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Dance is a Lifestyle Choice

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Dance is a Lifestyle Choice

When someone asks a dancer if they have any hobbies, they often say no. If the person persists and says, “But you dance, right?” the dancer might reply yes, but dance is more than a hobby. It’s a lifestyle choice.

Those who enjoy a dancing lifestyle experience many physical, psychological, and social benefits, whether they are young or old, frail or fit, and healthy or medically impaired:

Better Balance

Many studies have concluded that dancing can improve balance, even in elderly people, and improvements in gait, walking speed, reaction time, and cognitive and fine motor performance have been noted. According to a review published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, dancing may help people struggling with the rigid muscles, slowed movement, and impaired balance characterized by Parkinson’s disease.

Mood Booster

Dancing has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, and actually boost self-esteem, body image, the ability to cope, and an overall sense of well being, and best of all, the benefits last over time. The authors of a meta-analysis of 27 studies on the effectiveness of dance movement therapy wrote that dancing should be encouraged as part of the treatment plan for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

Heart Health

If dancing is vigorous enough to get the heart rate up, it can be a good form of aerobic exercise. For people with stable chronic heart failure, interval waltzing has been found to improve heart and blood vessel function and overall quality of life as much as a moderate aerobic exercise program did.

Weight Control

On the average, a 150-pound individual burns about 240 calories per hour dancing, 200 calories per hour for slow dances like tango, around 350 calories during faster dances like swing, and more than 500 calories during an hour of step aerobics dancing. One study even showed that dance helped control “emotional eating” in obese women who turn to food as a response to stress.

Find a Style to Suit

There are many different types of ballroom dance; so finding a style that suits you in terms of intensity, difficulty level, music type, and whether or not a partner is involved should not be too difficult:

  • If you want an upbeat, calorie-burning style of dance, give tap or swing a try.
  • If you want something more reserved, waltz might be an option.
  • Foxtrot is a good choice for beginners, while quickstep can be fun for more advanced dancers.
  • If you like your dancing spicy, try salsa or mambo.
  • Want to dance with passion? Tango may be for you.
  • If dancing with out a partner appeals to you, there is line, belly dance, ballet or tap and folk dancing.

Exercise with Benefits

Though other forms of exercise can have many of the same benefits, dancing is more appealing to most people, so they are more likely to stick with it. A study comparing tango dancing to mindfulness meditation found that 97 percent of participants chose to receive a voucher for a tango class rather than one for mindfulness meditation, and although both activities reduced depression, only dancing reduced stress levels. In another study, attendance was higher with waltzing than conventional exercise, possibly because “dance is a form of exercise in which movement, social interaction, and fun are mixed together,” the researchers concluded.

There’s really no downside to incorporating dance into your lifestyle and regular physical activity routine, and don’t overlook the social benefits: dancing is a great way to spend quality time with a partner and/or meet new people.

Why Beginner Classes are Good for ALL Dancers

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Why Beginner Classes are Good for ALL Dancers

Beginner classes are so boring!” Has anyone ever said this to you? Maybe they prefer to take more advanced courses instead, until they are left with a plethora of steps, but little technique to back them up. But they – or you – might want to reconsider that strategy.

If we’re being really honest with ourselves, we often take more challenging classes because just the act of taking them makes us feel more advanced, especially when we tell others what we’re learning. Who wants to say they’ve been attending ‘ballroom basics’ more than once?

On the other hand, if you want to actually demonstrate great dancing, those beginner courses could be just what you need to start turning heads and lining up dance partners your way.

It builds your foundations

Like losing weight, there is no miracle pill, no substitute for hard work. Beginner classes focus on the basics of movement without distracting you with advanced technique you aren’t ready for.

For example, if you aren’t fully changing your weight properly and losing your balance because of it, how can you possibly be expected to improve your hip action (Cuban motion), or rise and fall? In a beginner class, you are free to work on the pillars that uphold more advanced technique.

Here’s just a few things beginner group classes can help improve (that you will use forever!):

1   Weight transfers

2   Timing

3    Core connection

4    Frame

5     Posture

6     Heel, ball, or toe leads

7      Pressure changes for leading/following

You can work on more advanced technique

What if you already know the basics of dancing, but more advanced movements like Cuban motion are still giving you a headache? Again, beginner classes take the pressure off, leaving you free to practice your technique while moving with a partner.

Even if your partner doesn’t know the first thing about dancing, there’s still plenty you can do to work on your end of the partnership. For example:

1     Catch and compression

2     Cuban motion

3     Pushing off with your feet, and floor connection

4     Adjusting the strength of your lead/follow based on your partner

5     Finer details of arm and body alignment

This is especially useful if you have trouble keeping up your practicing, because it gives you a group of people whom you are accountable to and will notice if you aren’t there. And it’s the same time every week, allowing you to build the time into your daily routine.

It can reconnect you to the joy of dancing

As you move from beginner, to advanced, to performance and competitive level classes, you’ll notice that there are more and more people who are ‘hungry’, who crave technique like a drug, because it gives them more opportunity to be noticed by judges, agents or potential partners.

When we get sucked into this rat race, it can be easy to forget that we started dancing for reasons as simple as having fun, meeting some friends, or expressing ourselves. Beginner courses let you reconnect to that relaxed vibe, so you can infuse new joy into every movement.

I’m not saying advanced classes are a waste of time – far from it! As technique piles upon technique however, it helps to remember that this house you are building is only as strong as it’s base – and every house needs maintenance, from time to time.

