10 Important Things To Do After Your First Ballroom Dance Class We get multiple questions about what to do after the first ballroom dance lesson. One of the most common questions is "what to do to prepare for the next few dance lessons". Here are ten things you can do that will help you prepare. Most of them are fairly simple and have a huge impact on how you dance. 1. Wait to Practice It may be a surprise to learn that it is better not to practice after your first private lesson. Why? It’s very simple. You don’t have the knowledge or the muscle memory of the proper dance technique yet. It’s very frustrating for you and your teacher after that to break all of these “bad habits”. Even the best Ballroom Dance Teacher can’t teach you in one lesson. When you start “practicing” by yourself you don’t have any feedback from the Pro. So you definitely will do something wrong and the more you practice the more bad muscle memory will be created. So Wait to Practice! 2. Book your next lesson close as possible It is very, very important to keep your first couple lessons close as possible. That way you will remember and retain more. Your teacher will teach you new material and you will have a chance to learn more steps/technique and spend less time reviewing old material. It is that proven that when you start something new, after one week of not taking a lesson, you will probably remember only 50% of what you learned. After two weeks maybe only 10%. If your schedule allows, The best case is to try to have a private lesson, group class or practice party every [...]
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Top 10 Wedding Songs That Haven’t Been Played To Death This post was last updated in March 2020! Are you tired of hearing the same old wedding songs at a wedding reception? Or maybe you want to have a wedding song to dance to that is as unique as your love is for your partner! Perhaps you have no idea what you want to dance to for your first dance and you are desperate for suggestions! Well, we have made a list of ten songs that we feel would be a good contribution to your list to consider for your first dance. We tried to include wedding songs from all different genres to try and find music as different as your story may be. There are even a few of the lyrics included in the description. that we felt really chime strongly in the songs. The other good thing about these songs is that there are a lot of different dance styles that you can do to them. That way you don’t have to worry about doing that awkward stiff-legged sway thing that some couples do during their wedding. You can wow and amaze your friends with a cool dance made to any of these not-so-normal wedding songs. 1. Conversations in the Dark - John Legend "Swear on everything I pray to That I won't break your heart I'll be there when you get lonely" 2. Infinity - Todd Carey "As long as 1+1=2 Thats how long I've been needing you" "And As sure as 5+5=10 Girl my love will never end" 3. Slow Dance in a Parking lot - Jordan Davis "Making the most of whatever we [...]
Passion in Pictures In each and every dancer there is defining moment when technique merges with Passion. You know. You've experienced this. Meet the man who has made capturing that moment his mission. Meet Joe Gaudet in an interview specially for Dance Passion. “I will have done something that matters if I can capture the singular defining moment – the expression and emotion of life – in a photo of their dance.” – Joe Gaudet Picture this. I’m in the audience of the Florida Superstars Dancesport Championships when I notice him. He is near the edge of the dance floor. His stillness exists in stark contrast to the feverish movement displayed on the floor. His eyes seem to be everywhere. His camera is in hand; the lens poised and ready. The photographer looks like a dancer himself with the tight physique of the U.S. Navy helicopter rescue crewman he once was. It is Joe Gaudet, an award-winning commercial and wedding photographer who on this night is indulging in his greatest passion - ballroom and Latin dance photography. Full disclosure. I have known Joe for many years as a Creative Director and Broadcast Producer. His wedding photography business is thriving and with good reason. The man is talented. But ballroom dancing? This is an area of interest that I was not aware we shared. Recently, I caught up with him and peppered him with questions. His candid responses appear below. Susan: Joe, you have stated that you have a “passion” for ballroom dance. How did that interest come about? Do you dance yourself, or is your interest strictly visual? Joe: I have to thank Sonja Ballin of “Designs by Sonja” in Pinellas Park, Florida, for introducing me to the world of ballroom and Latin dance. She had [...]
