Top 10 Rules of Ballroom Dance Etiquette

Sometimes the difference between a second dance and “I’m never giving them a second glance” is a matter of etiquette. Ballroom Dancing, like many other activities, comes with an unspoken list of tips, tricks, and courtesies. Unspoken until today, that is.

TOP 10 Rules of Ballroom Dance Etiquette

Written by: Kristen Perpich

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1. Breath Issues. Dancing is usually done in close quarters. As such, it is imperative that you pay attention to your breath (fresh breath is always appreciated). Most studios provide mints or mouthwash, which are especially necessary if you have eaten garlic or onion or other potent foods. If you are a smoker, you should always use mouthwash and/or brush your teeth before dancing.

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2. Body Smells. If you are prone to perspiration, deodorant goes a long way toward preventing body odor. You should also take care to wear freshly laundered clothing, and possibly bring a backup shirt or blouse, as dancing is great exercise and might create excess perspiration. Be careful when wearing cologne or perfume, especially if you are prone to wearing a lot of it. Some people are very sensitive to scents.
3. The Frame Should be Held in Position at All Times, but with a comfortable hold. Holding the frame does not mean pulling, squeezing, or pressing into your partner’s arm or back. Simply hold your own position and let your partner adjust to you.
4. Be Gracious and Positive to Dancers at Any Level, so they can feel confident and comfortable in your arms.

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5. Have Fun and Avoid Criticizing Your Partner. It takes two to tango (and chacha and rumba and foxtrot), so if something isn’t going right, just ask the teacher.
6. Avoid Teaching on the Dance Floor. If your partner for that dance doesn’t get it the first time, move on. This will avoid any embarrassment to him or her.
7. On that note, Leave the Teaching to the Teachers. Critiquing, teaching, or moving students’ frames around during or after class is inappropriate and makes students feel inadequate. Also, it’s important to be supportive; dancing takes time. Patience with ourselves and our dance partner(s) is extremely important.

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8. Party Hardy, Don’t Be a Wall-Flower. Dancing with other students in class or at a party is not required and can be a little uncomfortable at first, but the more you dance with students of various levels, the better leader/follower you become. WHY? If everyone can lead or follow you, you know you have it and if they don’t, you know it still needs some time or practice. When asking students to dance, try to dance with someone new every dance. Also, it is just as important for a lady to ask a man to dance as it is for a man to ask a lady.
9. Challenge Yourself to Say Hello and/or Dance with Someone New. We all remember that nervous feeling of coming into the studio for the first time and not knowing anyone or what to expect. Simply smiling and saying hello or asking someone new to dance can really put them at ease.
10. Quality over Quantity. Most Important Tip: always remember it is not how many steps you know, but how well you do them.

An Investment Worth Making: Why Every Parent of the Bride or Groom Should Take Dance Lessons

An Investment Worth Making: Why Every Parent of the Bride or Groom Should Take Dance Lessons

Written by: Barbara Haller

So you are about to throw the biggest party of your life for hundreds of people, right? Or if you have multiple children, one of the biggest parties. On the big day, the service has been planned and rehearsed, the photos, dinner, and cake cutting occur and the bride and groom perform their first dance as man and wife. (By the way, we are awesome at choreographing those, but I digress…)

Then what??? For the next few hours the band or D.J. plays wonderful, danceable music. If you do not dance or only occasionally slow dance those few hours can be the longest of your life.

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HOWEVER, if you have invested time and tuition holding each other in your arms while taking lessons with your spouse, those same hours will fly by!! We are in the height of wedding season right now and so many parents are learning to dance in order to trip the light fantastic on their kids’ big day!!

Some parents do so as a surprise for the bride and groom. Recently we had two sets of parents do this, both attempting to blow their kids away. A word to the wise – one of these two couples had taken enough private lessons, group classes and party practice sessions that every faculty member and most students knew them. Then Dad decided he wanted to purchase lessons for the father/daughter dance and we were going to attempt to pretend we did not know him. This line of thinking was fraught with potential problems!! Fortunately we decided the truth will set you free and the daughter learned about the parents lessons before she arrived at the studio! She was thrilled and so were we!

Here is the coolest part: Nearly all of the parents who begin classes find they enjoy the lessons so much that they continue on long after the wedding. We currently have a couple who started taking lessons for their son’s wedding, which was fourteen years ago!!!

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Why? The closeness that good dancing brings to the relationship is sometimes referred to as “marriage insurance!” Additionally, sometimes the nest is empty after the wedding and most of the previous few decades have been devoted to parenting, leaving a void in the parents relationship which dancing fills😃. One of our couples told us recently that their lessons were the most enjoyable thing they had done together since their son was born! Additionally, dancing is an exercise that uses all the muscles in the body, tied with swimming for most effective toning. Speaking of exercise, the pounds tend to disappear as our couples take roughly 3000 steps per 45 minute lesson. We watch people literally metamorphosis before our eyes.

For example, one of our long time student couples brought their adult daughter in as a guest recently and she is now working on her own program. When asked what prompted her to start taking lessons she stated it was watching her mother turn from a mousy, timid lady to an elegant, sophisticated woman, graceful and poised. Need we say more?

