“Would You Like to Dance?” Part I: Social Dance Tips for Guys

Source: http://www.ballroommadesimple.com/2013/03/03/would-you-like-to-dance-part-i-social-dance-tips-for-guys/

Flashback

2007, before I started teaching dance lessons, I wanted to end my reign as President of our local USA Dance chapter by offering our members one additional social dance to the schedule. So, we rented space at a local venue, created our music playlist and voila! ~ we had the makings of a very pleasant dance. You might be thinking how nice! Well. . .  it was for the couples who attended. But for the 3 single ladies who were there (me, my mother and another chapter member) it was pretty miserable.
The couples all migrated to the opposite end of the room to dance and socialize. We sat for 45 minutes before anyone approached us to ask us to dance (and in the world of social dancing that’s a “no no”). So there we were, among our own dance peers and no one had the courtesy to ask us to dance. Finally, only by the grace of a “mixer”  (a dance designed for partners to rotate so everyone has the chance to dance) we danced.

Couple dancing - cartoon So, men, this leads me to Social Dance Tip #1: if you are a married or dancing couple sitting at a table with single ladies at a ballroom social dance, it would be most kind and courteous if  you would ask a lady to dance. This, of course, should be of mutual consent with your dance partner. Just one dance, just 3 minutes out of your night. And even if you dance with 4 ladies that’s probably less than 15 minutes out of a 3 hour event.  It doesn’t mean you have to ask again, and it doesn’t mean you have to accept additional invitations to dance from other women, but at least you have extended the social grace by inviting a lady to dance who doesn’t have a partner. After all, they paid the same admission price (sometimes more as a single) to dance and should have that opportunity. I realize it’s your date night too, but it’s a polite gesture and will allow others to see that she is available to dance. Who knows? She could end up with a full dance card when others see her on the floor.

What’s Tip 2? Stay tuned for Part II coming soon.

 

Do you have a social dance tip to share? Drop me a line on my Facebook page “Ballroom Made Simple” or contact me at http://www.ballroommadesimple.com.

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Ballroom Shoes: What and How to Wear

Source: http://reflectionsinverse.blogspot.com/2013/01/ballroom-shoes-what-and-how-to-wear.html

What is the difference between ballroom dance shoes and regular shoes?

Classic Ginger Rogers Look

The biggest difference is the soles. ballroom shoes have a thin, suede sole. This allows the shoes to glide on the dance floor, with just the right amount of grip. ballroom shoes are also very flexible, allowing the movement necessary to show off your dance techniques. In competition, women should wear tan or flesh-colored shoes, to extend the look of the leg, and not call too much attention to the feet.

What are the types of ballroom dance shoes?

The three basic types are Latin, Standard (also called “Court” or “Modern”), and Practice shoes. Shoes should be selected not only for appearance, but for comfort, support, performance, and protection. Some women prefer the closed-toe shoes, because they offer some protection against being stepped on, and they shield your toenails from your partner’s shoes.

If you buy a pair of insoles, you can probably double the number of hours you can dance in comfort. The best insoles are the ones sold for running shoes. Avoid the “gel” kinds, because their squishy nature voids much of the precision contact you need with the floor.

There are certain shoes that are made specifically for certain styles of ballroom. In Ladies’ styles, the strappy shoes with the spiky heels are for Latin/Rhythm and the closed-toe shoes with the lower heels are for Standard/Smooth. In Mens’ styles, the slight heel and pointed toe are for Latin/Rhythm and the low heel, more normal-looking men’s shoes are for Standard/Smooth. There are several variations within each style that will allow you to pick the right one for your own feet.

Latin shoes for women are typically an open-toed sandal with a heel from 1 to 3 inches high. The standard heel height is 2.5 inches. If high heels hurt, try adding arch supports. If you only buy one type of shoe, it is generally recommended that you start with a latin sandal.

Men’s latin shoes have what is called a Cuban Heel that is 1.5 inches high. Most men only wear latin shoes for competition, and you do not see men wearing them often for social dancing outside of the ballroom.

Standard shoes for women are closed-toed pumps. The heel is positioned more centrally under the foot than a latin sandal’s, in order to ease backward movement.

Men’s standard shoes are usually a black oxford-style lace-up, with a heel comparable to regular dress shoes. Men, if you only purchase one type of shoe, it should be the standard.

Practice shoes are optional. Women’s practice shoes resemble a man’s standard shoe with a higher heel. You can also buy dance sneakers that have suede soles.

