How to Master Simple Ballroom Dancing

Source: http://howcast.com/videos/25175-How-to-Master-Simple-Ballroom-Dancing

The pumpkin just turned into a carriage, your glass slippers look fantastic, and the Prince is on his way, but — dammit — you still need to learn how to ballroom dance.

You Will Need

  • A partner
  • A dance floor
  • Masking tape
  • Waltz music
  • Breath freshener

Step 1

Get a partner

While belly dancing and ballet can be done solo, ballroom dancing is always done in pairs. Ask a friend to help you out.

Step 2

Perfect your posture

Perfect your posture. Unlike casual dancing, a ballroom dancer doesn’t slouch or lean on their partner. Both the man and the woman must elongate their neck and body. Practice correct posture by standing straight against a wall.

Step 3

Position the head

Look over each other’s right shoulder. Now imagine you’re the most beautiful person on earth who has just met the other most beautiful person on earth. What’s that feel like? Exactly. Keep that expression throughout the dance.

Step 4

Adjust your hand position

Hold hands correctly. This means the man’s raised left hand holds the woman’s right hand, palms facing each other. The man’s right hand connects with the woman’s shoulder blade. His hand should be cupped, fingers together. The woman’s left hand should be on the man’s right shoulder, her fingers at the seam of his sleeve.

Step 5

Position your body

Having the perfect “closed dance hold” means the woman is just slightly to the right of the man. This way the legs move between each other and the knees don’t hit.

When the couple is a man and a woman, the man generally takes the lead. In couples with just one sex, a decision will have to be made.

 

Step 6

Draw a square on the floor

Now that you have the basic positioning, learn the basic waltz box step, the most common step in ballroom dances like the rumba, waltz, or foxtrot. Start by taping out a small box on the floor.

Step 7

Practice counting

Practice counting one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three. This will be the essential timing, and the sooner it feels natural, the better.

Step 8

Make a box with your feet

Practice alone making a box with your feet. To make the first half of the box, step forward with your left foot — which is “one” — and slide your right foot to meet it and then step to the right (two). Your weight now shifts to the right foot so your left slides to meet it (three).

Step 9

Finish the box

Now finish the box. Step back with your right foot (one) and slide your left to meet it and then to the left (two). Your weight now shifts to the left foot so your right slides to meet it (three).

If you’re in the women’s role, you will step backward to start.

 

Step 10

Practice counting to music

Now put it together, doing the box step by yourself in time to your one-two-three counting.

Step 11

Practice with a partner

Now practice with a partner. Count off five, six, seven, eight before you begin so you’ll both be prepared to start together on one.

Dancing is a close contact sport. Make sure your breath is okay before you start. Use a breath freshener.

 

Step 12

Move around the floor

After you feel comfortable with the box step, forget confining yourself strictly to the box, and let yourself move more naturally around the floor.

Step 13

Start to turn

Once you’re able to loosen up while keeping time with the beat, try turning. Turn slightly to the right as you step on one and two; you’ll begin traveling in a circle as you keep your basic box pattern.

Step 14

Remember to maintain posture

Remember to maintain your posture at all times, keeping your connection points. Stand up straight, Quasimodo! Good ballroom dancers never slouch or disconnect.

Step 15

Practice every chance you get

Now that you know how to do a basic waltz box step, practice every chance you get. This is just the beginning. Get out there and dance, dance, dance!

“Waltz” comes from the German word “walzen,” which means to turn or roll.

Salsa Basic Step

I thought this was good enough to share for beginners.

Salsa Basic Figure – 8 counts – 6 Steps

Notice that the basic Salsa figure only has 6 steps but it’s an 8 beat count.

  1. Step forward with the left foot
  2. Step back (same place) with the right foot
  3. Bring left foot together next to right foot (you are now in the same place where you started)
  4. Pause – enjoy the beat and don’t step
  5. Step back with the right foot
  6. Step forward (same place) with the left foot
  7. Bring right foot together next to left foot (you are now in the same place again)
  8. Pause – enjoy the beat and repeat (go back to step 1)

Think of your feet together as home base and you only step out of it on the 1st (forward with the left foot) and on the 5th step (back with the right foot). 2nd+3rd and 6th+7th are stepped in place (home base).

Music for West Coast Swing

Source: http://www.dance-teacher.com/2012/11/tybaldt-ulrich/

Hazel and Tybaldt Ulrich

World champion ballroom dancer Tybaldt Ulrich logs a lot of hours teaching amateurs: priests, lawyers and dog walkers, between 30 and 70 years old. “Ballroom is good for your soul and breaks you out of your everyday life,” he says. “Plus, you learn more about yourself and how you work. It’s like doing a crossword with your body.”

West Coast swing evolved from the lindy hop. It differs from other forms because it is stylistically tighter in the body and is danced to a slower tempo. It’s also slotted, meaning partners usually keep to a long, narrow space, traveling back and forth within it. These qualities make the style good for beginners and those who want to try improvisation within ballroom dance.

Ulrich, who teaches open classes at several studios in New York City and New Jersey, knows that though West Coast is easily graspable, new students will still feel intimidated by the form. He breaks down hesitation by using popular music. “People come in scared and inhibited. If I play a song they like and can get them to sing along, they unknowingly begin to understand the underlying rhythms of dance while having fun with it,” he says. “They don’t realize that in my classroom, they’re experts the minute they walk in—with American popular music.” DT

Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Song: “Call Me Maybe”

“West Coast swing is a social dance, which means it started with people swaying around at a party. Taking something off the Top 40 list is really just continuing that tradition. Sometimes you need a huge pulse like this to get a class going. My students always get a kick out of this song.”

Artist: Brother Yusef
Song: “I Got the Blues”

“I’ll usually keep a playlist of songs looping during class, instead of assigning each exercise a song. This solo acoustic guitarist has an incredible presence—a great big sound and a sharp beat, so it’s great for beginner students who really need to listen for rhythms.”

Artist: R. Kelly
Album: Write Me Back

“I like to use songs from a newer recording artist who has an older soulful voice or sound. This album feels cool, not hot. It has a lot of mellow love in it and really takes care of you as you dance.”

Artist: Maroon 5 (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
Song: “Payphone”

“In swing, you’ll try to do moves that aren’t counted in eights over an eight-count song. The accents in this are so clearly on one and five that everyone can hear them and count along. Then you can layer steps that ride through the phrasing.”

Artist: James Brown
Album: Sex Machine

“Most of James Brown’s songs are great because he’ll sing a short phrase over and over. I’ll have people sing those underlying rhythms while dancing so they start to understand the structure.”

Artist: The Insomniacs
Song: “At Least I’m Not With You”

“This has a really relaxed swing—it’s a wonderful tempo. When beginners and intermediates are thinking, it can get in the way of moving. This also has a solid triplet feel, which is hard to find in popular music within the past few decades.”