There are as many reasons to learn to dance as there are people who learn to dance. This entry, and the two which follow, are written to help you enjoy your social dancing to your fullest potential.
The most important aspects are you and the excitement you feel while you’re out dancing. You take time to learn and perfect all the facets of ballroom dancing; You move furniture to make room to practice; You feel inspired to dance when you hear a certain song on the radio; You attend group classes and dance parties. So then how come you follow the line of dance rather than being a bit more proactive in planning to enjoy your social dancing?
You might be saying that you are doing everything you possible can. You take a private lesson a week, participate in the group class and attend the dance parties. Could there be any more than those aspects? The answer is yes. Well, not really a full-fledged true ‘yes’, but rather the enhancement of those three aspects, private lessons, group classes and parties. However to make the difference you’ll have to stretch your current comfort zone.
Let’s start with a couple easy questions you can answer to yourself.
1. Do you just attend the dance social or do you actively prepare when attending the dance parties?
2. What happens when the dance chosen for a the monthly group class isn’t your favorite dance or one that you do not enjoy or learn?
3. How do you practice what you’ve learned in your private lessons?
Of the three questions above I’m going to begin with dance parties. While this will be a rather easy topic, I am going to ask you to expand your thought process. You do not have to take a steep gradient and do everything suggested, but move to your own rhythm with these suggestions. Remember, your social dancing is all about you and the excitement you have while you enjoy social dancing.
I would like to revisit question number one that I purposes a few seconds ago: Do you just attend the dance social or do you actively prepare when attending the dance social? If you answered that you attend the dance social because your studio is offering the party, then you are potentially missing out on one of the major aspects of the dance party, being social.
My high school senior year history teacher, who was also the football coach, had a saying that I recall to this very day because I frequently reverted to it when I have a new idea. His philosophy was The 5 P’s; Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performances. When it comes to the dance social we should all swap out the last word; Prior Planning Prevents Poor Parties. Now, let’s make the most of the party!
If the dance social offers a pre-dance group class, do you participate? You really should and it’s not really about perfecting the amalgamation you’re being taught. You should certainly focus and try to learn the grouping, but the class isn’t the time to perfect the sequence. It would be wonderful if you were able to perfect the steps by the end if class, but that’s why you should follow up with a private lesson. The real reason you take this pre-dance group class is to meet other dancers so later in the night you can feel comfortable asking them to dance and they will feel relaxed asking you to dance since you’ve already met and danced in the class. Plus, if you attend other dance parties at another studio, which I encourage you to do from time to time, you may begin to recognize some people and perhaps be asked to dance more frequently. And ladies, it’s ok for you to ask the men to dance as well. They are equally as shy and equally overjoyed when a lady has asked them to dance. If you’re uncomfortable asking someone to dance, you can always revert to the pre-dance group lesson you learned and ask someone to dance it with you so you can practice it. You’ll be amazed how many people will be thankful you asked them to practice the group sequence with you.
Prior planning… In our area there are literally dance parties every day of the week except Tuesdays and multiple dances on a Friday and Saturday night. With all these options there’s a lot of guessing and hoping you’ve chosen the right one to attend… Unless you prepare. Contact your dancing friends during the week (phone call, email, social media… You get the point) and tell them your attending “so and so’s” dance party and invite them to go with you or meet you there. Maybe create an event on your Facebook page to share with everyone where you’re going. Use the studio party flyer in the posting or email.
This is also the perfect time for you and your friends to experience and share in life’s celebrations; birthdays, anniversaries, photos from your vacation, new grand child, etc… Maybe contact the studio host to make a special announcement for them or bring a cake to celebrate.
There’s something to be said about being loyal to the dance studio where you take lessons, but I recommend you dance at other studios dance parties on r and a while. Each venue has a different set up and new dancers to meet. The more dancers you know the more likely you will dance at the next dance social you invite them to attend with you. Dancing in a different venue also enhances your skills as a leader or a follower.
Somewhere in my dance career I learned a saying that I use to tackle everything I do. Three are three types of people; people who lead the parade, people who watch the parade and the people that don’t even know there is a parade. I definitely try to be a leader. By learning to social dance, you are certainly a part of the parade. By taking a few simple steps to prepare for parties, you will be out front and enjoying your social events even more.
In the next entry we continue with discussing group classes.