Just what is Ballroom Dancing?

Beginners frequently think of ballroom dancing as an exercise compromising different elements in dancing, such as: steps, timing, and leading or following. A beginner's main focus is to "collect" and remember as many steps as possible. To them, the more steps they know, the better dancers they become. Some dancers think of ballroom dancing as an exhibition: to display their skills in front of others is a means to gain recognition. However none of these concepts provides a true picture of dancing. To me, ballroom dancing is a "conversation" between a couple, to music, on a very intimate level. As you dance, you express yourself through movements. Each correctly timed step is like a well-chosen remark. It shows your partner what you are about. Just like any good conversationalist, it takes a good vocabulary and knowledge to make your talk interesting and enjoyable. In other words, the more vocabulary and knowledge you possess, the better you can converse and express yourself freely. The same is true in dancing; when two people "converse" harmoniously, in time to music, it is a magic moment!

As we mature, we discover that everything worthy of learning takes time. Whether it is learning a new language, or playing a new sport, there is no way to become an instant success. The same is true of dancing. Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? Have you ever had the problem of remembering or finding the right word to use? The moment you have to think about what to say, you will not be able to make your conversation smooth and fluid. It is the same in dancing. Whenever you have to think about the steps, then everything else suffers, (timing, leading, following) let alone the styling. The good news is that you do not have to be a born dancer. (In fact, I have never seen one in my 25 years of teaching.) Through practice, everyone can become a dancer. Any good dancer can tell you the main reason they are good is because they dance a lot. So what does it take to become a good dancer? You got it … Practice, Practice and more Practice! Ballroom dancing is an art. There is no limit to the level of proficiency you can accomplish. In dancing, you can reach as far as your heart desires. To make your dancing interesting, you need to have a good floor appearance, softness in your movement, and a pleasing dance expression. The more artistic you are in dancing, the more fun you will have.

Put some fun in your life and the life of others: become a dancer!

Written by Michell Stone,
examiner for United States of Imperial of Society of Teachers of Dancing
owner of Monterey Dance Studio

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