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  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Good Ballroom Dancer?

    Whether you are in a rush to master your ballroom dance routine or have gotten into ballroom dancing for fun, taking classes can get the job done quicker. Yet, many newcomers have unrealistic expectations about how long it takes to become a good dancer. Some think they can master the moves within a few weeks. Others consider it a painstakingly long process. We plan to set the record straight by highlighting the factors that influence your progress. It all begins with motivation, perseverance, and guidance. Let’s explore these elements further: Motivation & Goals Push You Forward The definition of a ‘skillful ballroom dancer’ varies from person to person. It depends on your end goals. Many people will be satisfied with memorizing and executing a choreographed routine. There are a few who’d like to do more than that. They want to learn how to lead, choreograph, or maybe stay fit through these mindful movements. Your motivation and goals are the driving force here. It controls your willingness and desire to keep on moving despite the challenges. Practice Leads to Progress When people consider how long it takes to become a good ballroom dancer, they don’t include practice sessions. Ruling out those extra hours sets you up for disappointment from your ballroom dance classes. Whatever you learn in the studio requires some repetition and practice at home. Otherwise, you return to the second session with little or no recollection of what was taught in the last lesson. That means either you or the instructor has to go through the same routine again (and again). Not only does it waste time, but it hinders your growth too. Thereby it delays your chance to learn ballroom dancing faster. Proper Guidance Every dancer, regardless of their skill level or talent, needs a coach. Proper guidance enables you to understand how each step works and how to move your body accordingly. The best dance instructors are patient and passionate. They give you the strength to dance your way through challenges. Let’s Dance In the end, it all comes down to determination, practice, and instruction. Get into dancing only if you are committed to set aside some time for training. You must also have the courage to continue after a few falls. Once you get through the initial hiccups, you will enjoy ballroom dance classes—not only as a hobby or wedding task but as a creative medium to express yourself. You can then expect to become an excellent dancer within a few months.

  • The Mental Preparation for Performance

    The time leading up to a performance is a key opportunity to condition yourself for success. It is surprising that more ballet companies and schools no longer focus on the mental components of a good performance. However, they already have technique, artistry and musicality to worry about! Dancers should use the same mental preparation for performance as athletes do for competition or training. According to the Ohio Center for Sports Psychology, the following is needed to achieve the best possible performance. 1. Choose and maintain positive attitudes In dance companies and schools, there are usually some who adopt more negative attitudes. This is natural for some people, but it's important to stay away from it. Staying positive even in moments when you aren't pitched as well as you'd like or when you don't get the attention you want is essential to performance. Your mind is powerful. If you get stuck in anything you are not happy with, it will drag you down and lead to poor performance. Keep your head up and surround yourself with positive people to move forward consistently. 2. High level of self-motivation Dancers easily fall into a headspace where we need validation from teachers. This happens naturally as a student - you are young and looking for approval. However, once you dance professionally, you easily understand that it's up to you to keep your technique and push yourself to work. It varies from company to company, but on a professional level, the art staff is much freer than when you are a student. They expect you to bring your A - game and move on without their constant singing of praise. This is where self-motivation is essential. 3. Set high, realistic goals Goal setting is something you've been hearing about at The Whole Dancer from the very beginning. It is COS important and I am silly that she is not a more important part of the dancers' training! You have set the next big goal to reach the next level. Goal setting is an important part of both The Whole Dancer program and The Dancer's Best Body program because it's the only way to facilitate change! 4. Dealing effectively with people Whether you are dancing in the corps de ballet or as a soloist or principal dancer, you need to be able to deal with those around you. It's more obvious as a body dancer - you need to be able to communicate with your fellow dancers to create a cohesive and uniform look as a group. It is not an easy feat! When you dance alone, you may feel like you don't need to deal with people. Instead, you need to have a clear communication style so that you can work with anyone who comes to teach you. Openness and vulnerability are required as a soloist. 5. Use a positive self-talk This is another focus of The Whole Dancer's programs. When that little voice in your head is constantly dragging you down, how do you think your body will react? When you are able to focus on the positive, see what is working and lift yourself through the struggle, you will find much greater success than if you fed on your inner critic. 6. Employ positive mental images View. View. View. Imagine the positive result you would like. See the perfect double pirouettes you are capable of before you even start dancing. There was a particular section of the ballet Beauty and the Beast where I danced like an angel with a series of 3 pirouettes that I always saw myself falling from. Do you know what happened? I fell out of it every time. I really wish I could go back and see the positive result! Let me know how it works for you! 7. Manage nerves and anxiety effectively Whether you do some breathing exercises, note your nervousness, or give you a pep talk, you need to find a way to overcome anxiety. 8. Managing emotions effectively When you get to the studio, turn off everything else. This will be a good practice for managing emotions when performing on stage. Let your time to dance be the time to release the stress you feel. If you can't turn them off, channel it into your performance and let it elevate what you bring to the stage (or studio)! 9. Stay focused Find your focus. The audience is great, but you need to be able to mostly tune in and focus on the dance. If you are dancing in the corps de ballet, use your fellow dancers to get involved in your character. Dancers have the added benefit of music to help facilitate concentration, so use it! Allow the music and musicality of the choreography to keep you focused on what you intend to accomplish. If this article was useful to you, leave a like and let us know what you think in the comments! 😉