Wheelchair Dancing Wheelchair dancing is a partner dance where at least one of the dancers is in a wheelchair. The physical benefits of wheelchair dancing include the maintenance of physical balance, flexibility, range of motion, coordination and improved respiratory control. This dramatically increases physical health and keeps your body fit and functioning The psychological effects of ballroom dancing are social interaction and the development of relationships. This increases your mental health and helps you develop a support network and friends to enjoy life with. We had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Wheelchair America 2016, Dr. Alette Coble-Temple. Here is what she had to say about the benefits of dancing for wheelchair-users: Ivan: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Dr. Coble-Temple: I am a licensed psychologist. I have a doctorate in clinical psychology and teach at JFK University. Currently, I’m Ms. Wheelchair America and part of what I’m working on is teaching people how to live successfully with a disability. I’m traveling the country. Today I’m in Tampa and this is my sixteenth state. Ivan: How long have you been in a wheelchair, using a wheelchair for mobility? Dr. Coble-Temple: I was born with cerebral palsy and in a wheelchair since the age of four. Ivan: Did you ever dance or wish to dance like in a wheelchair? Dr. Coble-Temple: I love to dance. As a kid, I used to be jealous. I couldn’t take ballet classes, tap dancing classes. But my brother and I used to dance around our house and in the pool and everywhere. Except as I got older, I figured out you can dance even in a wheelchair. Ivan: We at Dance Passion teach people to dance in a wheelchair. Maybe in a little bit we can try it. Dr. Coble-Temple: Excellent. Ivan: I [...]
Trust A Leader Who Can Lead (Part II) This post follows our previous one outlining the fundamentals of “How To Follow” for beginners in partner dancing. This post does something similar with an emphasis on the interaction with your partner. Staying On Time Sometimes you are dancing on beat, sometimes you are 50-50 and sometimes you are in your own world dancing to an “amazing” rhythm no one else can hear. Sound familiar? If you and your partner are both true beginners, it takes time to develop rhythm recognition. Even though it may be challenging, follow your partner along the best you can. A little theory. What does it mean to be “on time”, on the “right beat”? Most of the songs will be on “4” or “8” beat measures. Only the “Waltz” songs will be on 1,2,3 beats. So to be on time, first recognize the music. Is this is a 4 beat or is this a 3-beat song? Listen to the music. Count the music. Tap with your hand or leg or even snap with your fingers. Make a sound and match the sound with the music. Try a different song and repeat. Once you can find the beat a little more easily, start trying to just march on the beat, that way your body can start to feel the beat in motion. Practice is the key, Patience is your friend, Feeling is the magic That’s it, Enjoy it If you are a beginner or advanced dancer stay on time. No matter the style of dance, staying on time is one of the most important things you can do. P.S. If your partner is offbeat, don’t do any “favors”. Stay on time. He or she will match you sooner or later, be patient and polite. Maintaining The [...]
Trust A Leader Who Can Lead (Part I) In ballroom dancing there is a saying which goes "1+1=1". It is very important that a couple be seen as dancing as one individual, rather than two people who just happen to be dancing together. More simply put, this is synchronization. The follower must allow themselves to be lead and the leader must have good clear signals to lead. Each person has a clear role to achieve the best outcome. Learning to allow your partner to lead is not easy, it takes a lot of sensitivity, especially if you are in a beginner’s class and the leader isn’t giving you clear signals (we’ll address this in a separate post). Here are a few tips for the follower beginner dancers: Clear Your Mind Try to avoid running a narrative in your head of everything you're doing wrong. Instead, just be open and receptive. Focus on the signals you perceive from your partner. Be attentive to his body movements, the pressure he places on your hand or on your back, the visual clues like the tilting of his head. Clearing your mind and reading your partner’s signals are the secrets to following. So relax and enjoy yourself. Accept To Let Go Trusting your partner means relinquishing control and accepting to wait for the signals. If you are a dancer used to dancing solo most of your life, learning to follow can be tough. When you go social dancing, you will be dancing with partners who haven’t learned the same routines as you, they may put the steps together in a completely different order. That’s why it’s important to get used to following right from the start, even when you know the routine. Posture Try to rely on yourself for balance rather than your [...]
