Ready to learn how to dance any pattern without losing your footing? Now that we know the shoes to buy, the posture to strive for, and the muscles to strengthen, it’s time to try some exercises that build your dance balance for all the main movements in ballroom.
Continue reading “Exercises to Improve Dance Balance”

Previously, we looked at the myth of ballroom dancing as a frivolous activity, something that benefits you on such a fundamental level that we usually dismiss it as being non-essential. The truth is, we’ve been taught to dismiss general knowledge – we want to be specialized in something. And yet, as you improve and develop in ballroom dance, there’s virtually no area of your life that won’t improve.
Continue reading “MORE Practical Uses for Ballroom Dance”

Most people tend to view ballroom dancing as a luxury, something to be enjoyed once the more pressing concerns of business and family are sorted out. True, there’s no obvious correlation between ballroom dance and making a good impression at an interview, or remembering important dates on the calendar; yet dancing can help you succeed at both of those things, and many others. Let’s look at some of the ways an ‘intangible’ service like ballroom dance can improve your life. 
Continue reading “Practical Applications of Ballroom Dance”

One of the most frustrating barriers to becoming a great ballroom dancer is a lack of feeling for ballroom dancing music. You can know the moves, the technique, all of it, but if you can’t step on the beat or recognize where the ‘1’ is, everything still feels awkward.
Continue reading “Spotting Patterns in Ballroom Dancing Music”

Wrapping up our series on how to do a dance turn, we’re targeting the reverse and natural turns, those smooth and elegant rotations of the smooth/standard arena. Before we get into how to do these dance turns though, what’s the difference between them? Continue reading “How to do a Dance Turn: Reverse and Natural Turns”

Now that you’re a pivot turn pro (or at least on the way), we can look at the more challenging chaine turn. Used in jazz and ballet, as well as ballroom, chaine turn give speed and snap to your turns, and are often found in faster rhythm/Latin dances like cha cha or salsa. Continue reading “The Secrets of the Chaine Turn”

We’ve set the stage with an intro to general turning technique, as well as the 5 elements that we can change to give our dance spins a different look and feel. Now, we’re finally ready to upgrade the actual dance spins we use in our dances. Previously, we looked at the spot turn, and how to make it work. Let’s try something a little more advanced: the pivots and pivoting actions. 
Continue reading “Ballroom Dance Spins: Pivots VS ‘Pivoting Actions’”

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, 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 we look at some of the common posture issues and a simple fix for each.