What Dance Should I Do?

dancers 3Have you ever been out dancing, a song started playing, and you found yourself wondering which dance to do?   That seems to be an interesting question for many dancers, especially beginning students.  If you’re in a dance class or at a studio party you’re lucky enough to hear them state what the next song will be.  “We will now do the swing.”  No problem there…  You’re told which dance to do.  But what happens when you are out dancing, and your teacher is not there to yell, “foxtrot?”  A song comes on, and you’re thinking, “Swing?  Foxtrot?  Rumba?”  After a minute or 2 it’s easy; you can look around and see what everyone else is doing.  If you want to be the first on the dance floor, that’s a different story.  There really isn’t one perfect answer for any song (except probably Viennese Waltz, Waltz and Tango due to the specific music for each)  it’s really up to you and your dance partner.  And teaching that to someone is not easy.  It takes time, experience, the ability to feel the music, and develops confidence ensuring you and your partner are enjoying the music and each other as well.

After many years of teaching dance I’ve seen it all.  Some dancers will do a cha cha to every single song that is played.  And that’s ok.  They love the dance, and can make it fit to almost anything except the waltz (different timing) and a tango, both of which have very different music.  Dancing in sync to the beat is more fun and natural, not to mention correct.

To become knowledgeable you must learn that certain timing will only work with certain dances.  The waltz has ¾ timing; counted one, two, three- one, two, three- so you really want to do a waltz when you can recognize this timing.  Listen to songs like “Moon River” and you should be able to hear the 1,2,3 beats.  And a tango will become recognizable in time.  For the other dances I like to divide the group into latin, non-latin, slow and quick.  Generally speaking a slow Latin song can be danced with a Rumba or Bolero (generally very romantic sounding songs), and a quick tempo Latin song will be danced with either a cha cha, salsa or mambo (salsa and mambo can be debated as the same dance, but that’s another story.)  Non-Latin songs will enable you to dance foxtrot, swing or nightclub two-step.  Slow tempo non-Latin would be best for a night club 2-step or foxtrot.  It’s interesting that many songs fit well for both Swing and Foxtrot; particularly West Coast Swing (That dance has taken on a new life recently and is a spectacular dance with as much passion as any of the others).  For the quicker non-Latin songs dances that would fit well are the Quick Step, East Coast Swing, Jive, and Lindy Hop.  The tempo will make a difference as well as whether you want to travel around the dance floor or not. If you want to travel, Foxtrot or Quickstep is your dance.  If the tempo is quick you can depend on the quick step or lindy hop.

You can find passion in any dance, as long as it is fitting the music. Feel It!  Move With It! And then enjoy your dance choice. Match movements that work well with the music.  If it feels good to you it will feel good to your partner.  Enjoy your dancing…you’ll soon find out that there’s nothing like it!


cd3005How do I put on my new dance shoes with this strange buckle???


Most ballroom and salsa dance shoes now come with a buckle that you do not manually adjust every time you put on the shoes. This video will show you how you initially set the buckle so every future time you wear your dance shoes it’s just a quick slide on and a quick slide off. Instructions on how to use the quick release buckle.

Ballroom Dancing – Somewhere in the Middle

Tango Dancers

Tango Dancers

It’s rare to find someone who’s not either crazy about ballroom dancing or not into it at all; it’s rare to find someone who’s somewhere in the middle. Either they love it and do it every chance they can or are just don’t like it at all. If you’re the one who is in love with ballroom dancing you can always find somewhere to dance just about every night in major cities like San Diego. There are even specialty nights in some clubs like Thursday tango or Wednesday West Coast Swing. So the ballroom enthusiast is set. If you’re not into it, well, it just doesn’t matter.

For myself, I’m rare and somewhere in the middle. I work full-time, love spending time with my husband who is not a ballroom dancer, and just don’t need to dance every single night. So I get my ballroom fix on Friday nights teaching Ballroom at Seven Oaks Club in Rancho Bernardo…and it goes something like this:

As I’m packing up my gear and heading to my car I say to my husband,…OK Honey! I’ll be home soon after I get a little exercise, or I’ll be home soon after I relieve some stress, or I’ll be home soon after I improve my posture, or maybe it’s I’ll be home soon after I produce a few endorphins, or I’ll be home soon after I build more self-confidence, or I’ll be home soon after I meet people and socialize. Sometimes it’s: I’ll be home soon after I fight the development of Alzheimer’s, or I’ll be home soon after I get a cardio workout, or I’ll be home soon after I improve my blood circulation, or I’ll be home soon after I increase my stamina, and tone my muscles. My point is… it doesn’t matter which words I select to say it, it all says the same thing! I’ll be home soon after I do something really good for myself; something really good for my body and mind. So how cool is that? I’m somewhere in the middle, getting just enough of ballroom dancing.   Do you think my husband likes that I go ballroom dancing Friday nights??? You bet he does!  And I love coming straight home!

