Why Every Student Can Benefit from a Coaching Lesson

Bob & Julia PowersContrary to popular belief, coaching lessons from guest teachers are not just for the pros. Anyone- from novice dancers to the most advanced- can benefit from one of these lessons. Whether you want to improve your technique and style, musicality, lead and follow skills, grace and poise or your confidence on the dance floor, our coaches can make that happen.

And here’s why:

We bring the most outstanding and qualified dancers in the business to our schools to give our students powerhouse lessons. Many of our coaches have traveled the globe as champions and teachers, and now are bringing all their talents and dance wisdom to you.

For beginners, time with a coach can be spent kick-starting your dancing so you get off on the right foot. If you’re more advanced, a coaching lesson can polish your style and technique to make sure that you can reach your full potential. And couples preparing for a wedding can make sure that their first dance is one to remember. Need an extra boost before Showcase or the New York Dance-o-Rama this month? A coaching lesson is the perfect way to get “in the zone” and prep you for the event by tightening your technique and style so you really sparkle on the dance floor.

Your instructor will also attend the session with you to take it all in so that they can break down all the information the coach gives into bite sized pieces over the next few lessons. You and your teacher will work on the nitty- gritty details of the coach’s suggestions to help you get the most out of your coaching lesson.

Missed this coaching lesson? Book early to make sure you get the spot you want

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Dancing in a Puerto Rican Kitchen!

puerto rican dancing

Dancing in a Puerto Rican Kitchen

Trivia question:

Name the Dominican dance that is very popular, fun to do, easy to learn, sexy, and could be danced almost anywhere, regardless of how crowded it is.

Answer:

Merengue! (Were you thinking of Bachata?)

Well, long before the Bachata, Salsa, Mambo, Cha-Cha, and other popular line dances; there was the Merengue. This dance goes back to the early to mid-1800s and is one of the most primitive of Latin dances!

Even dogs dance Merengue!!

For many, this has been one of the best get acquainted dances when dancing with someone new.  You learn about how to respond to following the music, Hip action,  and helps you to know how to dance with them in other dances.

Merengue teaches you how to have great timing, leading and following turns, connection and of course Cuban motion. If this dance isn’t on your dance program ask your teacher about it and try it out, you might get hooked. From there, it’s up to you. Take it to the club or to your kitchen.

 

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All you need to know about Ballroom Dance!

Ballroom Dancing

With shows like Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing hitting our screens year after year, not to mention films like Strictly Ballroom, it seems we are all expected to understand the intricacies of ballroom dancing. At Arthur Murray, we don’t want to bamboozle you, so we’re going back to basics to get our head around the phenomenon that is ballroom.

A little bit of history

The word ‘ballroom’ is derived from the Latin ‘ballare’ meaning to dance, and the term was given to the large halls of 17th century Europe, which were specifically designed for private social dances. Distancing itself from country or folk dancing, ballroom was an elite gathering, often held before battle to send the troops off in high spirits. By the 19th century, ballroom dances were invitation-only events, highly sought-after on the social calendar, and many novels of the time detail the customs and practices of a dance, such as titles by Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert and Leo Tolstoy.

A whole lot of style

Ballroom dancing itself isn’t one genre of dance, but a collection of partner dances in a wide range of styles. The original dance was the Waltz, and then the Viennese Waltz added extra revolutions. Other styles under the ballroom umbrella in the early 20th century included the faster moves of the Foxtrot and Quickstep. The traditional Tango (not to be confused with the street-style ‘Argentine Tango’) completes the International Ballroom suite of dances. However, ballroom dancing also includes the International Latin suite of Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive, making a core 10 ballroom styles in total.

Ballroom baloney

Although it might seem overwhelming to master all those styles, each genre has a handful of basic steps, enabling the student to quickly get out of the studio and onto a dance floor. Social dance is non-choreographed and a couple communicates through physical contact, initiated by leaders and accepted by the followers. With just a little knowledge and a lot of practice, you’ll be surprised how smoothly you can spin around the dance floor with just a few easy ballroom dancing instructions under your belt.

Fads and fashions

If ballroom dancing was the thing for the elite in the 19th century, the sublime pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the early 20th century broadened its appeal to the wider population. The rock’n’roll revolution didn’t harm ballroom, as elements of Jive and Lindy Hop were incorporated, but the arrival of the Twist in the swinging sixties heralded an era of solo dance, spilling into the discos of the 1970s and 1980s. Partner dancing however has had a massive revival through the popular TV contests and dancers are now reconnecting with social dances as a great way to keep fit, learn a new skill, let your hair down and make friends.

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Father Daughter Dance Tips

1.  Pick a song that has some history

- Was this a song you used to sing to her as a kid?

- Was this the song you danced to at her father-daughter dance in middle school?

- If all else fails, let her pick the song.  After all, you’re a cool Dad.

Most important thing:  The story behind the song will far outweigh any dance steps you perform together.

 

2. Dance something that reduces stress

Here’s the deal:  Dances that move at the pace of walking, allow your brain to think and converse like you’re walking.  Dances that move at the pace of sprinting limits the “casual functions” (talking, smiling, breathing) of the brain.

Our recommendations:

Light and Casual

       Faster or Fancier

      Breathing Optional

Foxtrot

       Waltz

      Quickstep

Rumba

       Cha-Cha

      Salsa

Slow Swing

       Jitterbug

      Lindy Hop

 

3. It’s OK to get Emotional, just keep things moving

We know this is a big deal moment.  Growing up, you’ve been her rock, her shoulder to cry on, and you’ve provided great direction and advice.  This dance is no different.  As tough as it is, you’ve got to:

- Keep it moving… even if there’s a tear or two en route to your cheek

- Provide support… keeping your elbows stretched and your back straight will give her plenty of support if she’s beating you to the “cry party”.

