If you’ve decided you want to try something new where you can meet people, get some exercise, and have fun, you should seriously look at ballroom dance lessons. Why continue to go to a gym where you take the same classes, do the same machines, and see the same people all the time when you can try ballroom dancing and have a totally new experience?! There are many benefits to learning how to ballroom dance such as stimulating your brain, burning fat, gaining flexibility, conditioning, muscle toning, and did we mention having fun?! The health benefits alone are worth trying some ballroom dance lessons. Ballroom dancing can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen weight-bearing bones and lower the risks of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
Attending your first dance lesson can be intimidating. Don’t let fear and anxiety prohibit you. At Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Durham, we would love to give you more information about what to expect in ballroom dance lessons so you aren’t fearfully thinking the worst. So, in this article, we thought we would share what you need to know about ballroom dance lessons so you can be prepared, calm, and excited about your new adventure before you begin.
What is Ballroom Dancing?
First, what exactly is ballroom dancing? Ballroom dancing comes from the Latin word “Ballare, which means to dance, and it has been around a very long time. It was first recorded in 1588, originally being used only by royalty and the privileged. In the early 20th century, it became a popular pastime, especially when movies embraced ballroom dancing as entertainment with famous dancers like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair.
Ballroom dancing is defined as a partnership dance where couples, using step patterns, move rhythmically expressing the characteristics of the music. There is a set of dances included in ballroom dancing that are enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world. Ballroom dancing consists of two styles: the Smooth or Standard and the Rhythm or Latin. The Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and Quickstep are categorized in the Smooth or Standard style of ballroom dancing. The Rhythm or Latin style includes the East Coast Swing, Jive, Rumba, Bolero, Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba, and Paso Doble.
The Smooth, Standard style focuses on the elegance, grace and fluidity of movement while moving around the entire dance floor. The Rhythm, Latin style focuses on exhibiting vibrant energy and personal flair, where the couple usually dances in one spot of the dance floor.
What is the Lesson Like
Most lessons range from 45 minutes to two hours and have a structure to them. Usually, first the instructors describe the dance you are learning and then show you how it is done. The class can be fast-paced, with a warm-up, bar work, floor routines, and then working on the choreographed dance. At first, everything may be overwhelming just as beginning anything new, but just do your best at staying focused in the class. If you can’t get it the first time, don’t worry about it. Counting steps and understanding what the terminology means just takes practice. You will eventually start to get the steps and the movements over time. Be prepared that the class may move quickly.
What to Wear
You should definitely dress for comfort when taking ballroom dance lessons, both in your clothing and in your shoes. For shoes, keep to a low heel so you won’t twist an ankle. Avoid backless shoes and open-toed shoes. Clothing should be loose-fitting that doesn’t restrict your movements. Lighter, breathable fabrics are best because you can get a workout that makes you hot and sweaty, and you don’t want to be miserable with clothes that don’t allow your skin to breathe.
What to Bring
You only need to bring yourself with an open mind. However, it’s fine if you would like to bring water for hydration, a towel in case you get sweaty, and a notebook for taking notes.
Ballroom dancing is a social dance form there you will be dancing with people. You may dance with others in the class as well as the instructor. Don’t be afraid of dancing with the instructor and getting guidance from him/her. This is how you learn. In a group class setting, you will probably be asked to trade partners and dance with others. This is part of the experience and how you get better at leading or following.
Don’t be shy about speaking up. If you have a question or feel any discomfort, feel free to talk to your instructor. The instructor is there to create an environment where you can learn. It is a space where you can have your questions answered and experience no judgments.
Move Your Feet and Participate
It’s essential to participate fully in the dance class. This is the way you learn! Even though the steps may feel awkward at first, you are in a safe place to make mistakes. Just jump into it!
When you’re learning a new skill, it takes practice to be better. So, embrace your mistakes. Don’t get frustrated or upset. Enjoy the process and experience!
So, have we mentioned that ballroom dancing is fun? Let yourself be in that space and let go of any tendencies to be a perfectionist. Enjoy meeting people and learning something new.
Contact Fred Astaire in Durham for Ballroom Dance Lessons
If you want a great experience for Ballroom Dance Lessons, contact us at Fred Astaire in Durham. Our professional and knowledgeable instructors create the perfect space for you to learn, practice, and have fun. Call us at 919-489-4313 to get started!