Author: Ian Crewe – SocialBallroom.Dance

Dances for Parents of the Bride or Groom

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Dances for Parents of the Bride or Groom

We get it.  You’re probably paying for this wedding, but there’s no reason you should be paying any tax on the dance floor.

Learning to dance doesn’t mean you need to swing from the chandelier, or wear clothing that would make a Dancing with the Stars teacher blush.

It means that you can walk out there, move to the music, and hold your own at a once in a lifetime party.

1. No Regrets

You may have heard the quote, but the pain of hard work will never hurt as much as the pain of regret.  With some lessons, you won’t regret anything you will do on the dance floor at the wedding.  The hard work only seems difficult until you’ve walked into Gotta Dance.

2. It’s Expected

There’s the father/daughter dance, the mother/son dance, and the money dance.  These days, the wedding crowd understands that dancing will liven up a reception much more than appetizers or a chocolate fountain.  So why should you be excluded from that?

3. You Really Can Do It

Get over the Two Left Feet Myth, the Born With No Rhythm Myth, or the People May Die If They See Me Dance Myth. They aren’t true, and dancing is no different than golf.  People who take lessons do far better than people who try to fake their way through it.

5 Dances To Learn

1. Foxtrot

You can safely categorize this one as “Most Likely To Be Used” when it comes to any of the officially sanctioned wedding dances.

Foxtrot Characteristics:  Easy to learn, fits Sinatra, Buble, and all the old standards, and moves around the room as smooth as a guy with a fedora and a martini.

Added Bonus:  Foxtrot is typically the first dance where students can talk and dance simultaneously.  Which is, you know, a pretty important skill.

2. Rumba

This will be your new go-to Slow Dance.  No more awkward swaying side to side, uncertain of hand placement – especially when you dance with anyone you’re not married to.

Rumba Characteristics:  Rumba has easy movements, fits all the popular slow music, and is built for compact dance floors.  Whether it’s on a dance floor, or on a sandy beach with no shoes – make some room for Rumba in your dance program.

Added Bonus:  It’s romantic.  Rumba is a dance that doesn’t require a lot of space so we encourage couples to try it spontaneously in places like their kitchen, the grocery store, or maybe next to that chocolate fountain at the reception.

3. Swing

Some people refer to this as Jitterbug, others refer to it as East Coast, or West Coast Swing.  We call it your wedding reception “Get out of Jail Free” card.  They say that cockroaches could survive a nuclear explosion, and students who learn swing can survive any wedding.

Swing Characteristics:  There’s a version of swing built for slow, medium, or fast tempos of music.  It’s considered the All American Fun Dance, and it’s tough to dance without a smile on your face.

Added Bonus:  We refer to Swing, and it’s distant relative the Cha-Cha, as Wedding Crashers! They both have the same dance DNA, so learning both simultaneously isn’t a problem, and will supply more variety.

4. Merengue

We’re sure you’ve accidentally listened to some of your kids music, only to wish later that you could have “un-listened to” it.  Yes, your kids may not understand your taste in music, but Merengue is an all access pass of a dance to make even the “music” your kids like danceable.

Merengue Characteristics:  Merengue is a high energy dance with very basic footwork.  Because of this, you are able to learn a wide variety of turns very quickly and comfortably.

Added Bonus:  The Merengue is a great foundation dance for other dances like Salsa, Hustle, and Cha-Cha.

5. Waltz

If dances were fancy outfits, the Waltz would be a gown or tuxedo.  Now, what event would prompt you to wear an outfit like that other than a wedding of someone you brought into the world?

Waltz Characteristics:  Waltz is the most elegant of all of the ballroom dances.  It’s built to naturally enhance your posture, and even the most basic Waltz can create a powerful moment.

Added Bonus: If you wanted to knock everyone’s socks off on the Father/Daughter or Mother/Son dance, this would be a great choice.

Final Thought

At some point, you’ve used your kids as an excuse to go on roller coasters, blow your budget on Holiday shopping, or get out of work.  So why not use your kid’s engagement as an excuse to learn how to dance?  You don’t need to do the splits, or the funky chicken, and your kids probably wouldn’t want to see that anyway.  Mom and Dad, consider this your dance invitation.

Night Club Two Step vs Nite Club 2-Step

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Night Club Two Step is one of the most practical and versatile social dances. It can be danced to contemporary soft rock (“Love Songs”), slower big band swing, foxtrot and rumba songs. It gives the dancer either beginning or advanced, the opportunity to express and create without a rigid technique being required.  It’s attractive, romantic, and a real asset to learn since it will be used often. It is referred to as the smooth version and is what’s danced competitively in the UCWDC circuits. There is no rock step in this version, rather a cross over step on the second quick, which allows you to change directions and move around the floor more easily. John teaches this version. 
VS
Nite Club 2-Step (yes, it really is spelled n-i-t-e) has been around since the late ’80’s… 1980’s that is! 😉 It was created, perfected, and made popular by Buddy Schwimmer (the dad of “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 2 Winner, Benji Schwimmer). It was originally called “California 2-Step,” and with that name, didn’t score many “popularity points.” Buddy took it back to So Cal, rebranded it as “Nite Club 2-Step,” and a sensation was born!! It is the consummate “Club” dance, as it was created at a time when large ballrooms were not the rage – everyone went to a night club (hence the name), and dance all squished together. It is a GREAT dance, and is a fun combination of swing and rumba/cha cha patterns – it’s easy to learn and more importantly, it’s easy to dance! This version is often referred to as the Rhythm version and has a rock step rather then the cross over step. Peggy teaches this version.