Dance Fitness Tips for the Holiday Season

Lose Weight During the Holidays?

 Winter is coming.

As humans we adapt to this climate in a much different way than any other species… we eat chocolate.

How do we combat this inevitable calorie-lined winter coat?

We dance.

Here are 5 Dance Fitness Tips for the Holiday Season.

Dance Fitness Tip:  Eat a Dance Sandwich

Sorry, this is not something you can eat to improve your Latin hip motion (we are working on that).  This is a dance-nerd way of referring to your schedule when you come in.  When schedule a single private lesson, group class, or party it’s like eating a single ingredient of a sandwich.  Stacking them all together creates, you guessed it.. a dancing sandwich.  This helps make the most of your dance evening; you burn more calories, you learn faster, and you’re taking huge strides toward dance fitness.

Here are some examples:

  • The Bread Lover’s:   Group Class + Private Lesson + Group Class
  • The Meat Lover’s:  Group Class + Private Lesson + Private Lesson  + Party
  • The Double Decker:  Private Lesson + Private Lesson + Group Class + Private Lesson + Private Lesson

 

Dance Fitness Takeaway:  So whether you juggle work appointments, hire a babysitter, or block out a couple of evenings a week for your dance program, “stacking the sandwich” will improve your retention of the material, but, most importantly, burn some serious holiday calories.  Dance Fitness points go way up. 

Dance Fitness Tip:  Enlist the Terminator

If you really want to achieve your dance fitness goals, you have to be willing to do something a little risky.  You’ve got to tell your teacher.   Now, there’s a good side and bad side to doing this.

  • The Good:  The moment you tell your teacher what your dance fitness goals are, they will make it a priority.  Maybe the word “priority” is a little too pedestrian.  They’re going to approach your goal like the Terminator.  Same posture, only better hip action.  They will not stop until you have reached it.  Never.  Ever.  Stop.
  • The Bad:  They will not stop until you have reached it.  Never. Ever. Stop.

 

Dance Fitness Takeaway:  Whether it is dance fitness, or the scary thought of dancing at your next office party; your dance (Terminator) teacher loves a good mission. 

Dance Fitness Tip:  Take it to a better place:

Questionable sweets can be dropped off safely, and without judgement, at any of our Arthur Murray locations.  If you truly want to eliminate the stress and burden of delicious goodies in your possession, you need not worry.  We are told that Arthur Murray locations around the world are offering their charitable services for those seeking to dispose of Halloween candy, holiday pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, and anything else dipped in chocolate, drizzled in guilt, and sprinkled with temptation.   We are here for you.

Dance Fitness Takeaway:  Take away the temptation.  Leave it in the lobby and get your butt on the dance floor. 

Dance Fitness Tip:  Spice up your program!

Adding dances like samba, hustle, salsa, or swing make a lot of sense because they are fun, up-tempo, cardio rich, calorie burners.  Think of these like what they feel like:  a cardio class.  Since many workout philosophies these days center around variety, to keep your body guessing, and keep your brain more interested; we recommend pairing the heavy cardio dances with slow, sustained movement dances like Rumba, Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot. These dances will challenge your balance and, therefore, develop your core strength.

Dance Fitness Takeaway:  No one ever walked into a Yoga class expecting to do cardio, or vice versa.  They each have their own purpose in fitness, and the same can be said about your fast and slow dances.

Dance Fitness Tip:  Deadlines, Shmeadlines

The little devil on your shoulder, you know the one who tells you every day ending in Y is a cheat-day?  Yeah, well that little guy loves deadlines.  You know why?  Because he can change them.  Instead, set up your goals and rewards for achieving them around your Arthur Murray calendar.   Why not?  You’re a dancer now.  The good thing about that is those dates won’t change.  You’re attending to better your dancing anyway, so why not add a little extra incentive to it?  Besides,  there’s nothing like enjoying a well-earned tiramisu with your Arthur Murray family… even your Terminator teacher who helped you get there.

Dance Fitness Takeaway:   We may not be able to ward off the temptation of all the delicious things that come with the holiday season, but spending more time doing something you love like dancing eliminates the need for the post-dessert walk of shame around your block in a feeble effort to start a sugar detox.  So while your neighbors are doing that, be sure to politely honk at them, smile and wave as you drive into your local Arthur Murray for some fun fitness. 

Dance fitness: it’s the only workout program where people are upset when it’s over.

Happy Dancing

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finding the Right Pair of Dance Shoes

Finding the Right Pair of Dance Shoes

Getting Started:  Your First Pair of Dance Shoes

 

For Men:

You want an “everyday” shoe.  Something with suede on the soles, lightweight, and made for ballroom dancing. We recommend traditional leather over patent leather for your everyday shoe.

For Women:

The women’s version of an “everyday” shoe must be lightweight and with suede soles.  We recommend an open toe shoe that has a heel 2.5 inches or less. Important note: select shoes as close to your skin tone as possible.

TIP:  With all dance shoes, keep in mind that the fit, in most cases, should be snug in the beginning.  After a few practice parties – they’ll fit like a glove.

 

Expand Your Options:  Graduating from your Beginner Shoes

 

For Men:

                       As an intermediate dancer, it’s time to pick up two pairs of shoes:  Some patent leather ballroom shoes (for your next routine), and a pair of Latin Heels.  Yes, even to this day it still sounds crazy to type the words “heels” as a shoe recommendation for dudes – but they really do help.

For Women:

As an intermediate dancer it’s time to diversify your shoe options:  Latin & Ballroom (*open toe & closed toe respectively).

TIP: Latin heels are part of your latin dancing uniform.  Don’t wear them to buy groceries…ever.

Add a half inch to your heel for every full level you pass. (3 inch maximum)

Make a Statement:  Shoes for Advanced Dancers

For Men:

As an advanced dancer, foot flexibility is key.  Now you will be in the market for ballroom shoes that are “split-sole”.  These shoes can, literally, fold in half and allow for more range of motion.  They are available in both ballroom and latin varieties.

For Women:

Your teacher has recreated your feet and legs into works of dance-art – and now it is time to glam up your shoes.  After all, great footwork is the best accessory to great footwear. So, feel free to add rhinestones, bold colors, or butterfly wings to your shoes (joking).  If you’ve got the footwork, show it off with great footwear.

TIP:  Great footwork is the best accessory to great footwear.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

 

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment