How to Learn Ballroom Dancing
Ballroom Dancing has many advantages: it is very enjoyable, helps to develop your romantic relationships, and is a great way to get fit. Of course, you could always just go out onto the dance floor and sway back and forth - but to ballroom dance properly requires you to learn the various dance styles. These are some of the ways that you can do that.
The Waltz - Most Romantic of Ballroom Dances
Method 1: Learn From a Friend
If you have a friend who is proficient in ballroom dancing he/she might be able and willing to teach you.
It's free! (Unless your friend is really mean!)
You can probably fit it in to whatever time slots you have available.
While you are learning, you will be developing your relationship with your friend.
If your friend has bad dancing habits, he/she will pass them on to you.
Just because your friend is a good dancer, it doesn't mean that he/she will be a good teacher. If your friend lacks the patience and skill to teach effectively, it could be a highly frustrating experience for both of you.
If either of you is married to someone else, the green-eyed monster of jealousy could poke its nasty little head up.
Be sure you know your friend VERY well before you enter into this kind of arrangement.
Method 2: Learn From a Book
You can find books that will teach you the basics of almost every style of ballroom dancing known. They include photos or diagrams of the various positions, and some even have charts showing where the feet should be placed for each step of the dance.
It's inexpensive, or even free if you borrow the book from a library or a friend.
You can learn in the privacy of your own home.
You can learn at your own pace (unless you have a deadline for returning the book.)
This is probably the worst way to learn to dance, simply because words on a page cannot convey music or movement.
There is no-one to tell you if you're doing it wrong.
Those charts can be dreadfully difficult to follow!
If there is absolutely no other way for you to learn to dance, a book is better than nothing. But if you are serious about learning, try to find an alternative.
Watching the energy displayed here, it's no wonder they call it DanceSPORT!
Method 3: Just Go to Dances
At some dances, particularly those held in country areas, the compere will give a brief rundown of the steps before each dance. If you can find one of these, it might be enough to get you started.
It's inexpensive - just the cost of entry to the dance (and maybe a plate of goodies for supper.)
It's informal and fun.
You will meet new people and make new friends.
Of necessity, the instruction given is extremely basic. It might be enough to get you onto the dance floor, but it won't take you beyond the level of a very rank beginner.
Many of those who run such dances are not really ballroom dance experts themselves, and like your friends it is possible that they will teach you their own bad habits.
If you are the shy type, just going to a gathering where you know no-one might be a major hurdle in itself, without the potential embarrassment of trying to dance.
Go to dances for a social outing, if you are so inclined, but learn to dance somewhere else.
Method 4: Join a Group Class
Many dancing schools offer group classes for all ages from kindergarten to pensioners. They also cover all experience levels, so whether you are totally new to the dance floor, or wear out a pair of dancing shoes every few months, you are sure to find one that suits you.
The classes are taught by professionals, so you will not learn any bad habits (at least, not to do with dancing.)
In most cases you don't need to have your own partner, the instructor will pair you up with someone in the class. (But be warned, there are generally more women than men, so if you are female you might end up dancing with another girl - and even taking the male role!)
If you make mistakes, the instructor will be able to correct them before they become ingrained.
There is a cost, though not as much as private lessons.
You have to fit in with the class time schedule, which may or may not fit your personal schedule.
You have to move at the class pace. If you are a quicker or slower learner than others, you might find yourself either bored and frustrated as you wait for them to catch up, or running behind trying to keep pace.
A group class can be an excellent way to learn ballroom dancing, if you are able to handle a few inconveniences.
Sexy and Sultry, the Tango Sizzles
Method 5: Get Private Tuition
Private tuition is the most expensive way to learn ballroom dancing, but if you can afford it you will probably find it is the most effective.
You get one-on-one attention from the instructor.
Your lessons are held in private, so nobody (except your instructor) sees if you make a fool of yourself.
You can work at your own pace, getting more help with the steps/movements that you find most difficult.
It is expensive!
Although there is more time flexibility than with a group class, you will still have to fit in to the instructor's schedule, and you will need to be available at the same time every week.
As with learning from a friend, if you are married your husband/wife might come to resent the time you spend in private in the arms of another man/woman.
If you can get past the few disadvantages, private tuition will certainly give you the best ballroom dancing education.
Young couples talk about their ballroom dancing experience.
Method 6: Learn by Video
There are now some excellent ballroom dancing videos available, in which professional dancers demonstrate the various styles, and take you step-by-step through the process of mastering them.
You learn in the privacy of your own home.
You learn in your own time, at your own pace, and can re-watch the videos over and over till you fully grasp the moves.
You need to find a partner to learn with you (ballroom dancing alone can be somewhat difficult!)
You do not have the opportunity to ask questions.
If you make a mistake, there is no-one to correct you.
Learning by video can be a good, middle-road option.
Summing it All Up
I hope this has given you an opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of the various ways to learn ballroom dancing. In practice, probably the best option is to combine several of these. For example, you might like to join a group class, but also purchase some videos that you can use to hone your skills at home. Then you might want to go to dances, where you can practice some more.
Once you are reasonably skilled, you might even want to take on teaching one of your friends - the best way to master any skill is to teach it to someone else!
Whichever method you choose, or even if you just decide that getting out on the dance floor and shuffling around is all you really want to do, ballroom dance is a great way to make new friends, get fit, and maybe even find romance.
More by this Author
It's raining and the kids are restless. You could just plop them in front of the TV or a video game, but there are better alternatives. Here's a few ideas to turn rainy days into fun days.
All about chocolate - its history, production and health benefits, and some great chocolate recipes. Think you're a chocaholic? Take our quiz and find out how much you really know!