Sizes

Dance shoes are typically made and sold in European sizes, which are generally 1.5 sizes smaller than American sizes. This is not always true, so check size charts carefully if you are ordering online.

Answers to a Few Main Questions

Ten-Dance Shoe

When you are first starting out in your ballroom training and haven’t yet made the choice to specialize in a specific style or you just plan to dance socially, it’s good to pick out what is known as a 10-Dance Shoe. 10-Dance shoes are considered to be a nice combination-style shoe. For men, they generally have no heel and are a smooth leather look. They’re very comfortable and quickly form to the man’s foot. For ladies, they generally have a moderate heel, a closed toe and can have a T-strap or other variations. These shoes are called 10-Dance shoes because they can be used for any of the 10 International style dances. (This also can encompass American styles, but because International styles have been around longer, the name is derived from there.)

How Will They Feel?

If this is your first pair of ballroom shoes, you will quickly learn why they are superior to dancing in a regular pair of pumps or men’s dress shoes. Your feet will be well-supported and you will find that you have a wider range of motion in them. The shank of a ballroom shoe does not extend all the way to the tip like in a regular pair of walking shoes so you will be able to flex and point to your fullest range of motion. As you continue in your dance training, you may find that you would like to specialize in either Latin/Rhythm or Standard/Smooth and you will probably want a pair of shoes to support that style; however, in the meantime, the 10-Dance shoe will serve you well.

I’ve worn them a few times and they’ve gotten so slippery. Can I do anything to treat them?

You should invest in a shoe brush. Shoe brushes cost almost nothing and they can work wonders on the soles of your shoes. If you have worn the suede down a little, just take the brush and scrub it back and forth a few times along the part of the shoe where the ball of your foot tends to go. If you’re in men’s shoes, scrub the heel gently as well. This is a good temporary fix but after several months of dancing in them, you will find that scrubbing doesn’t do the trick anymore and the soles are shiny. You can take the shoes to be re-soled at a specialty shop or a cobbler’s shop. It costs about $25 to do it so it’s a worthwhile investment to get several more months out of the shoes instead of buying new ones.

Maintaining Your Dance Shoes

Heel Protectors perform three important tasks: they protect the floor, they give you more traction, and they protect the heels of your shoes. The little heel tips on your shoes wear out quickly, and replacing them will cost $5 or more. When they wear out, they expose the nail that attaches them to the shoe. Plastic heel protectors will prolong the life of your shoes (and your investment.)

Shoe Brush: Suede soles lose their nap after a couple of months (more often if you wear them outside of the ballroom). Buy a steel-bristled shoe brush with a handle to refresh the nap in your shoes. These are available at dance shoe vendors, or you can buy a steel “file brush” from a hardware store (the kind used to clean the grit out of files). Be sure to get a handle with a good grip, to prevent damage to your skin from contact with sharp bristles.

Scotchguard: Ladies, if you buy satin shoes, use some Scotch Guard or other fabric protector on them before you wear them. They are very difficult to clean once they get dirty.

Where to Buy Dance Shoes

If you can’t find a good store in person, your instructor can recommend some online stores.

Vegan Dance Shoes

There are vegan options, that have no leather nor animal products. Generally speaking, these are available on the internet by special order. Most have hard rubber soles, but there are some that have a pseudo-suede sole made from synthetic materials. PETA’s website has several recommendations.

13 Ways to Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet

Source: http://www.dancespirit.com/2013/01/13-ways-to-make-2013-your-best-year-yet/

What’s your dance goal for 2013? Whether it’s finally nailing a quadruple pirouette, making your studio’s senior competition team or booking your dream job, DS is determined to help you get there. So we asked a few of our favorite industry insiders, “What can dancers do to have the best year ever?” Here’s what they had to say.

