Dismantle the Barriers to Your First Dance Lesson

Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California

Ever go to summer camp? Every year my mother heard the same complaint “I don’t want to go…”

I was scared.

Nevertheless, I’d wave goodbye to my Mom, and any nervousness I was experiencing would wear off before the van hit the freeway.  By the first pit stop at a fast food place, my brain would have completed erased any record of apprehension from the hard drive in my head.  

I was settled in.  

 

Dismantle the Barriers to your First Dance Lesson

The Dance Angle

We are built for self preservation.  This means that we will commonly avoid things that seem to present some type of threat to our well being.  For the record, unknown things tend to fall into that category.   This includes Dance Lessons. 

Yes, even something as harmless as a dance lesson includes enough risk to make anyone’s fight or flight instincts kick in.  It’s just part of our physiology.  So here are some solutions for getting settled in, and on the dance floor. 

What’s Your Story? 

Maybe you had a horrible experience at a company party.  Perhaps you fizzled under pressure during a money dance at your buddy’s wedding, or you just want to dance at a Salsa club instead of sampling every Margarita on the menu.  Whatever the narrative, ask yourself if it’s worth the momentary risk of walking in for your first lesson.  

Hint:  It always is. 

First Hand Experience

It’s easy to tell people about stuff you want to do, are interested in, or researching.  Doing that, however, could just give you more leeway to postponing your actual lessons.  In favor of, you know, all that research.  

Tip:   Schedule an early afternoon appointment, even if it’s just on your lunch break at work.  This will give you less time to avoid it, and everything is less scary when the sun is still out. 

Eliminate the Noise

You may be up against a lifelong myth about your ability to learn how to dance.

  • “I was born with no rhythm”
  • “It’s not culturally acceptable.”
  • “I’m not coordinated.”

You may be up against negativity from people around you.

  • “Someone your age shouldn’t be dancing.”
  • “Don’t you have better things to do?”
  • “Where are you ever going to find someone that knows that stuff?”

Tip:  To aid in your progress in this area, we offer these convenient, myth busting, noise reducing, dance hate silencing articles to silence the critics. 

 

Consider the Benefits

Okay, let’s get real.  You will learn how to dance.  It’s about as sure a thing as a Game of Thrones episode having a swordfight, dragon, or scene not suitable for children.  The real benefits are the ones that go beyond the skill of dancing. 

  • Exercise
  • Increased Happiness
  • Improved Social Skills
  • Adding a Social Superpower to your Online Dating profile
  • Balance, Grace, Poise, and Coordination

Tip:  Even if you are completely convinced that you’re incapable of learning how to dance, you can still try out the lessons in search of an alternate form of exercise, or an instant social skills upgrade.

Final Thought 

Whether it is going to camp, signing up for ballroom dance classes, or going out on a first date there is one consistent truth:  Your body will fight against it.  Then again, your greatest moments in life up until this point probably occurred somewhere beyond your comfort zone.  Whether it was the lifelong friend you made at a camp you didn’t want to go to, the partner you love on a date you nearly canceled, or even a hobby that has changed your life on a lesson you thought you’d never schedule.  

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

 

Click here to sign up for your first lesson!

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Dancing with the Stars Season 23- Cast Announced

Courtesy of ABC.com

The new season of Dancing with the Stars begins on Monday, September 12th at 8pm.

The cast includes:

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Amber Rose: Amber Rose is a proud mother, activist, entrepreneur, spokesperson, talk show host, model, actor and published author from Philadelphia, PA.

 
Val Chmerkovskiy and Laurie Hernandez: Silver and Gold medal winner in gymnastics at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

 
Artem Chigvintsev and Maureen McCormick: widely known for her portrayal of eldest daughter, Marcia Brady, on The Brady Bunch.

 
Sasha Farber and Terra Jole: Actress, producer, singer, and TV personality.

 

Derek Hough and Marilu Henner: Along with starring in over thirty films, six Broadway shows, and two hit classic sitcoms, “Taxi” and “Evening Shade,” this five-time Golden Globe Nominee is also a New York Times Best Selling author of ten books.

