicality however this is the first skill I have exceeded in and it has given my self-confidence a much needed boost! 

 *early-20th Century music as well as modern tunes!


What to expect

The class I attend (please message me if your interested!) is 1 hour of a ballroom dance: 

Tango, Quickstep, Foxtrot and Waltz 
 and then 30 mins of Latin:  Jive, Rumba, Mambo or Samba and Cha Cha. 

So your learning 2 dances in 1 night!

The structure of the class may differ. At my class firstly the women and men learn the steps separately like a line dance going over basic 'figures', technique, posture and hold (the frame that you hold each other in). Then we will partner up. You learn best when dancing with different people so it suits Singles as well as Partners! You don't feel left out if you go alone!

The main deal is for the Man to learn how to Lead 
and the Woman to learn how to Follow.

Learning how to give a strong confident lead will take time! It won't happen with a couple of lessons. The same for the woman - we are not mind readers and it is easy to try and pr-empt or mis-read the lead. If you stick at it like I have the steps become muscle-memory so you can worry about technique and looking good. AND remembering to BREATHE normally - I have been likened to a moody dog patting away into the poor mans ear with great concentration on my face!


I attend a class twice a week. Now this is because I'm an unusual eager beaver. Most learners do once a week which is the norm! There's time to practice last week's dance in the next lesson or better still when you have built up some repertoire and feel confident getting round the floor go to a Social Dance. 

A Social Dance is an evening where couples (or singles) can put their practice into action. You are not performing to any judges or have to wear spangly outfits. It is also not a 70+ line dance and bingo night (although me and my dancing pals do lower the age by 30 years). This is one of the reasons for this post! There is a great need for more young (20-39 yr) people!

This is is not a Social Dance! Image

This is a Social Dance! (image)

Its like an ice rink you all dance in an anti-clockwise direction. However you must have a partner on the dance floor. To get up for a solo freestyle would definietely be frowned upon. Single? no worries! share a man, ask around for a dance or take part in the 'Bus Stop'; women line up and dance with the next available man.

There is a rule in Ballroom/Latin/Ceroc you must accept if someone asks you to dance. I have had some shudderingly awful experiences with dwarf-like, creepy old men but if you don't make eye contact and look busy you can shrug them off! 


Ceroc? (as in 'Serock')
My instructor calls it 'Lazy Latin' and I like this analogy (ready for the backlash of ceroc fans).  It has of course its own technique and looks fab when you link all the steps together seamlessly but the discipline of Latin is non-existent. You don't need your free hand out at the side nor does it matter which foot you start on. I enjoyed it as you dance to upbeat modern music and it made for a relaxing change to the norm but I found it difficult to 'let go', blend in and stop looking like a ballroom dancer! There are great discounts for a 4 hour workshops and lots of different classes locally. The class is set out a bit like speed dating everyone stands in rows and (depending on the greater amount of gender) the women move round on to the next man after a few moves. Its great to go as a Single!

Ceroc Class (image)

What to wear to a class of Ballroom/Latin/Ceroc
Comfortable, lightweight layers. Ballroom and Latin can be very energetic and personally I melt! So I wear leggings and a tunic. Men usually come in trousers and sweat shirt. Bring some deodorant and water to be on the safe side! 

Shoes-wise to start with before you get into the 'swing' of things (see what I did there!) wear soft-soled shoes: eg pumps (men- wear your normal 'man' shoes of which I do not know the name of). Then you can buy a training shoe- a little cheaper and easier to dance in! 

Practice Shoes

Man's Practice Shoes

 When you get more experienced and see this as a long-term hobby you can go for the big-guns!


 This is a public call for more of you, youths out there: 
*cue Miranda quote*

 And that 'something' is Dancing.