Amanda Lea LaVergne as Sandy with Derek Keeling as Danny Zuko in the Broadway revival of Grease

1. “Be fearless. I spent years terrified I’d make a mistake. But I didn’t realize I was boxing myself in. You will mess up—that’s life. Take a chance. Be ‘strong and wrong’ instead of sticking to what’s safe.” —Amanda Lea LaVergne, dancer in Annie the Musical

2. “See everything you can. Art exhibits, concerts, movies—they give you food for your mind. Then, share what inspires you. That’s how art evolves.” —Caroline Fermin, Gallim Dance

3. “Be versatile now to work more later. Dancers do steps; true artists rock people’s souls. You can make a beautiful black and white painting, but adding color makes it a masterpiece. Add new colors to your palette by learning every style you can. Eventually you’ll have a rainbow of choices to pull from.” —William Wingfield, “So You Think You Can Dance”

4. “Nourish your body with good foods, quench it with water, test it to its limits and rest it when it asks for it. Your body is your greatest asset, but it can be your biggest weakness if you don’t treat it kindly. Take care of it.” —AL

5. “Make a plan of action. Carve out a road map with your agent to achieve your goals in 2013. If you’re not represented, ask an established dancer to share his or her path with you. That will give you insight into what steps to take.” —JC Gutierrez, dance and on-camera director at McDonald Selznick Associates

Keenan Kampa (Gene Schiavone)

6. “Present yourself well in class and rehearsal. Be clean, smell nice and be comfortable in what you’re wearing. It makes such a difference.” —Keenan Kampa, Maryinsky Ballet

7. “Incorporate a yoga class into your schedule. You’ll feel balanced and connected to your breath.” —Tyce Diorio, choreographer

8. “Read the news. Keep your mind sharp and stimulated. Knowing what’s happening all over the world puts everything in perspective.” —KK

Zoey Anderson (Vanessa Millecam Photography)

9. “Don’t worry about other dancers. If you keep working on yourself and stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll progress faster. Plus, you’ll have more fun!” —Zoey Anderson, dance major at Marymount Manhattan College

10. “Research dance history. Look up dancers from film, Broadway, etc., and study what made them great. That was helpful for me as a teenager, and I still do it today.” —TD

11. “Find something besides dance that brings you joy. Every experience you have furthers who you are as an artist.” —Ryan Steele, Specs in Newsies on Broadway

12. “Try new, crazy things. Go to that audition, learn that difficult move or take that Bollywood class. Sitting back, waiting and wishing will get you nowhere.” —ZA

13. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but it’s important to take some time to have fun.” —JG

Killer heels and Gangnam Style dance moves

Source: http://fitnessblogger.net/killer-heels-and-gangnam-style-dance-moves/

Christmas heels cause dance floor dislocations

KILLER heels, Gangnam Style dance moves and lots of alcohol will lead to a surge of injuries this party season, says a leading physiotherapist.

David Roberts, managing director of David Roberts Physiotherapy, says the festive season always brings an increase in ankle, knee and back injuries and the current fashion for killer heels and daring Psy-inspired dance moves will see injuries rise this year.

Inspired by everyone from Strictly Come Dancing to Rihanna, men and women are being more daring on the dance floor than ever before.

“It’s a tricky combination, especially when you throw in a little bit of Dutch courage. The guys want to move like Psy and the girls like Beyonce! Dance floor dislocation is not as crazy as it sounds.”

Dave says the ten most common dance-related injuries his team will come across this festive season are:

1) Tango tendonitis

Generally affects the Achilles tendons and knees, caused by repetitive up and down movements

2) Conga calf

Usually suffered by groups of people after over exuberant twists and turns whilst hanging on to each other

3) Jive spine

Usually suffered when ” Dad dancing ” – men trying to lift their dance partners off the ground

4) Rumba Lumbar

Localised pain in the lower back caused by jerky pelvic rotations

5) Brent elbow

Usually suffered by men after imitating their comedy hero

6) Latin Lurch

Similar to Rumba wrench

7) Cha Cha knee

Caused by repeated and abrupt twists and turns and basically just “going for it”

8) Hip Hop hip

A recent phenomenon experienced by aging street dancers

9) Ankle twist and shout 

Mainly caused by killer heels – can also happen when stepping off the kerb on the way home.

10) Salsa sprain 

Affect all muscle groups, generally caused by dancing all night long !

We want people to have fun this Christmas

“We want people to have fun this Christmas but you must be aware that a few sensible measures after a party injury could ensure you don’t end up with long-term injuries” adds Roberts.

Did You Know… Each foot has 26 major bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons!

Top tips to treat party prangs

1. Rest and call for help to get you home or to your GP
2. Place a bag of ice over the injured part for about 20 minutes – there will be plenty behind the bar!
3. Wrap a bandage/ towel around the ice to provide compression to the injury
4. Elevate the injured part – knee, ankle especially, so your toes are above your nose.

“If an injury or niggle doesn’t go away after a week then I’d strongly advise a trip to the physio to get you moving on the dance floor again!”