Want to Boost Your Productivity? Get Up and Dance Sharper thinking If you’ve been experiencing a bit of brain fog at work, shaking your groove thing can help clear that cloud away. Studies have found that dancing can improve cognition as well as fine motor skills. So, if you work at a job that requires focusing on a task for extended periods of time, dancing may be just what the doctor ordered. A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine also found dancing can reduce a person's chance of developing dementia. Reading, playing board games, and playing musical instruments were also found to help sharpen the mind. Increased energy Are you looking for some energy to get through the work day? If you’ve resorted to mixing energy drinks with your coffee, it may be time to make a change. Dancing before work can give you a much healthier energy boost. Once you bust a move, you’ll be alert and ready to take on the projects that await you throughout your day. Besides, it’s kind of hard to type when your hand is shaking uncontrollably from caffeine-induced jitters. Elevated mood Are you often in a grumpy mood before you even get to work? Dancing may help change that. Before you know it, you’ll be the happiest person in the office. In fact, you’ll be so chipper that it will start to get annoying. Even more so when you dance from your desk to the bathroom and back! “Dancing has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and boost self-esteem, body image, coping ability, and overall sense of well-being, with the benefits lasting over time,” said Berkley Wellness researchers. Fewer sick days Being out of the office on a sick day can put projects behind schedule. It’s hard [...]
Social Dance Etiquette USA Dance, Inc., the national governing body for DanceSport in the U.S., offers these tips for dance etiquette: May I Have This Dance? When you ask someone to dance, be sure to make eye contact with your prospective partner, offer your hand, and ask clearly, “Would you like to dance?” If your partner says yes, smile, offer your hand, and escort him or her onto the dance floor and into the dance position. This will make your partner feel supported and at ease. Yes, Thank You, I’d Love To Dance When someone asks you to dance, your response should be, “Yes, thank you, I’d love to.” In a social dance environment, it is customary to say “yes” when someone asks you to dance. In order for dancing to be a joyous activity, it is important that social dancers are supportive and kind to each other at all skill levels. You Dance Divinely! During the dance, be sure to be aware of your partner. Smile and make eye contact, but don’t stare. It is even okay to have a little conversation as you dance! It is fun to dance with a partner who is gracious and appreciative. At the end of the dance, ALWAYS say THANK YOU to your partner and begin to escort them off the floor. When To Say No When a person asks you to dance, it is appropriate to say no if you have danced with this person before and he or she has been physically or verbally abusive. It is also appropriate to say no if the person is obviously drunk or threatening in some way. If you feel that a dancer is physically dangerous to the other dancers, you should report the situation immediately to a Dance Passion Staff member. Unless someone [...]
Dancing Makes You Smarter For centuries, dance manuals and other writings have celebrated the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise. More recently we’ve seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well-being. Most recently we have heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter. A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages. You may have heard about the New England Journal of Medicine report on the effects of recreational activities on mental acuity in aging. Here it is in a nutshell. The 21-year study of senior citizens, 75 and older, was led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their method for objectively measuring mental acuity in aging was to monitor rates of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The study wanted to see if any physical or cognitive recreational activities influenced mental acuity. They discovered that some activities had a significant beneficial effect. Other activities had none. They studied cognitive activities such as reading books, writing for pleasure, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards, and playing musical instruments. And they studied physical activities like playing tennis or golf, swimming, bicycling, dancing, walking for exercise, and doing housework. One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind. There was one important exception: the only physical activity [...]
Dancing Has Some Serious Health Benefits A four-month dance program helped older Latino adults walk faster and improve their physical fitness, which may reduce their risk for heart disease, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago tested whether a community-based intervention focused on Latin dancing could benefit 54 Spanish-speaking adults (about 65 years old, 80 percent Mexican female) who were not very physically active. Participants were randomly assigned to either participate in a dance program twice a week for four months or attend a health education program. All participants completed questionnaires about their leisure time physical activity and a 400-meter walk test at the start and end of the study. After four months of twice-weekly Latin dancing, researchers found: Dancers walked faster and were more physically active during their leisure time than before they started dancing. Dancers completed a 400-meter walk in just under 392 seconds compared with almost 430 seconds at the start of the study. Leisure physical activity rose from 650 minutes to nearly a total of 818 minutes per week. Those in the health education classes had a smaller improvement in their fitness – they finished the 400-meter walk in about 409 seconds at the end of the study compared with 419 seconds four months earlier; total time spent on weekly leisure physical activity increased from 522 minutes to 628 minutes over the course of the study. The dance program is a program called BAILAMOS©, a culturally-tailored, community-based lifestyle intervention developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago by David X. Marquez and Miguel Mendez, included four different dance styles — merengue, bachata, cha-cha and salsa – led by the dance instructor, with more complex choreography as the program progressed. Increasing physical activity is [...]