Monday, March 24, 2014

Ballroom Dance Etiquette 101







Are you new to the ballroom dancing scene and are unsure of the right way to dress, interact with other dancers, work the floor, prepare for competitions? You do not need to worry, ballroom dance etiquette is certainly not rocket science but there are a few rules and pieces of advice to help you be a success!

1. Have Good Hygiene: 
It seems self explanatory but is very important. Make sure to use deodorant, body spray, breath mints and anything else in your arsenal to make sure that it would be pleasant for another person to remain in close proximity to you. It is best to avoid heavy perfumes and hair styling products with strong smells as they make make your partner uncomfortable or ill. 

2. Observe the Dress Code:
First and foremost your clothing should be comfortable and suitable for dancing. Your attire should also be appropriate for the occasion:

Informal: Nice casual attire that you would wear to an upscale event.

Semiformal: Men should wear coat and tie for men. Women should wear a dress of any length.

Formal: Men should wear a dress suit or tuxedo. Women should wear a dress of any length.
Black-tie formal: Men should wear a tuxedo or white dinner jacket. Women should wear a long dress.
Competition: As a competitor, dancers should discuss costume options with their partner and instructor. As a spectator, semiformal attire should be observed. 

3. Ask Others to Dance:
While it may feel awkward or scary to ask someone to dance, you need to remember that this is not a typical social situation and people who ballroom dance are there to do one thing: ballroom dance. This means that it is not likely that you will be turned down, unless the other person has a good reason for it. In the same vein, try your best not turn someone down if they asked you to dance. If you do turn down a request to dance, it is polite to give a reason. It is all right to say that you are “resting” “sitting out”, or that you are “not familiar with this particular dance”. If you would like, you can also warn them that you are a “beginner”. It is considered very rude to turn down one person and then accept another invitation during the same dance number.
There are also no complicated pick up lines required, you can simply ask “May I have this dance?” or “Shall we dance?” At Fred Astaire, we then escort our lady to the dance floor by offering an arm. Ladies, the same philosophy applies to you, in ballroom dancing it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask a man to dance. At the conclusion of a dance it is polite to thank you partner, and the man should escort the woman back to her seat, even if she asked him to dance.
Be sociable, nice and smile. Introduce yourself to your partner right away and make eye contact. While these are very simple and basic social skills, they will take you a long way in ballroom dancing. By being open, warm, and focusing on learning while having a good time instead of stressing out about imperfections in your dance skills, you will ensure that people will want to dance with you again. 

4. Follow Floor Etiquette:
If you are just starting out, it is especially important for you to learn to observe the line of dance. In traveling dances such as waltz, tango, foxtrot, samba, Viennese waltz, and quickstep, couples always move counterclockwise on the floor. Faster, more experienced dancers should always be in the outermost lane, intermediate dancers in the middle lane and inexperienced dancers in the center of the ballroom. By following this placement you will ensure your own safety, prevent collisions and save yourself a lot of stress.
When you are just starting to dance, collisions on the dance floor can be the cause of stress and anxiety. All you need to remember is that when you get more than two people out on the dance floor, collisions sometimes can happen and there are a few simple things you can do to prevent them. As a rule of thumb, paying attention to other couples around you and not panicking if you see a couple moving in too close, should keep you and your partner safe. Ladies, if you notice another couple about to collide into you and your partner, simply tap your partner gently on the shoulder. This will signal for him to move you in a different direction. It is important to remain calm and not grab your partner, as this may startle him, making the collision inevitable. If you happen to step on (or bump into) anyone, apologize to all partners involved, make sure that everyone is OK, and proceed with the dance.

When you are just starting to dance, collisions on the dance floor can be the cause of stress and anxiety. All you need to remember is that when you get more than two people out on the dance floor, collisions sometimes can happen and there are a few simple things you can do to prevent them. As a rule of thumb, paying attention to other couples around you and not panicking if you see a couple moving in too close, should keep you and your partner safe. Ladies, if you notice another couple about to collide into you and your partner, simply tap your partner gently on the shoulder. This will signal for him to move you in a different direction. Its important to remain calm and not grab your partner, as this may startle him, making the collision inevitable. If you happen to step on (or bump into) anyone, apologize to all partners involved, make sure that everyone is OK, and proceed with the dance.
No matter how careful or skilled of a dancer you may be, it is important to adapt a lighthearted attitude toward accidents on the dance floor. Chances are that once in a while they will happen! You may end up dancing with someone who is not such a great lead/follow, someone may step on your feet or you may get an odd shove on a very crowded dance floor. Don’t get angry.Take it with a smile and go on dancing!
- See more at: http://www.ballroomdance.co/ballroom-etiquette/#sthash.cOLcuy46.dpuf

5.  Respect Personal Space:
While ballroom dancing is passionate, sexy and provocative by nature it does not mean that accepting or asking someone for a dance imply personal/romantic interest. It is very important for both men and women to be aware of and maintain this personal boundary. You do not want to run the risk of offending someone or embarrassing yourself. In the spirit of not crossing boundaries, kissing a woman’s hand or any other part of her body without her permission or invitation to do so can easily be considered a serious invasion of her personal space and even sexual harassment. Both men and women should think of each dance as brief light conversation at a party where they will then move on to the next chat.

Make sure to use deodorant, body spray, breath mints and anything else in your arsenal to make sure that it would be pleasant for another person to remain in close proximity to you. It is best to avoid heavy perfumes and hair styling products with strong smells. - See more at: http://www.ballroomdance.co/ballroom-etiquette/#sthash.cOLcuy46.dpuf

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another Circus, Another Show...

Freddy Ball 2014 was certainly something to behold. The luxury of the Hyatt hotel, the always great music from Rick Pop, and the breathtaking dancing on all levels region wide.


For those of you who were a part, thank you. Such an incredible event would certainly lose it's "incredible" with all of those who participated.


Now, there are some of your who were not present, ether spectating or dancing. After witnessing the event ether via Facebook, or all of the buzz going on in your studio, today is the day to ask yourself "Why wasn't I there?"...


Being at one of these dance events is unlike anything else you can think of. The urge to dance is infectious, and you will have to be dragged from the floor "this is not your heat"....


Maybe you've talked yourself out of it??


"I can't do something like that.... I'm not ready"
Setting a goal like Chicago Open will make you a better dancer FASTER!
No one ever feels ready their first time and that's ok. Trust your teachers and they will be there for you. Remember, it's their reputation on the line as well. They WILL NOT allow you to go out unprepared, or looking foolish.


"I'm more of a social dancer"
Great! These events are made just for you! Lead and follow will develop, and there is no better social atmosphere than a room full of dancers!


Keep in mind, you can have all the reasons in the world, but you alone know the real one.


Don't put yourself in a box, and don't hold yourself back!
Become the dancer you were meant to be, we are all looking forward to sharing the floor with YOU!

How Ballroom Dancing at Fred Astaire Illinois Changes Lives!

As many of you know, we are currently running a video blog contest on our regional YouTube channel about how ballroom dancing changes lives. We asked our students from the region to create 3 minute video blogs talking about their stories and never expected to receive the amazingly moving, hilariously funny, wildly creative video's we received. We are so proud of our studios, staff, and students for their commitment to dance excellence and changing themselves for the better. Please everyone take a moment to stop by the regional YouTube channel and experience some of these stories and "like" and share your favorite video's.

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9EBecRwUPhJOugnI5P68QQ