ballroom dancing

Ballroom dance like Steve Martin

One of my fave ballroom dance scenes is a bit from Saturday Night Live by Steve Martin and Gilda Radner called “Dancing in the Dark.” It’s a parody of a romantic Hollywood dance, like a foxtrot from a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie. Many elements help create a good dance, things like rhythm, timing, […]

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Where to learn: how to hear the beat of music

You will not find a class on hearing the beat of music (if you teach a class in that, throw me an email, we should talk). It’s rarely touched upon in ballroom dance classes. You must learn the beat on your own. Don’t fret, it’s simple, just listen to music (like with an iPod or […]

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Warning: Ballroom dance classes do not teach how to hear the beat of music

You will not learn “rhythm” in a ballroom class. The convenient explanation is that they’re dance classes and not music classes, but I’m not buying it. My guess is that dance instructors don’t really know how to teach you to count music and hear the beat. The only time you hear beats counted—counting the “sets […]

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6 steps to learning ballroom dancing without a partner–really

Some elements of dance, like lead and follow, require a partner when you practice. But some things you can do on your own. For me, it was not until I started training by myself—how to hear the beat, phrasing, musicality, music identification, dance identification, step patterns, syncopations, choreography, improvisation—that I was able to move from […]

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8 reasons to take ballroom dance classes to prepare for your wedding dance

  Being able to ballroom dance is just one of those things that identifies you as a guy who can do anything, like change a tire, carve a turkey and leap tall buildings. Your wedding is a good time to learn. Taking classes is the best way to start. Get into the process. Learning to […]

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Are you in denial about being rhythmically challenged?

rhythmically challenged: A phrase frequently used to describe someone who consistently dances off time. A better definition would be a person who lacks the education required to be able to rhythmically count beats of music. (reference: Skippy Blair’s Dance Terminology Notebook) I was rhythmically challenged. Even after seven years of ballroom dance classes, I still […]

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7 ways to practice ballroom dancing using an iPod, etc.

I propose: you can learn to ballroom dance lying poolside, with a cold drink in hand, listening to an iPod. Seriously, you can learn a lot by actively listening to music—alone, by yourself. You can also do this standing on line at the post office, working out at the gym, commuting to work, listening to […]

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5 reasons to take your wedding dance seriously

This is not an attempt to arm-twist you into ballroom dance classes. I’m just suggesting you weigh the costs and the benefits. It could make the whole day go better. You don’t need a big, splashy dance routine. But knowing what you’re going to do on the dance floor will make you more relaxed and […]

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What everybody needs to know about which beat of music to start a dance

I used to struggle with when to start a dance. I would stand stiff and motionless, like a statue, with my partner in hand, stressing over when to take the first step. I didn’t know when to break into the music. I didn’t know if it mattered. I could hear spots in the music that […]

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What you need to know about asking her to dance

While approaching the opposite sex often has its risks, asking someone to dance is routine. A request for a dance is the perfect cover: there’s a script, which both sides follow. You don’t have to be creative or cool about it; just follow the script. Even better, if you’re not a good conversationalist, that’s it; […]

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11 Ways to be the ballroom dance partner women love–even if you can’t dance

First, don’t worry if  you can’t dance. If you’re at a social event, like a wedding, she probably can’t dance either. Nor can any of the other guys she’s dancing with. Then, what you lack in skill you can make up for by impressing her with your character. Be confident, gentle, supportive, humble, generous, attentive, […]

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Fake a ballroom dance with a “basic side step” (video: 2 min., 15 sec.)

A basic side step will work with most kinds of dance music, from foxtrot and rumba, to salsa and swing, to unfamiliar music (this video goes with the book so it’s also posted on the Freebie Video page): Here are two reasons why, if you need a crash course in ballroom dancing, you should learn […]

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Survive a ballroom dance with “single rhythm” (video: 2 min., 41 sec.)

Single rhythm, one weight change in two beats of music (e.g., a STEP HOLD or a SIDE TOUCH, no weight change on the HOLD or the TOUCH), can be a lifesaver when you’re ballroom dancing (this video goes with the book so it’s also posted on the Freebie Video page): Doing all single rhythm is […]

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Counting 32-beat major phrases (video: 6 min, 40 sec.)

Phrasing in ballroom dancing is an intermediate-level concept but I beg you, O Humble Beginner, to begin actively listening for the major phrases in all music (this video goes with the book so it’s also posted on the Freebie Video page): This will help you to hear the sets of 8, hence, how to hear […]

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New videos – how to count music and hear the beat

I’ve posted some new instructional video clips in recent weeks. (They’re the videos that go with the book so they’re also posted on the Freebie Video page.) The two below help with how to count music and hear the beat. First, there’s counting sets of 8: I’d guess that over 80% (probably over 90%–I don’t […]

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Ballroom book and blog

I relaunched my website/blog—the thing you’re reading—this week on a new platform. I know, it looks a little dreary at the moment. It’ll be under construction for a few months so I’ll try to spruce it up. Hang tight. My book is finally finished …[pop champagne corks]… Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing: Ace […]

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Beware of tempo

I have an issue with tempo. I went through a long period where I could dance okay in class but I was terrible at a social dance. Some of that had to do with a lack of familiar partners (read: my leading sucked and partners at a dance were not familiar with the step patterns […]

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