New Year’s Resolutions for Ballroom Dancers
Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California
Quit avoiding dances that end in “a” (Rumba, Salsa, Cha-Cha, Samba, Bachata)
Beginner: If you have to pick a few “a” dances, start with Rumba and Cha-Cha first. They are part of the General Ed in any dance program. Rumba is the primer for all Latin dances in the future. Plus, it’s your go-to slow dance, so you can finally retire the old “high school bear hug” (optional). Cha-Cha is fun, sexy, and versatile. You can use it with everything from Santana to Lady Gaga, so it’s a perfect fit for wedding receptions and office parties.
Advanced: Dances like Samba and Salsa are great dances for developing more agility for the dances you may care about a bit more. Up until now Samba may have seemed like a dance reserved for the Brazilian, or the Brazilian at heart. Using this dance to hone your body rhythm, balance, and shaping gives it a more practical aspect.
Send out for a Cuban hip transplant
No, they don’t actually do that, but if hip motion while dancing (aka “Cuban Motion”) didn’t get started in 2015, plan on 2016 being the year when your hips decided to join the party.
Breathe while dancing my next solo routine
Even the top professionals have to be reminded to breathe, so in 2016 make it a point to follow the “3 times” theory. Any routine you have that you’re dancing in front of people, perform it 3 times. The first time you won’t see a thing, the second time you won’t hear a thing, and the third time is generally when your body is functioning normally… oxygen included.
Talk and dance simultaneously… without hurting anyone
This affects the leaders, particularly if it is a new level or new material. Try this – ask a question to your partner while attempting familiar material. While they respond, you can concentrate on your more advanced material. Just keep eye contact and smile if possible.
Call a truce between my brain and my body
These two sides might as well work on opposing sides of a work stoppage, because that’s essentially what happens. So, for 2014, let your teacher in on your struggle and they can compartmentalize the workload so these two opposing forces don’t ruin the fun.
Quit letting my inner-critic override what the teachers, the judges, my friends, and dance partners say about my dancing
Usually our inner-critic can run roughshod on our progress when we lose perspective. To help gain a little, have a look at some photos or videos of yourself before dancing, or when you first got started. What was different then? How are you better now? Rather than beating yourself up over not executing a perfect Waltz Pivot, instead finish the thought with, “but that’s a heck of a lot better than where I was ______ months ago.”
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