- Give direction… thank her for the dance with a hug and some words of praise and encouragement for this new chapter in her life.

Most important thing to remember:  Whether it’s her new marriage or your new dance skills; everyone will be crying.

 

4. Stay in your lane

Your basketball coach always told you, “how you practice is how you play”.  Well, the same holds true for your dance performance.  Nothing will get you onto “America’s Funniest Home Videos” faster, than if you attempt something in the performance that wasn’t practiced.  So if you want to keep it classy, the best thing you can do to “Stay in your lane” is to take dance lessons at a (prepare for a big plug) professional, world-renowned dance organization.  Somewhere like, say… I don’t know, Arthur Murray?  Doing that will:

- Teach you how to dance for the day… and maybe forever

- Reduce the stress of anything dance related… or even wedding related

- Help develop a strategy that caters to your time schedule and ability… even if, up until that point, it seemed like a laughing matter

- Eliminates your daughter feeling obligated to be your teacher… she’s got her heart in the right place, but she has enough to think about

 

Well, you’ve done it.  You have helped your daughter successfully navigate through life to find the man of her dreams.  By following these Father Daughter dance tips, then you’ll be helping her navigate the dance floor as well.  However, just because she’s starting a new life with her spouse doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same with yours.  This new “Dad the dancer” persona is quite the popular dude… especially with that other lady in your life: “Mom the Spanish Seniorita”.

Happy Dancing!

 

Some great songs for a Father/Daughter dance:

“They can’t take that away from me” – Frank Sinatra

“More” – Frank Sinatra

“L-O-V-E” – Nat King Cole

“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison

“Edelweiss” – The Sound of Music Soundtrack

“What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong

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How Should Ballroom Dance Shoes Fit?

dance shoes resized 600

Finding the perfect dance shoe can make all the difference during dance lessons!

It is important to have proper tools to improve any hobby. Dance Shoes are specifically made to enhance the dancing experience. Wearing proper dance shoes while dancing will help with balance and turning.

While ballroom dancing shoes should fit more snug than your sneakers or business shoes, they should not be so tight that they pinch your feet or constrain movement. Dancing in shoes that are too small can leave your feet in pain for days.

Learn about sizing ballroom shoes before you go shoe shopping, so that you get the right fit. If you’re unsure of what type of shoe to order, check with your Arthur Murray dance instructor for a recommendation.
When trying on dance shoes , make sure to try on both the left and right shoe. Many people have one foot that’s slightly bigger than the other, so it is important to make sure that both shoes fit right before you go dancing. Consider buying foam inner soles, which stabilize your foot inside the dance shoe. Shoes that stretch too much wear out more quickly.

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Dancing is Good for Your Social Life!

social life

We all know the health benefits of dancing, but alongside the fitness aspect lies an equally valuable improvement to your social life – dancing isn’t known as the most fun exercise available for nothing.

Find new friends fast

Most dance classes don’t require you to bring a partner; instead you are paired with someone and then systematically moved around, so by the end of the evening you will have met everyone at least once. When you attend a dance class, you will be with other people at the same level as you – whether that’s beginner, intermediate or advanced – so you don’t need to worry about embarrassing yourself. More importantly, you’re all there for the same reason, so you already share a common interest. A dance class or club gives you a reason to talk to people in a structured social setting, offering you the perfect ice breaker, ‘do you want to dance?’

Up close and personal

Dancing breaks down personal physical barriers as well as conversational ones, and you will soon find yourself toe-to-toe with someone before you have a chance to think about being self-conscious. Some dances are closer in hold than others, but you need to connect with your partner no matter the style of dance.

Dressing up

Dancing is not just about the physical connection with others, it’s the chance for self-expression. Make the most of your new-found passion. Allow your dancing interest to infiltrate your style of clothing, both on and off the dance floor, as well as your choice of music and love of language or culture.

Grow with confidence

Your social skills will grow in line with your dancing feet – the more confident you feel about your performance, the easier and more comfortable you will be mixing with people – friends and strangers alike. Become an assertive and confident dancer and watch the rest of your personality follow.

Social fitness

Dancing is an excellent way to get fit, and there is no better way to stay healthy than through the social dance setting. Not only will you tone your muscles, lose weight and improve cardio stamina, but you’ll increase cognitive acuity and reduce stress. With all these physical benefits you’ll inevitably feel all-round improvements within yourself.

Natural high

Physical activity elevates mood levels by releasing endorphins into our bodies. Exercise, and dancing in particular, gives you a euphoric feeling which has been coined as a ‘natural high’ for the buzz achieved by cardio workouts. This sense of wellbeing and elation helps you mix with your fellow clubbers, without any need for other stimulants.

The ubiquitous hobby

Wherever you go, you can usually find an opportunity to dance or talk about your hobby. Wedding receptions and other major social events will have a dance floor crying out to be used. Pubs or clubs at home or on holiday will have music to get you moving and any concert or gig will have your toes tapping. Get out there and let dancing give new meaning to your social life.

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5 Steps for a Great Dance Lesson!

5 steps for a great dance lesson

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 (in my next article, I will be discussing the different types of ballroom dance shoes in more depth).

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 studios 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.

Written by Bobby Gonzalez – featured contributor to ArthurMurrayLive.com

 

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