Monday, February 20, 2012

To Be a Graceful Dancer...

This semester I have been taking Beginner American Ballroom Dance. I took Beginner International Ballroom the fall of my freshman year, and it's been a while but I wanted to do it again so I signed up. And I LOVE IT. I walk out of class and feel like I am the most graceful creature on the planet, and I almost float back to my dorm.

So, in order to give you a taste of the class, I'm going to tell you the "rules" for good dancing, from this semester.
1. Follow the Line of Dance - the line of dance will follow your natural walking gait. Don't feel pressured to stay along a tightrope - walk normally and you will naturally drift and turn. That natural turn is the line of dance.

2. No Cowboy Dancing - This refers to dancing with huge steps and large gaps between your legs. The natural, graceful way to walk, and therefore dance, is with your legs brushing together.

3. Stay in Dance Position - This is the lady's number one job. Dance position is between the gentleman's neck and right shoulder. Stand there, and you will not be kicked. In turn, the gentleman should give his lady a strong frame for her dance position - he should hold her so that her arms should be parallel to the floor, and his arm should have a strong grasp on her shoulder - his frame serves as a container to keep her in, so that when he moves, she moves.

4. The gentleman is the center of the universe, and the lady is a satellite, the most important thing in his universe
This rule is specific to swing for our class - it helps the ladies judge how big their steps should be, and helps with the natural rotation movement that comes from a swing step. My instructor says this rule applies to most rhythm dances, like swing and cha-cha.

And a bonus from my previous ballroom class:
5. There is not a penny on the floor! (this is what my instructor would say when I was looking down)
My previous instructor's pet peeve was when I looked down while dancing with him. When you look down, your body changes position, and you lose your dance frame. Also, too much focus on your feet will lead to not following the line of dance, because you are focusing too hard. Especially as a lady, if you keep your dance position, you will be lead to the right places to move and won't need to look at your feet.

Hopefully that wasn't to technical for you all! This weekend my class is going out dancing together, so I should have some interesting tales to tell about taking my dancing out in public...wish me luck!

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