 

Witney Carson and Vanilla Ice: Singer

 

Lindsay Arnold and Calvin Johnson: He is known to many as one of the NFL’s best Wide Receiver of all times.

 

Jenna Johnson and Jake T. Austin: Multi-talented actor who has showcased his talent across the board in the entertainment industry.

 

Allison Holker and Babyface: 11-time Grammy Award winner.

 

Sharna Burgess and James Hinchcliffe: Arguably one of the most popular drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Currently in his sixth racing season and second for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

 

Emma Slater and Rick Perry: Veteran of the United States Air Force, a former farmer and the former governor of Texas.

 

Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte: Four-time Olympia and a 12-time Olympic medalist.

 

Gleb Savchenko and Jana Kramer: Award-winning country artist.

 

 

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The Dance Lesson Escape Plan for Busy Parents

Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California

After a 72 hour marathon fever, dozens of diaper changes, and frequent use of teething crackers as a snack item – you need to do something that feels adult, and human.

These days, alcohol, using profanity, or watching an R-rated movie can provide a temporary resurfacing to the adult world. To truly feel like a man and a woman together, you need to do something that allows you some time to yourselves that connects you together.

[Sleep is not an option. Let’s face it – every parent knows that won’t happen for another 18 years.]

You need an escape plan.

The Dance Lesson Escape Plan for Busy Parents

STEP 1: Enlist The Help

One Babysitter, Multiple activities

Do whatever you can to avoid hiring a babysitter for a single 45 minute dance lesson. The goal for your escape plan is to make the most of your time away. Find a great babysitter and have an agenda that includes at least two dance activities, and drinks or dinner afterwards. The guilt may get the best of you, but you can do this. Stick to the plan.

Idea: Many of our parent-students will stack their lessons together. Let’s be honest, it takes at least 30 minutes to depressurize out of kid mode, so – if you can – try two lessons together. Going further – combine your private appointments with a group class and practice party and you’ve got a date night for the ages.

STEP 2: Feel No Guilt. Don’t Look Back

All You Need is Perspective

Look at your non-dancing friends who have kids. How many of them can say that they went salsa, tango, or swing dancing? While you’re driving to your lesson, they’ll be pressed up against their windows mouthing the words “help”.

Idea: Once your dance date night is firmly established, you can reach out and lend help to the distress calls of your other friends with children via the Arthur Murray guest referral program. They may offer you a large bounty of home cooked food or a bucket of slightly used crayons.

STEP 3: Temporary Change Of Identity

Cover Your Tracks With These Dance Aliases

There are certain dances that instantly change your normal parental identity. Need something South American? Try dances like the Tango or Samba. Eastern European? Perhaps we can recommend a Waltz. Need something with more flair? The Salsa, Merengue and Bachata are popular options with loads of pre-children steamy nightclub sex appeal.

Idea: Many dancing parents have their most exciting vacations scheduled 18 years from now. Until then, use your dance lessons as a “Staycation”.

STEP 4: Expect The Unexpected

No Babysitter, No Problem

In a perfect world, you’d have Mary Poppins on retainer and your date night and parenting schedule would be “practically perfect in every way.” In reality, you’ve got to duck and dodge your way through life’s little scheduling jabs and have options.

So you’ve got no babysitter. No biggie.

Plenty of students utilizie plenty of options to make sure their regular dose of humanity-via-dancing stays uninterrupted.

Try these:

  • Split-Shift: The leader goes into the lesson to work on sending great signals. Mom stays home with the kids. After an hour, you switch places. The last one back brings wine and ice cream to celebrate.
  • Ballroom-Bjorn: There’s something about an infant sleeping that makes your dance frame unbelieveable. Load your child into the hands-free baby carrier of your choice, take a dance hold, and watch how smooth and steady your dancing becomes. Celebrations, however, must be kept to a whisper.
  • Solo Assignment: If the split shift doesn’t work, a special assignment works wonders and keeps your progress uninterruped. This is great for adding some extra fun-surprises into your repetoire that can make your next visit together even more exciting.
  • Family Affair: Depending on the ages, and sugar intake, of your kids – you are always welcome to bring them with you to the studio. It’s amazing how a coloring book, snack, or iPad can do.

