Beauty in the Basics

Happy to see that I’m not the only ballroom technique geek out there! I loved reading all of the comments on last week’s blog post, echoing the appreciation for technique in our dancing. The further we advance on our dance journeys, the more important technique becomes and frankly, the harder it is to apply if we didn’t establish a strong foundation in the beginning.

So how about that foundation?

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Ballroom Technique Geek

Before I forget, I want to remind everyone to sign up for the Practice Ballroom Dance mailing list if you want first dibs on the new products coming out very soon (eek! very soon!). I’ll be celebrating these new residents of my shop with special discounts and bonuses, but you have to be on the list! And don’t worry, I don’t email you very often unless I have something special for you or something dance-related came up that I think is important and you shouldn’t miss.

Ok, on to my topic for today, something I totally geek out over but others may think tedious – technique!

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Countdown to Desert Classic 2019: 17 Days – Go/No-Go

I thought this post would be coming out next week, but the wait ended early. If you’ve been following along, you know Teacher and I set a go/no-go date by which we would do a final assessment of our Open routines and decide if they would be ready to debut at Desert Classic. I was determined to get them ready, as I’ve grown weary of sitting on the sidelines since my last competition at the end of August. But as Treebeard liked to say, don’t be hasty. Being determined is one thing. Actually being ready is another.

To keep you from shivering too much from anticipation, I’ll just come out with it.

(Bonus points to those who can name the movie references.)

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Do You Need More Lessons Or More Practice?

I was talking to another student at my book signing at SM Dance Fashion yesterday. In about a year, she’s taken on learning three different styles of ballroom and has competed in two of them. She’s been able to do so much in so little time because she takes about eight lessons a day, five days a week! The one thing she hasn’t really done is practice on her own.

Then there’s me. Over my six-plus years of dancing ballroom, I’ve also learned three different styles and competed in two. I usually take two lessons a week, and I practice at least once a week for at least one hour.

The extreme differences in our dance training journeys got me thinking. I’ve said before that lessons with your teacher and your solo practice are like two sides of the same coin. But is one side more important than the other? If you’re struggling in your dancing, do you need more lessons or more practice on your own?

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Learning to Bend the Rules of Ballroom

When you learn ballroom, you learn that there are rules. There are specific guidelines on how to execute a crossover break or a twinkle step. There are a million little details to remember to ensure your dancing is “right.” Different styles have different rules. You have to remain in closed frame when dancing Standard. You’re supposed to arrive on a straight leg in Latin. The follower’s left hand hooks under the lead’s arm in Tango and rests on top in Waltz.

So many rules to learn and abide by. I don’t mind actually. For the most part, I am a rule follower. I like the structure that the rules of ballroom dancing provide because I like to have a way to know if I’m “right” or “wrong.” Call it a leftover impulse from being a good student in school or a symptom of my need for external validation.

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