Give it a whirl – we promise we will get you ready to dance to any and all music at the wedding. And who knows, maybe fourteen years from now you will still be dancing with us! If not, we expect you will still be using your dancing skills at other weddings, anniversary parties, on cruises and at local clubs !!

5.5 Tips for the Dance Detective

Tonight on the agenda we delve into the world of dance espionage… Ooooooo, aaaaaahhh! We are going to give you all the tricks of the trade you need to help uncover whether or not your friends have been secretly taking dance lessons. It may seem easy, but only a trained detective can pick up on the subtle, but life changing differences that happen once someone begins to ballroom dance.

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Trance-Like State When Music Comes On: Let me just take a guess at how things used to be. You and your friend are driving in your car on one of those long road trips that friends do, you know, like Thelma & Louise (please no driving off a cliff), Dumb & Dumber (I’m sure most of you have a collective IQ over 10), or Harold & Kumar (please no White Castle). Your favorite song comes on and what was at one time a two person Rolling Stones-esque performance has now turned into a one man (or woman) solo with the other person rocking a glazed, out of body-type look on their face. There’s two logical explanations. Numero Uno, they finally realized that you are the weak link of the duo and are trying DESPERATELY to tune out the jackal like noises that are emanating from you. Numero Dos: They are frantically trying to figure out what the heck you dance to this song before its untimely ending! You see, once you start dancing you begin to listen to music differently. You can certainly enjoy songs as you once did (horribly singing along as you make surrounding animal life resentful of mankind), but you get the added perk of going through the laundry list of dances that you know to see what dance best matches the song. The process normally goes something like this: Is this fast or slow? Okay it’s slow… Can I dance the Waltz? No *Shakes Head*, it’s not 3/4 timing. Can I dance the Rumba? *Mentally tries to do the box step in head while music is playing (Side Note: Head may actually start moving at this point)*… YES!! YES I CAN!! This may go on for every song that your friend listens to from now on… So sorry.
Their Posture is Immaculate: Is your once even heightened friend now starting to look down on you? Are they over the age of 18 after puberty has hit? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then there’s a darn good chance your friend has developed a fondness for the ballroom dances! You see, when one dives into the awesome world of ballroom dance, a number of changes are made. You suddenly become aware of muscles you never knew existed and how things like posture and head position make a HUGE impact on everything. On a personal note, I knew I had made a difference in my posture when someone had told me my posture was “dope”… I think that’s a good thing. So if you were once staring eye to eye with a colleague and suddenly you’re eye to chin… there’s a good chance they’re Waltzing their nights away!

 

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The Jones’ Seem Happier: Your once bickering neighbors now, miraculously, seem to be on cloud nine. What once seemed like a marriage destined to live out its days with snarky remarks and eye rolls now consists of random bouts of laughter and more frequent date nights. You see, a lot of couples learn to dance for a multitude of different reasons. One of the MOST COMMON reasons is due to upcoming empty nest syndrome. The kids are soon to be leaving the house and the folks quickly realize that it will just be “the two of us” in a big ol’ house. What better way to reacquaint yourself with the love of your life than holding them in your arms for 45 minutes. Who knows, that 45 minutes may lead to a lifetime filled with random acts of dancing, spontaneous dipping, and many moments of being swept off your feet.

 

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No Gym Time, Slimmer Waist Line: Your one time gym buddy no longer has time for your weekly workouts, but still seems to be fitting into his/her high school clothes. (Please note I’m talking about size of high school clothes, please do not bring back tie-dye or acid wash jeans….please….please no). Are they secretly getting the extra fat sucked out on the weekends? Possibly. Trying out that new “freeze the fat” trend? Perhaps. What also may be just as likely and TONS more fun is that they’re “salsa-ing” their nights away. Dancing burns a whopping amount of calories and is amazingly easy on the joints. If your once gym happy friend is still losing weight but missing gym appointments, there’s a good chance they are burning the midnight oil dancing to their favorite songs.

 

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Your Friend Is Always Inconspicuously Busy on Night/Weekends: Considering the way society is now-a-days, most people prefer to spend their nights at home, curled up with a good book (or binge watching a good Netflix TV show). There are benefits and consequences to this. First and foremost, you always know where your friend is. You can call them up and can pretty much guarantee they’ll answer (unless they’re on the season finale). That once reliant friend has seemingly turned into a ghost overnight. When you call them up now you either get no answer or just loud strange music in the background. They have either been abducted by aliens (HIGHLY unlikely) or started… wait for it… a little longer… a little more… SOCIALIZING!! Wait, what?!?! What’s that?!?! Socializing is a thing where people gather and do things together. Dancing is a great conduit to get together with friends to try something new or just to meet a brand new set of awesome friends. I’m particularly proud of how welcoming and friendly our student body has been. You get to have an amazing time doing incredible things with awesome people; what could be better?
5.5. They Literally Just told you: This is why there’s the whole “.5” thing in here. Not much sleuth work necessary here, just good ol’ fashioned listening. Although with technology the way it is, actually engaging in conversations is quite the accomplishment, so GOOD JOB!! Pat yourself on the back for actually having some sort of human contact. This one usually comes up because the person you’re talking to is just so darn happy to be having a good time, listening to music, and actually talking to real live people that they can’t hold it in any longer and MUST TELL SOMEONE!!