STEP 5: Multiple Escape Routes

You Have A Unique Set Of Skills, Seize Every Opportunity To Use Them

Parents will occasionally get a lifeline to interact with their adult counterparts. Things like wedding receptions, office parties, and reunions are great examples of these. Knowing how to dance gives you a built in reason for attending. The number of evite.com “Maybes” to “Definitely Going” goes up immediately the moment you have some dance skills in your pocket.

Idea: Load up on slow, medium, and fast tempo dances to maximize your time on the dance floor.

 

Final Thoughts

We have parent-students that start their dancing at many different stages in their parenting life. The last thing we would want is for you to wait until the nest is empty to connect with your spouse. Trying this out while your kids are still in the house can add a skill that your whole family can enjoy… your happiness.

 

Happy Dancing

 

Click here to sign up for your first lesson!

 

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Why Teens Should Learn to Ballroom Dance

Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California

I once had a student who was a young, fresh-out-of-the-box, teenager.

He came with all the normal teenage accessories: A chip on his shoulder, a rebellious attitude, and little regard for life beyond his gaming device.

He took dance lessons with his mother as a form of punishment for bad grades.

Three years, two pairs of dance shoes, and one growth spurt later… his dance lessons were no longer a punishment.  They were his reward for finished homework assignments, good test scores, and completed chores around the house.

How did this transformation happen?  Let’s explore it with the following article:

Why Teens Should Learn To Ballroom Dance

1. Social Skills (Time Machine)

Think of every activity in high school that instantly improves through social skills.  What if those skills are lacking?  That high school dance becomes a death sentence instead of an opportunity.

Ask any current dancer what they would use a time machine for, and 93% would go back to high school with their current dance skills.

Knowing how to dance, asking/accepting, and socializing while moving is like giving your child Graduate School level social skills for high school.

2. Create An Entry Point

Think of all of the groups that hang out together in school:

  • The Jocks
  • The Cheerleaders
  • The Drama Department

Each group forms a type of barrier that is tough to break into.  Learning to dance changes that.

  • Dance creates confidence and improved physical fitness to pursue SPORTS
  • Dance creates confidence, rhythm, and flexibility to pursue CHEERLEADING
  • Dance creates confidence, showmanship, and performance abilities to pursue THEATRE

Even if your teenager never pursued these other groups, dancing is a gateway to many social groups… even the “Dancer Group”.

3. Something For Everyone

With shows like Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, we’ve begun to see that Ballroom dancing isn’t what we used to think it was.  It can be really cool.  So, when your son or daughter decides to take lessons, just know that there are many dances they can choose from – it’s like a buffet for healthier hobbies.

  • Waltz – The Classic. Naturally Improves posture
  • Tango – Super cool.  Adds drama! Not that practical, but neither is tap dancing.
  • Swing – Dance to popular music from every era since the 1920’s. Your kids + your parents = Awesome
  • Cha-Cha – A fast, exciting Latin dance. A big hit on the dance TV shows.
  • Rumba – Where everyone levels up their Latin styling
  • Foxtrot – Whether you are getting ready for a wedding reception, or if you just love the music of PostModern Jukebox – Foxtrot is the dance that fits like a, very dapper, glove.
  • Salsa – The most popular partner dance over the last few years

4. Improved Memory

Watching TV is great, but your brain gets as much exercise through ballroom dancing as your body does.  Combining things like

  • Physical activity
  • Hearing
  • Strategic planning
  • Emotional expression
  • Creativity

Not only does this creates better dancing, but better memory.  Not only for dancing, but for life in general.  Compare this to watching TV or texting, and you can see why this is a big deal.

5.  A Unique Hobby

Somtimes unique kids need to find a unique hobby.  Not everyone wants to follow down the same path as the rest of the pack.  Learning to dance can be the nitch that connects them to a community, allows them to have fun, and grow and develop their confidence at their own pace.

Final Thought

There is one absolute when it comes to ballroom and latin dancing.  No one ever says, “I’m glad I waited so long to get started.”  Everyone that begins this as an adult wishes they had started as a teenager, or sooner.

