Learning to ballroom dance doesn’t only teach your body a new language, you’ll also learn the vocabulary of the dance floor. Here are ten terms that are commonly misunderstood.
1. Ballroom Dancing
A lot of new students come in and tell us, “I don’t want to do ballroom dancing, I just want to be able to dance socially.” But ballroom dancing doesn’t just mean dancing you would do at a ball or competition, it’s an evolving term that means partner dancing in general. We won’t put you in a ballgown or tuxedo on your first visit to the studio, so don’t be afraid to come and give ballroom dancing a try.
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2. Dance Evaluation
When you call your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio, you’ll be offered a complimentary dance evaluation. This is not a test! A certified teacher will meet with you, discuss your dance goals, and sample some dance moves with you. They are determining how you learn best and which is the best program to get you started on your dancing dreams.
3. Traveling Dance vs. Spot Dance vs. Slot Dance
All dances are not created equal. A traveling (or progressive) dance is a dance that travels around the dance floor as it is danced. Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Paso Doble, and Country dances such as Two Step and Shuffle are examples of traveling dances. A spot (or stationary) dance is a dance in which the couple finds a place on the dance floor and stays in that general area throughout the dance. Rumba, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Bolero, and Latin Club dances such as Merengue and Bachata are some of the spot dances we teach. A slotted dance is a dance where the couple maintains a column shape (or slot) on the dance floor. West Coast Swing, Hustle, Zouk and Salsa can all be danced while maintaining a slot.
4. Line of Dance
Ever wonder how ballroom dancers never seem to bump into each other during those traveling dances? There is an invisible track around the outside of the dance floor that dancers “in the know” travel upon in a counter-clockwise direction. When you attend a party or practice session at an Arthur Murray Dance Studio, you’ll see the teachers and students traveling on the line of dance.
When we think of dancing, we first think of feet! But, in reality, the upper body needs to be held in a strong frame so that connection can be felt, and the feet can move where desired. Just like the frame of a house, or the frame of a car, the entire structure is built upon good frame.
Connection is the way partners communicate with each other while dancing. Good connection is what leaders and followers are searching for in every dance, as it makes dancing a pleasure. When the connection is strong, through good frame and tone, it is easy for the follower to know what the leader is wanting, and the leader can move easily without fear of stepping onto the follower.
Yes, some ballroom dancers choose to compete. They want the thrill and challenge of being ranked against the other couples on the floor. However, there are other ways to challenge yourself and improve your dancing without engaging in that type of competition. Proficiency events are a great way to start–you’ll only be scored against yourself, not the other couples on the floor.
What makes you “you?” Styling is beyond the basics of which foot goes where to what beat. Styling reflects the character of the dance, and lets you put your personality onto the dance floor. Just as the Tango reflects a different style from the Swing, you are unique and different from every other dancer on the floor. At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we are not looking to create automatons on the dance floor; we want your individual personality to shine through!