Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why do I need group classes and practice parties?

So you have taken a couple private lessons and now you are thinking about group classes! Good!!! Whatever you are wondering about group classes and parties, you will find answers only by trying it at least a few times. Group classes are wonderful because fellow students at Fred Astaire Dance Studios are very supportive and encouraging.  They have faced and will face the same challenges you are going to and they all started the same place you did.

You think your private lessons are all you need? I am sorry to say just private lessons alone will not make you a successful social dancer very fast. What you learn and do in your private lessons and what you experience in group classes and practice parties are quite different.  When you go to a group class or a party, you are dancing without your instructors personal help.  Not to mention everybody dances differently; social dancers come in different heights, have different personality, style, speed, etc. Being able to dance with any person any style and still have fun is what social dancing is all about isn't it?  You will learn real life dancing etiquette because fellow dance students will not be able to accommodate you like your teachers can.  Other students are trying to figure out what they are doing just as hard as you are so you will be challenged to do your part at the best of your ability.

Think about why you started taking dance lessons to begin with.  You wanted to feel comfortable at weddings and other social events, right?  Well don't let those events be the first time you will ever dance in front of people.  Make sure you practice in the controlled environment.  Practice Parties are exactly that.  Try out new moves. Bump into other couples.  Get stuck in a spot.  Forget everything you learned so do a basic move throughout the whole song.  Who cares!  People right next to you are experiencing the same challenges.  Let those moments happen at the studio during group classes and parties.
So what if you and your student partner make a mistake?  We laugh!  There is no need to feel bad or be hard on yourself or each other.  Go ahead, make mistakes.  You will be a better partner to the next new dance student. Believe me your instructors do not want you to be perfect in group classes, they just want you to experience social dancing and have a good time. 
Group classes and practice parties are a fantastic resource and we hope you try as many as you can! 

For more information about group classes offered at your studio please talk to your instructors. 

-Kimi Mabry (Fred Astaire Owner/Instructor Northbrook) 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A-Day Wrap Up!

Of all of the exciting events that our Fred Astaire Illinois region holds, there is one that provides a truly unique experience and that would be our annual A-Day!  Every year we host a Broadway style show that allows all of our talented students to shine in a different light; stage lights that is! Our Broadway inspired show “Ballroom Blitz” allows students from the entire region to get together and demonstrate a different style of dancing. While most routines are still structured around a traditional foxtrot, rumba, or other type of popular ballroom dance, the show allows student to add lifts, tricks, and even a dip or two. But before the stage lights are lit and the costumes are assembled, we all gather at one of our studios to compile our plans and begin bringing them to life. This year our Burr Ridge location was the lucky host! There was a lot of buzz as the students started to file in being greeted by teachers donning their red, black, and white attire for our “SMASH” themed professional show.  The day started off with mimosas in hand and a gorgeous banquet table full of doughnuts, sushi, fresh fruit, and a plethora of other delicious foods. We were honored to have the talented Steven Knight and Eddie Apolonov there to coordinate with all of the teachers and the students to help find the perfect songs and create a solid vision for each individual’s routine. It was a blast when each student would emerge from their personal meeting with the choreographers and announce what they would be performing! You couldn’t miss it because each time the students would come out they were greeted by a cheer and rushed to the mirror to have a mini photo shoot with everyone. If being in a show or simply having the opportunity to do a custom dance performance is something that’s always interested you, our Broadway Ballroom production is the perfect event for you to live out your dream. Thank you to all of the students and the professionals for coming out for a fun day of line dances, new goals, and a non-stop party. I can’t wait to see what everyone will be performing this year!! 

-Taylor Rompel ( Fred Astaire West Loop Pro Dancer)