The teenager I mentioned went through a transformation.  But that couldn’t have happened without a gutsy move on the part of his mother.  It may have been punishment in the beginning, but having the ability to dance with your teenager was the life-changing payoff.

Happy Dancing!

Starting your son or daughter on dance lessons is easy.  Click this link to take the first step.

 

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The Day After Your Dance Event

Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California

Imagine, if you will, you’re a part of a team that makes a scientific breakthrough.  Everyone celebrates, you throw a big party… and go on vacation.

Is there a danger in that?

Now imagine, if you will, you’re a part of a team that makes a dance breakthrough. You work hard, you attend a big dance event…. and go on vacation.

There’s always a little letdown after the big events in your life.  Whether it’s the day after your birthday, Christmas, or a showcase.   The trick, is what to do about it.  Here are five tips to avoid any negative effects after your showcase, dance-o-rama, or big dance day is over.

The Day After Your Dance Event

Building Instead Of Rebuilding

Do you know that it takes more work to recover your dance material than to build on what you’ve already started?

The Trick:  As tough as it may be, keep the same schedule you set the week before your event.

The Perks: There are a lot of people who will take a day, or six, to recover. This is the dance equivalent of running in the morning while everyone else is asleep.

Finish The Transitions

There may have been something that was nearly there, say 75%, at the showcase.  For some reason or other, it was developed, but not completely.  This is part of the growth process – and this is the week to let your teacher finish the job.

The Trick: Your “dance brain” can sometimes get stuck in “Pass/Fail” mode. The trick here is to let your teachers elaborate on what was nearly there, so you don’t get caught labeling it as “not there”.

The Perks: Attempting the dance maneuver in public was the hard part.  The refining of that maneuver, while it is fresh, is the easy part.

Your Consultation

“Feedback” can be one of the most dangerous terms for your dancing.

It is limiting.

Sure, “Feedback” may sound better than “critique”, but it also sounds like the end of a process.  When you meet with an Arthur Murray consultant, they will give you feedback about how things went, and a strategy for what to do next in your dance program. We call it a Consultation.

The Trick: Everyone that participates in an Arthur Murray dance event will have an appointment with an Arthur Murray consultant. The trick is to show up to it.

The Perks: Does your “dance-brain” ever go evil on you?  A dance consultation with an Arthur Murray consultant can eliminate the tired monologue of an evil dance brain.

Focal Points

There is nothing wrong with making a checklist of things you wish you could have done at the event.  This is healthy.  It means you’re not complacent and you want to be better.  What could make this negative, however, is to go to any extremes:

  • Negative Self Talk/Critiquing yourself
  • Bottling things up
  • Pass the blame on your teacher, music, dance floor, barometric pressure

The Trick: Communication is key.  Talking to your teacher, an Arthur Murray consultant, or the management can really help.  You must talk to someone who can help you through this, or you may end up talking yourself right out of a life-changing activity.

The Perks: Often times, we don’t realize the priority of what we should be worrying about.  Talking to an Arthur Murray professional will make sense of that, and eliminate unnecessary worrying.

Capitalize on Momentum

In the “medical breakthrough” scenario, this is the most critical step.  Capitalizing on momentum is so easy with a great book, or watching an entire season of Breaking Bad:  it’s going so well, so why stop?

The Trick:  For your dance progress, it is the same thing.  The showcase built up your confidence, dance ability, and ability to retain dance skills to a level that you’ve never been to before.  So why stop now?

The Perks: Progress is great, but building on that progress, accelerating you to the next stage in your development, and discovering a new version of yourself is a whole lot better.

Final Thought

The Old you, before showcase, doesn’t like all this momentum.  The old you wants to take a break, go on vacation, and hope the pieces fall back into place when you return.  It’s so much easier to build your dancing, than to rebuild it.  So let’s send your old you on vacation, heck, put that version of yourself on an indefinite leave of absence.  The new you wants to build, go beyond, and make the most of this dance breakthrough.

 

Click here to sign up for your first dance lesson!

 

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25 Signs of Dancing Progress

Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California

Has anyone ever given you a compliment… and you thought it was a trick?

Words and phrases like “good job”, “that was better”, and “we did it” only cause your inner polygraph meter to go haywire.