Free Diagramed Dance Steps

Ballroom Dancers

Ballroom Dancers

Learn to Dance with Free Easy to Follow Diagramed E Book

Have you ever been to a dance or a reception where there was music playing and people dancing, but you were on the sidelines thinking, “I wish I knew how to dance?” Well, wish no more. We’ve found a free, easy to learn method to show you some quick and slow dances alike. If you can count to four, if you can walk, and if you can tell the difference between slow and fast – then you can teach yourself to dance using a well diagramed and well instructed Dance Lessons Book. We know of the best available, and it’s free. You can learn five different ballroom dances, and at least a few steps of each. You can learn enough to get on the dance floor and enjoy yourself with your partner. But just sitting in a comfortable chair reading the book won’t help – you’ve got to get up and move!

Once you’re on your feet, it’s easy to read the instructions and follow the diagrams, moving your feet as the instructions say. Just walk through each dance pattern slowly, without music, until you can do it without looking back at this book, counting aloud or looking down at your feet. Now, add the rhythm, as noted by the words “Quick” or “Slow”. When you’ve got that down, add the music. Once you’ve gained a little confidence, add a partner and a little practice. And the next thing you know you will be dancing! Enjoy! For your free dance instruction E-Book go to Save On Dancewear!

Music has a fascinating impact on us, especially on our memory.

Dance Champions

Dance Champions

So much we can’t remember, but certain things we’ll never forget.  It’s funny how we remember exactly where we were when certain events happened, like when Kennedy got shot…  And the trade centers on 9/11.  We know and we remember exactly where we were.  Hearing certain songs also brings us back to events in the past and makes us think of something that happened when we first heard them.  For me,  Michael Jackson’s “Rock With  You” makes me think of when I taught ballroom dance at Betty’s Dance Scene in La Jolla.  I would put that 45 single on to dance east coast swing with Tom Fleming, a man I will never forget.  He danced swing until he was 80 years old.  Another great moment was with the song, “Too Hot” by Kool and the Gang;  When Ron Montez, 7 time undefeated United States Latin American Champion, World Finalist and British Finalist, asked me to dance at Maxi’s in Mission Valley in San Diego I asked, “what dance?”  He said, “just come and dance.”  My heart was pounding.  I was just a fairly new ballroom dance instructor.  How would I be able to keep up with him?  How would I look on the dance floor?  What would he think?  I’ll tell you what I think; every single time I hear “Too Hot” by Kool and the Gang I dance with Ron Montez in my mind, and I feel like I am famous! I feel like I am a dance superstar.  Isn’t it great what a song and the memory attached to it can do for us?  It takes us back, and we feel good along the way…

Dancer’s Aching Feet

Dancer's FeetMy feet always hurt.  Honestly, they really do.  Having bunions doesn’t help the matter.  And then when I wear high heel dance shoes, go out dancing, or teach my dance class they hurt even hurt more.  Poor aching feet!  Maybe dancers can relate; maybe you have flat feet or arthritis or stand on your feet all day at work.  Regardless, we’re always open to suggestions on making our feet feel better.

An ice pack can work well if your feet are warm to the touch, which means they’re probably inflamed.  Otherwise a warm foot soak is relaxing and soothing.  Add Epsom salt and then stretch your feet out by using your hands to stretch the joints in the ankles and toes.  You might see where I’m going with this: foot massage!  Really, what’s better than a foot massage? Absolutely nothing.  A little oil or lotion to massage the plantar facia, which is the structure that stretches from the heel to the ball of your foot, is a great idea.  Or even a foot roller to deeply massage the arch of the foot!  Another suggestion is wearing arch supports in your shoes or custom orthotics.

Personally, the hereditary bunions which I have don’t help the situation.  Bunions are deformities on your foot, a bump on the inner side at the ball of the foot which gets irritated every time you wear shoes.  I have narrow feet to begin with, so I always got narrows shoes which made the bunions even worse…

The moral of this story is to soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt for about 20 minutes, try a foot roller, and then get a great foot massage.  Do it often.  Think of the additional benefits beyond pain relief too, such as improved circulation.  Don’t forget to take care of your feet!

What do people think of ballroom dancing?

Latin Dancers, Ballroom Dancers

Ballroom Dancers

I just love ballroom dancing, and have been teaching it for years.  I just crack up when hearing what others think:

It’s for old people, it looks too hard, can’t do it because I don’t have a partner, maybe I’ll do it for exercise when I get old, I don’t have the time to learn, too many steps to learn, my Grandparents did it, it’s too complicated, I have 2 left feet, I can’t lead, can’t follow, there’s no room to do it on the dance floor, it’s too structured, it’s too slow, there’s not enough movement, ballroom attire is too formal, it’s too much like “Dancing with the Stars,” you can’t do it to country music so I’m not interested, it’s one on one so it must be very intimate, it’s for high class folks only, it’s not a real sport, ballroom dancers aren’t really dancers, it’s not “cool” to be a ballroom dancer…

Tell me what you REALLY think!

Let me tell you what I really think about ballroom dancing.  I was a student at San Diego State University and I wanted to take a dance class so badly, and the only class open in my time slot was ballroom dancing.  I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is going to be torture,” just like the comments mentioned above.  But something miraculously happened.  I fell madly in love… with ballroom dancing! The graceful athleticism, the partnership and intimacy makes me feel SPECIAL… like nothing else can.  Dancing brings joy to my soul.  Ballroom dancing is definitely for me, and it is for you too!  You will agree with me once you give it a try.