Our Mission is DANCING -- and doing it better as we grow!
Many beginners fear that they lack aptitude for dancing, they have "two left feet". Most good dancers had two left feet before they learned to dance. Do not worry if you seem to have no rhythm or coordination in the beginning; these will come with practice. Do not worry about stepping on each other's feet; if you use the proper hold, described later, this will not happen. That which is most likely to prevent you from learning to dance is your lack of diligence to practice what you have learned until you get good at it. Do not assume that you already know the proper ballroom procedures of posture, position, hold and balance.
The type of social dancing we are interested in involves many people of the general public who are not really dance enthusiasts but more interested in a social event, music with the many combinations of rhythm and tempo found in the wide range of popular music, and only a few dance steps, so it is practical for many people to learn them. Of note, dance competition is an exhibition; a social dance is not.
Our series of meetings will teach a select set of dance steps and maneuvers, that are ideal for casual social dancing. Including Box Step, Two Step, or Fox Trot. It is about dancing to any kind of music with constant rhythm and tempo and an audible beat, whether it is Country Western, Latin, or Disco.
WHAT SOCIAL “BALLROOM” DANCING IS
A ballroom dance is a “couple's” dance, not a “solo” dance. A belly dance is a “solo” dance.
Social “couple” dances can be divided into Ballroom dances, Country Western dances and Latin dances.
In ballroom dancing, the man must learn to lead the lady so that she will do each dance step correctly even though she does not know which step the man is going to do next. However, she is following her man’s lead. The more skillful and technically correct a couple's dancing is, the more satisfying and enjoyable it will be. This is not because it looks better, which it does, but because it feels more comfortable and coordinated.
Examples of country-western dancing includes versions of the ballroom dances such as: social foxtrot, one-step and Viennese waltz. The figures of Texas two-step are the same as the basic figures of social foxtrot, except for the forward basic.
Ballroom dancing differs from country-western dancing by including other dances and more advanced figures in each dance. The more skillfully the figures of country-western dancing are done, the more they look like everyone expects ballroom dancing to look; the less skillfully they are done the more they look like everyone expects country-western dancing to look.
LEADING AND FOLLOWING
With regard to ballroom dancing, some comments on the basics of leading are in order; exercises to improve skills in leading and following will be described below in the next to the last paragraph in the foxtrot section. The man leads the lady. He creates the motion, and she goes with him. A primary concern is that the lady feel taken care of, and not feel that she is being handled roughly. She will tolerate much more force forward and backward than she will sideways. The dance figures are designed so that little or no sideways force need be applied even to lead the lady to the side in a chasse. The lady does not step forward or backward in response to the man's foot stepping forward or backward. She steps forward or backward in response to the man attempting to move her forward or backward. It is possible for a man who does not understand this to kick the lady in the shin with his foot. He must be sure which foot her weight is on before he attempts to move her forward or backward, so he will know in advance which foot she will move when she takes a step. This knowledge and control of the lady's side to side balance before the couple starts moving is easier with body contact than without, but is possible either way. Once the lady senses the movement, she moves with the man. She does not require the man to provide the effort of moving her.
I have had many ladies worry that they might be trying to lead, instead of just following. In no case could I detect any tendency for them to try to lead. But their boy friend or ex-husband had complained about this. I can think of three reasons why he might have complained. First, possibly the man had such a weak lead that she was trying to guess at what he wanted her to do. If she guessed wrong, he felt she was trying to lead. Plenty of solo practice by the man before dancing with a partner should prevent this problem. The man's lead must be fully committed, determined and confidant, not weak, unsure and tentative. At the same time it must be smooth, firm and considerate, not rough, harsh, jerky and inconsiderate. A second reason the man might think the lady is trying to lead is that she has poor balance, and is trying to lean backward against his hold, which feels to him like she is trying to pull away from him. The hold section has a paragraph about proper balance. There is a third reason the man might have complained about the lady leading. The man must lead each figure correctly. He should study and practice the figures as given in this website, and not attempt large modifications of them until he has mastered them as presented. If he attempts to lead in a manner that no lady could possibly follow, she will attempt to do something that she can actually do, not the impossible thing he is trying to get her to do, and he may think she is trying to lead. After both have learned the dance, when the lady makes a mistake in following in easy dances like onestep, foxtrot/twostep or tango, ninety percent of the time it is because the man made a mistake in leading. That is why this article puts so much emphasis on explaining the man's steps. So much of the responsibility falls on the man it is no wonder that women are usually more enthusiastic about learning to dance. Even if the man's steps are correct, the lady cannot be expected to follow correctly if both are not using the proper position and hold.