If you can walk, you can Ballroom Dance
Ballroom (and Latin) Dancing has a huge intimidation and fear factor for people. Most are familiar with this style of dance because of television and they think there is no way they’d be able to do it. But we often forget that, like most things on TV, what we are viewing is an incredibly polished performance executed by professionals who have been dancing for years. All of these dances have a basic pattern that anyone can learn. Most start simply by moving your left foot in front of your right foot (well for men anyway, women would be the mirror image of right foot behind left foot). And with practice and training, these basic patterns can eventually evolve into what you see on TV (sooner then you think).
Like any other area of interest out there, Ballroom Dancing too has a recreational/social community out there. A surprisingly large one that’s very welcoming and supportive. A good friend of mine got me involved a very long time ago and I fell in love instantly. We were taking lessons in the evening at MacEwan University in Edmonton and kept it up for every fall and winter semester (and sometimes spring semester) for several years. We were in no way professionals, as we had work and school to attend to, but we did practice at home and were definitely getting better as time went on. With several styles and patterns under our belt we were very comfortable attending social functions held throughout the Edmonton area. And weddings were excellent occasions to whip out a few moves.
And what type of music can you dance to? Anything. Literally any song you may have on your iPod you can Ballroom Dance to. Once you’ve learned what beats you’re supposed to be listening for it becomes easy to bust out a move to your favourite Aerosmith song.
And what shoes should I wear? At first any shoe will do. But as you start to learn more complicated patterns and turns and practice your technical skills, having a pair of Ballroom Dance shoes with suede soles and a heel makes the world of difference as apposed to a flat or skater shoes. And yes, your mens shoe will have a bit of a heel too. I found this really helps with turns and weight distribution.
Several years ago I stopped taking lessons and it’s felt like a part of me has been missing ever since. But last night, thanks to there being a dance club on campus, I was gloriously reunited with my missing piece at the “Try-us-out social.” I laced up my dance shoes and was on cloud 9 the whole evening. There was a lesson on the basic Waltz and Cha Cha patterns, some demonstrations of what the dances could look like with some practice and then we were let loose to try it on our own. This is when I achieved something I’ve never done before. I asked not one, but several young ladies to dance. For those of you that know me may think that this isn’t such a big deal for me as I’m such a social person and I’m always out doing things. But, have you ever seen me approach new people and actually be the one to initiate conversation with someone I don’t know. Think really really hard about it, cause you’ll find that rarely, if ever, have I done that. It causes me great anxiety and is incredibly uncomfortable for me to start up a conversation with a random person. But as soon as the conversation is started, I’m good. That’s why you can often find me hanging around social people … They do the work for me. But last night I was standing there assessing the room, super excited and eager to dance and quite confident in my abilities. No one was coming to me though. That’s when I remembered what it was like to be new at this and how nervous I was learning the steps. I remembered all the great people I had danced with in the past that were patient and encouraging as we hit the dance floor and how easy it was to learn from them because they managed to put you at ease. I now knew that it was my turn to be that person and that if I wanted to dance so bad that I had to make it happen myself. So off I went, offering ladies my left hand and asking if they would like to dance. And I had myself an amazing time as a result.
I also singed up for lessons on Monday nights … Thus officially checking one of the items off my Bucket List (found under the tab at the top of the page). BOOYAH!!! 🙂