  • Rumba

    Rumba, or sometimes 'rhumba', is a slow and flirtatious dance. Some say it is the spirit and soul of Latin American dance. It's certainly a dance of romance and always a good choice for weddings. Quick intro Rumba is generally regarded as the "dance of romance", but also known as the "Latin waltz" or the "waltz with a wiggle". Due to its slow rhythm and sensual movements, some call it the most intimate and passionate dance there is. Learning rumba is not difficult. The ease of learning is actually one of the main reasons why it's more popular today than most other Latin dances (except perhaps salsa). Once you learn the simple steps, the music does the rest. Rumba can be danced to a variety of music, from contemporary to traditional. Here are a few popular songs to give you an idea: And I Love Her - The Beetles It's Now or Never - Elvis Presley I'm Not Giving You Up - Gloria Estefan Besame Mucho - Xavier Cugat Falling Into You - Celine Dion Neon Moon - Brooks and Dunn Under the Boardwalk - The Drifters Kokomo - Beach Boys Girl from Ipanema - Frank Sinatra Basic steps Rumba is usually danced to music written in 4/4 time, with four beats to each measure. The basic step is a very simple box step. It consist of three basic steps - two quick side steps and a slow forward or backward step. The rhythm of the steps is slow, quick, quick. A slow step is danced over two counts of music, while a quick step is danced over one count. Rumba is a spot dance which means the couple does not travel around the dance floor like in many other dances, but rather stays in one location. It is done to music with slow tempo and emphasizes on hip movements (what we call Cuban motion). Instructions & Diagrams: You start dancing in a closed dance position. The man's left hand is holding the lady's right hand with the elbows almost touching. The man's right hand is placed underneath the lady's shoulder blade. The lady's left hand is placed right behind the man's shoulder, flat on his back. Basic Steps for Men The gentleman starts with his left foot stepping forward. The man's steps are as follows: Step forward with your left foot Sidestep to the right with your right foot Move your left foot to your right foot Step back with your right foot Sidestep to the left with your left foot Move your right foot to your left foot Basic Steps for Women The lady starts with her right foot stepping backward. The woman's steps are as follows: Step back with your right foot Sidestep to the left with your left foot Move your right foot to your left foot Step forward with your left foot Sidestep to the right with your right foot Move your left foot to your right foot Video OK, Leon and Kim will now show you how it all comes together. Don't forget to move your hips and when you're doing side steps first pull your leg in and then step to the side. The video will explain everything in detail:

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