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Let’s face it. The elliptical can get boring, running can wear on your joints, and making time to navigate all those people at the gym is just plain difficult. But this summer, it may be time to ditch your normal workout routine and explore a new and fun way to get in shape!

Health care professionals are starting to take notice of what ballroom dancing enthusiasts have claimed for years: dancing is great for your health! And it’s starting to catch on across the board.

Whether you favor the fast paced foxtrot, or the flow of the waltz, the cardiovascular, weight loss and overall muscle toning benefits of dancing score “perfect 10’s” across the board.

From a strictly athletic point of view, dancing also can be an incredible workout. It merges aerobic (like cardio) and anaerobic (like strength training) exercise, while increasing your overall stamina! You also will build leg and core strength, all while steadily burning calories and fat throughout the course of your dance lessons.

If you want to take your ballroom dance workout to the next level, there is one dance that stands out when it comes to dance health benefits.

Experts say that salsa dancing can burn up to 10 calories a minute, without the negative side effects of high impact exercises like running. That means, in an average 30 minute class, you can burn upwards of 300 calories, or 600 in an hour!

Why You Should Come to the Social Dances

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Why you should come to the Social Dances (even when you don’t know anything)

Originally appeared on by Lora LaMon, Septembeer 12, 2016.

Since you are learning how to dance, then actually dancing is the best thing you can do for yourself and your partner. Coming to an actual dance is different (and better) than dancing in your kitchen. The environment and experience is better. There is a sense of “community” at the dances, a community that is a safe place for you to work on and improve your dance skill. This is especially important for new dancers.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary, but . . . Coming to the dances is well worth the effort. Others will dance with you, which helps you get better and more confident, too. And yes, you can decline if dancing with someone else is still too scary. But it gets easier and better the more often you attend the dances and the more involved you become in them.

At the dances, you have a good floor, the right music, and comradeship to encourage you. The dances are where you will meet other like-minded people who love to dance, just dance. You’ll get to know your classmates, and meet others, too. As you enlarge your dance “circle”, you will find yourself dancing more (and loving it!). The more you dance, the larger you dance circle becomes. See how that works? It’s ALL good.

Yes, we have singles who come to the dances.
They find out there are other singles who are coming to the dance, and Waa Laa, they don’t just find a dance partner, they find SEVERALdance partners.

Finally, dancing need not be overwhelming. The dances are the best place to just watch, ask questions, see what all those dances look like and what music goes with each. If you are not sure where to start or where to go next with your dancing, coming to the Social Dances will help you sort it out and decide by getting eyes and ears on the variety of options.

See you on the Dance Floor, and remember . . . . . Keep Counting !



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How to pick the right dance shoes.

You have taken a few ballroom dance lessons and are starting to get more serious about dancing. It’s time to look into purchasing some dance shoes! A pair of quality dance shoes, with its special construction and materials, will help you learn better and dance longer. Below are 7 important things to consider when choosing the right dance shoes.

1. Make Sure it Fits Like a Glove

When you first try on a pair of dance shoes, make sure they fit snugly without excessive pressure. This will give you the most control of your shoes even after they are broken in. I usually go a half or full size down for my dance shoes.

2. Open Toe vs. Closed Toe

Generally, open toe shoes are designed for Latin and rhythm dances, such as Salsa, Rumba and swing, which require more pointing of the toes and articulation of the feet. The opening in the shoes allows you to point your toes easier and execute footwork more precisely. Closed toe shoes are designed for smooth/standard dances, such as Foxtrot and Waltz, as these dances require a more traditional classic look. Unless you are focusing on a particular dance style, beginning dancers can pretty much choose any style you’d like. Though, when you first learn to dance, it’s almost inevitable to get stepped on once in a while, so you may consider getting closed toe shoes as they provide some protection for your pedicured toes. Personally, I prefer the open toe.

3. Heel Heights

The heel height for Latin and ballroom dance shoes ranges from 1.5″ to 3″. For beginning dancers, you should choose a heel height that gives you the most comfort. If you are not accustomed to wearing heels, you may want to start with shoes that have a lower heel to start with. Also, there are different shapes of heel, such as slim and flared. A flared heel is a popular choice as it gives you more stability. For men’s dance shoes, a 1″ heel is designed for ballroom dance styles while a 1.5″ Cuban heel is designed for Latin dance styles. Unless you are participating in dance competitions, a 1″ heel is generally sufficient for both ballroom and Latin dancing.

4. Suede Sole Shoes

Suede soled shoes are perfect for dancing. It is recommended to have a suede sole for your dance shoes. The suede sole gives you the right amount of slip and traction so that you can feel more balanced and have more control when turning and moving around the dance floor. Every once in a while, you need to brush the suede sole with a wire dance shoe brush to maintain its roughness.

5. Buying Dance Shoes Online vs. In Store

Whether you order shoes online or purchase them in a store, I suggest you first go to a dance supply store to try on some shoes. Since sizing can vary from brand to brand, it is best to try and compare various brands, sizes and models to ensure you find the right fit. We usually have a few pair in stock that you might try.

6. Maintenance

Moisture is the # 1 thing that kills dance shoes. After dancing, I usually use shoe trees to absorb moisture and keep the shape of the dance shoes. Cedar shoe trees are particularly great for fighting odor! Unfortunately, dance shoes are not made to last for a long time due to their delicate materials and the way dancers use the shoes. To extend the life of a pair of dance shoes, I recommend having 2 or more pairs of shoes (depending on how frequently you dance) to rotate between dance sessions. This allows each pair enough time to dry out before the next use. Also, never wear your dance shoes outdoors as the suede leather is very delicate and can be damaged easily by any harsh objects and water!

7. Cost

The cost of Latin and ballroom dance shoes range from $80 to $300 a pair depending on the brand and quality. For about $170, you can get a great quality pair of shoes. It is definitely worth spending a little more money since a good pair of dance shoes can last longer and give you more comfort and support when learning to dance. Because we want our students to have dance shoes, we sell them very close to cost $80 – $90 plus shipping.

Happy dancing!

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