ballroom music

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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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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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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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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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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Sets of 8: test yourself on how to count music and hear the beat

Here’s a good test to see if you can count music and hear the beat by counting sets of 8. Flip the radio dial, stop on random songs and accurately count the sets of 8 and know you’re right. It took me about a year of dedicated practice before I could do that 90% of […]

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