A good connection with your dancing partners is like food for your dog – keep providing it, and they’ll always come back for more. Last time, we looked at the basics of taking a ballroom dance frame. Now it’s time to get you two moving with a few more all-important commandments:
Continue reading “Connecting for Dancing Partners: How to Move

As they say, the devil is in the details. When we lead and follow in a ballroom dance for instance, our movements combine lots of little elements to create this wonderful thing called ‘connection’.

Are you an ‘armchair dancer’? It’s easy to learn how to improve posture, but do you actually work it into your routine? Like any changes we make in life, it often takes our brain some convincing – and even a little trickery – to build a new habit. The following is a list of possible places and ways you can improve posture without taking up too much mental space. Finally, we wrap up with some tips every upstanding dancer needs to improve posture, and everything connected with it.
Continue reading “To Improve Posture, Watch Your Posture!”

So, want to look sure of yourself on the dance floor? Reduce your chance of injury? Strike better superhero poses? Now that we’ve covered how proper posture can change your life and how to do it, time to move on with 6 common problems that play havoc with our body-lines.

So, now we know how important good posture is for your health, your confidence, and of course, your look on the dance floor. Now it’s time to tackle the secrets of achieving perfect posture. Let’s start by taking a look at what needs improving.

Checking Your Posture

To make this easier, put on something form-fitting. Not much point trying to find perfect posture if you’re sporting size 50 fishing pants on your size 35 waist.

Stand as tall as you can with a mirror showing your profile, and look for these signs of a perfect posture:

  1. Head: Is the chin parallel to the floor? Is your ear over the mid-point of your shoulder?
  2. Chest and back: Is your back straight so your shoulder blade is invisible? Are the shoulders, ribs, and hips stacked on top of each other?
  3. Pelvis and hips: Is the pelvis following the natural curve of the spine? Is it at the midpoint between tucked forward and sticking backward?
  4. Legs: Are the hips, knees, and balls of the feet stacked above each other? Can you bend your knees and still keep a neutral pelvis?
  5. Feet: Does your weight settle towards the ball of the foot, and between the second and third toes? Does your weight roll through the centre of your foot when you take a step?

Creating Perfect Posture

Developing perfect posture will feel uncomfortable at first. After all, if it felt comfortable, you wouldn’t need to change it! Eventually, it will feel easier to hold your body in this healthier way.

  1. Be a superman: Superman never had to worry about perfect posture, did he? Imagine yourself as a hero, winning a medal of honour. This will cause your body to stand tall, and puff the chest out proudly. The feeling should be of lifting the ribs, not arching the back.
  2. Weigh down the shoulders: Roll the shoulders in a semi-circle, forward-down-back, then reverse. Now, pause at the lowest point, and gently pull down further with your back muscles (click here for more on that).
  3. Flatten the stomach: Imagine pulling in and upwards with your gut, like you’re trying to make yourself look slimmer. I think of it as pulling towards the spine and upwards toward the ribs.
  4. Rock the pelvis: As with the shoulders, rocking the pelvis back and forward, then finding the midpoint in between is a great way to line it up with the spine.
  5. Sink the hips: Strap on a weighted coin belt, or just imagine it pulling down on your hips, and gently bending the knees. At no point in ballroom dancing should the knees ever go ramrod straight, or you risk injury.

Roll with the arches:

If you can do all the above and still breathe, try walking forwards and backwards. The weight should roll through the centre of your foot. Walk facing a mirror to make sure you aren’t collapsing inward or outward with the ankles and knees.

Your spine will react to the adjusts you make, but never try to force the shape of your spine to change – adjust the coat, not the coatrack!

While working on your perfect posture, you may sometimes get pain, stiffness, or other physical challenges as your body learns a new way to move. Next week, we’ll look at some of the common posture issues and a simple fix for each. Until then!

What’s the first thing you notice as you are walking up to greet someone for the first time? Unless they have a mohawk and dress like a 1990s workout video, odds are it’s how they hold themselves – in short, their posture.

The magic of the dance floor brings together people of all ages, careers, and creeds, as long as they have the steps, and the smile to back it up. So naturally, it’s a great place for finding love, even if you’re normally nervous as a fainting goat anywhere else.

Now that we’ve delved into what draws the ladies to the dance floor, it’s our dancing gents turn! In Western culture, male dancers tend to begin dance with nervousness at best, and shame at liking such a ‘sissy’ activity at worst. Yet, men stand to gain just as much from ballroom dance as their lady-friends. Let’s look at what men really want from ballroom dancing, and what keeps them coming back.

In all the years I’ve danced and taught, I don’t think I’ve seen a single dance interaction that couldn’t have been improved by recognizing why they dance in the first place. Yes, there’s the stereotype that men just want sex and girls just wanna have fun. But to understand what women really want (and men too), we need to look beneath these surface wants. 
Continue reading “What Women REALLY Want (On the Dance Floor)”

The mind loves to distract itself from the task at hand with – well, pretty much anything. This is especially draining when trying to decompress with an evening of ballroom dancing, and your mind is stuck on what to cook when you get home. Here is my advice on how to increase focus on the ballroom floor, and enjoy a great lesson!