You’re convinced, but of the wrong thing.  You may say to yourself, “there is no way that this [INSERT OCCUPATION HERE] is actually making dance progress.”  Well, here’s a list of 25 ways you can make dance progress, and you can be the judge.  Keep score at home!  Maybe you’ll find 2, 3, or 11 things that you didn’t think of as, dare we say it… dance progress!

 

1.    You’re talking while dancing. 

2.    You have attempted a dance step in the grocery store.

3.    You’re standing taller.  

4.    You are tapping your feet more when music is playing.

5.    You hear songs on the radio and wonder, “could I cha-cha to that?”

6.    You’re losing weight.

7.    You have felt soreness in areas of your body you never have felt sore in before.

8.    You don’t sound like an Olympic power lifter anymore when holding up your dance frame. 

9.    You have at least one dance show saved on your DVR.

10.Those jokes you used to make about what a bad dancer you are seem to lack substance now.

11.You’re not dreading the next wedding reception you’re attending.

12.You own anywhere between 1-45 pair(s) of dance shoes.

13.You have a “Tango Face”.

14.The names of patterns don’t seem so “foreign-language” to you anymore.

15.You have danced with at least three different people, other than your teacher.

16.People at work have asked you why you are happier.

17.Your teacher introduced you to someone newer than you are.

18.You can look up while dancing, smiling is a bonus.

19.You really like a dance that, at first, you thought you’d hate.  

20.Your new favorite move didn’t even exist in your muscle memory 3 weeks ago.

21.Your Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot are getting bigger.

22.Your Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, and Salsa are getting smaller.

23.While planning a vacation, you ask yourself the question, “I wonder what the dance scene is like there.”

24.Someone referred to you as a dancer… and you didn’t flinch. 

25.You stepped out of your comfort zone, decided to do something for yourself, disregarded misguided advice against the decision, and walked into an Arthur Murray Dance Studio for the first time.

If you haven’t accomplished #25, then we suggest you click this link immediately (you won’t die).  

CONCLUSION:

So how did you do?

Did you score better than you thought?  The best thing about learning to dance at Arthur Murray is that every point of progress listed above will develop in your dance program.  (It’s part of the grand design).  Now these unfortunate, life-altering, byproducts of your dance program can include horrible things like:

  • Weight Loss
  • Belonging to a new community of friends
  • An improved social life
  • Improved Posture
  • Exponential amounts of Stress Reduction
  • and many, many more

Now we are kidding that these things are horrible, because they are not.  What we aren’t kidding about is that these are all included as side benefits to any Arthur Murray program. Whether you love ballroom dancing, Latin dancing, or a little bit of everything: Your program delivers progress.  The 25 points are a road map… not your score card.

Happy Dancing

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5 Steps for a Great Dance Lesson

Article written by Bobby Gonzalez for Arthur Murray California

You’ve made the call and booked your first dance lesson. But now you’re wondering what comes next. We’ll help you get started; follow these 5 steps for a great dance lesson.

 

  1. Turn up the tunes: Listen to some fun and exciting music on your way to your lesson to put you in a dancing frame of mind. Anything from Pitbull to Frank Sinatra. Sometimes a mental warm-up is more important than a physical warm -up.
  2. Bring the right shoes: There’s an old saying this is “a good dancer can dance in any shoes”. And yes this is true; but don’t forget you’re going to the studio for a lesson to learn to be a great dancer. Here are my recommendations: a smooth shoe which is closed toed, a rhythm shoe which is open toed, a practice shoe which is more like a man’s shoes but with a higher heel.  For men I recommend a Latin shoe or a smooth shoe.
  3. Show up 10-15 minutes early: This will give you time to check in, change your shoes, visit with some friends, and warm-up.
  4. Warm-up:  In most videos it’s okay to warm up on the dance floor even if there are other lessons going on. Start with some simple knee bends to practice your Cuban motion, or practice holding in your center for posture or even a couple basic figures, this way you will go into your lesson ready to learn.
  5. Take a few notes: Using the notes feature on a smart phone is a great way to take track your dancing progress and notate important tips. See your teacher about how to take effective notes.

Click here to sign up for your first lesson!

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