I know you love your dance teacher. But I understand there're times when you just hope that he/she would stop repeating the same comment over and over again. You know you are not keeping your frame but you can't help it! While you are trying your best to fix those problems, let's take a look at the most typical things that ballroom dance teachers say and see what they really mean.
1. "Maintain your frame!"
The frame in ballroom dance refers to the way dancers hold their arms and stand. In order to lead and follow, both partners must maintain good posture and stay connected by keeping their arms firm and steady. Remember the “spaghetti arms” from Dirty Dancing? You don't want those as you need some resistance so that you can travel with your partner as a unit. To learn more about the frame, check out this thorough article on how to find your frame.
2. "Keep your head up and stand up straight!"
Keeping your head up helps you maintain a good posture as it straightens your spine and opens your chest. And when you have a good posture dancing, you will find leading and following easier, feel lighter on your feet and execute steps more efficiently. Most of all, you will look more confident on the dance floor!
3. "Engage your core!"
As Isadora Duncan, the mother of modern dance, once said, "all movements are generated from the the center of the body." Think about how you walk. When you take a step, it's not your leg that initiates the movement but your body, more specifically, the center of your body. First your need to engage your core, shift your weight to one foot and then take a step. If you are leading with your foot when you walk, you will be sneak-walking like this guy! So, as a leader, in order for your partner to know where you are going, you will have to start with your core. When you hear your teacher says "engage your core, " what you need to do is to engage your core muscles, which stabilize your torso, and move from there. Here is a video that demonstrates how it feels like to engage your core muscles.
4. "Relax and smile!"
Dancing is fun! So, smile and relax! When you are practicing a new step or sequence, it's easy to forget that dancing is fun and not painful. Next time when you dance, try not to think too hard and then look at your partner, enjoy the music and smile. Ballroom dancing is all about connecting to your partner and being in the moment. You will learn faster when you can first relax your face and let your body do the work.
5. "Slow down!"
During speeches, people tend to speed up when they are nervous. And it is the same with dancing, people often move faster than the music when they are nervous. Next time when you dance, make sure to stay calm, listen to the music and keep breathing!
What other things that your dance teacher always tell you? Please share with us!
Voted as one of Chicago Top 5 Dance Teachers 2013 by Art Intercepts, Szewai (C-Y) has been sharing the joy of partner dance since 2006. She is the founder of Duet Dance Studio, a Chicago dance studio that offers Latin and ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance lessons, and BYOB dance parties. Szewai believes partner dancing has the power to connect people and bring people closer. Besides dancing, she enjoys discovering hidden gems in the city, finding great music and making short videos about people and things that inspire her.
You can find Szewai on Google+